IS THE LONELIEST TV NIGHT
OF THE WEEK
THE THIRD RERUN OF 'AIR FORCE ONE'"
all the reruns
& stale flicks on Saturdays?
By DONNA J. PLESH
Someone asked me
recently, Whats going on with Saturday night TV?
All the programs seem to be repeats of programs on earlier in
the week, or on in the week before.
Maybe a lot of other people are wondering the same thing. If
you dont know what Im talking about, then you arent
watching TV on Saturday nights.
People just are not watching commercial TV on Saturday nights
like they did in the old days (say way back in 2002). After years
of trying various types of programs--dramas, comedies, movies--on
Saturday nights, the big three commercial networks (ABC, CBS,
NBC) have pretty much thrown in the towel on new Saturday night
programming. At least for the most part.
Take a look at your local TV listings for Saturday nights. Whats
on in primetime? Surprise! Lots of reruns of the previous weeks
or reruns of series from the week before that. With
ABC and NBC throwing in an occasional theatrical movie that most
people on the planet have seen at least once.
Heres what I mean. A look at a recent Saturday night 8-11
p.m. programming block went like this: CBS was airing reruns
of NCIS and Without a Trace, and a new
48 Hours Mystery. NBC was airing the theatrical film
Chicago, available for years on home video, while
ABC had the umpteenth airing of the movie Air Force One,
followed by a Desperate Housewives rerun.
Previous Saturday nights have seen reruns of My Name is
Earl on NBC and Lost on ABC, to name just a
But Saturdays have not always been rerun night. In the fall of
2002 CBS Saturday night schedule was back-to-back-to-back
dramas: Touched By An Angel, The District
and The Agency. That fall ABC and NBC both scheduled
theatrical movies in primetime.
Go back 10 years to the fall of 1995, and there was still a lot
of original programming. ABC had The Jeff Foxworthy Show,
Maybe This Time and a theatrical movie. CBS was going
with Dr Quinn, Medicine Woman Touched By An
Angel," and Walker, Texas Ranger. NBC had JAG,
(Yep, they had it first, dumped it, CBS picked it up and it became
a long-running hit), The John Larroquette Show, Home
Court, and Sisters.
So whats the reason for the nets giving up, for the most
part, on new programming for Saturday nights? Lets analyze.
Some people probably just arent home. OK. Others might
be popping popcorn and watching movies on HBO, Showtime, Cinemax,
or Starz. Still others went to the neighborhood video store and
rented a couple movies, or maybe they are renting a movie via
their cable or satellite provider service. Then
theres a group likely playing video games or surfing the
Its not likely many are off to their local multiplex. Movie
offerings have been so-so this year (other than the summer bang,
bang blockbusters), box office receipts are way down, and, it
costs a family of four an arm and a leg for movie tickets and
a small popcorn.
Will the nets ever go back to a full night of original programming?
Who knows? Everything is, as they say, cyclical so nothing is
impossible. Improbable, but not impossible.
Rome is hot again! Ancient Rome, that is. What with HBOs
wonderfully entertaining series Rome about life,
love, and treachery back in the B.C. years, and National Geographic
Channels recent Hannibal V. Rome.
If you missed the first airing on Nat Geo on Oct. 30, catch it
in reruns. The special recreates the Second Punic War (218-220
B.C.) when Hannibal and his army marched battle elephants across
the Alps to take on the Roman army. Fascinating stuffwith
on-location shooting in the Alps, authentic costumes and live
Attention Queer Eye for the Straight Guy fans! The
Fab Five are back for a new season on Dec. 6 with a block of
wedding episodes that will feature everything from the perfect
proposal to the fabulous ceremony.
Mystery fans rejoice! BBC America has a new mysteryand
some new episodes of past favorites coming up in January. Whats
new is Conviction, a dark series about what happens
when cops investigating a young girls murder take some
dangerous steps to solve the case that lead to the blurring of
the distinction between right and wrong. It
debuts Jan. 30.
Ken Stott (Messiah) takes over the role of detective
John Rebus in two new crime dramas set in Scotland--Rebus:
Fleshmarket Close, (Jan. 16) and Rebus: The Falls
(Jan. 23). Both are based on the popular novels by Ian Rankin
The second season of Night Detective kicks off on
Jan. 30. Det. Sgt. Nicky Cole (Don Gilet) has a whole new set
of crimes and misdemeanors to handle in Newcastle. Back to complicate
Nickys love life is lawyer Claire Maxwell (Dervla Kirwin),
now a single mother.
On Dec. 1, Amanda Burton returns as forensic pathologist Sam
Ryan in Silent Witness. This is Burtons swan
song as the Ryan character in the series that first aired on
A&E. The final series finds Ryan clearing her caseload and
preparing to return to Northern Ireland to reunite with the son
she gave up for adoption years ago.
And for all you fans of BBC Americas Footballers
Wives (and there are a lot of us!), word has it the third
season of all-new episodes may hit these shores in the first
quarter of 2006!
©2005 by Donna J.
Plesh. The cartoon is from IMSI's Master Clips Collection, 1895
Francisco Blvd. E., San Rafael, CA, 94901-5506, USA. This column
first posted Oct. 31, 2005.
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