Channel Surfing – September 23, 2009

Channel Surfing – September 23, 2009

All the tube news that’s fit to surf …

– One of the biggest questions of the new tube season is how The Jay Leno Show experiment will work out for NBC. The early results aren’t good for the network: From his premiere on Monday, Sept. 14 to his Monday show this week, Leno has lost two-thirds of his audience. has a great piece on the vetting process – or lack thereof – for reality TV contestants, particularly timely in light of the recent Megan Wants a Millionaire scandal.

K-Fed is among the stars, ahem, who will compete on the next edition of Celebrity Fit Club. His co-stars: Bobby Brown, Baywatch star Nicole Eggert and Shar Jackson, K-Fed’s other ex.

– On Oprah‘s show today: One Day at a Time star Mackenzie Phillips talks about her new autobiography, in which she says she had a 10-year-long incestuous relationship with her father, Mamas and Papas singer John Phillips.

Steven Spielberg is reportedly developing a Showtime TV series about creating a Broadway show, and that show-within-the-show would eventually hit Broadway. No, that’s not at all confusing.

J.J. Abrams is producing a medical comedy for Fox.

Charlie Sheen‘s chatter about quitting Two and a Half Men seems to be little more than a contract negotiation ploy, but at $875,000 an episode, how much more does he need to see in his pay envelope?

Jennifer’s Body and Juno scribe Diablo Cody will write and produce a big-screen adaptation of the Sweet Valley High books that are a big teen years memory for a lot of us chicks. The books were already adapted into a TV series in 1994, so this also becomes the latest boob tube-to- big screen makeover.

– More scoop from on Heather Locklear‘s return to Melrose Place: Her Amanda Woodward will be an exec at the PR firm where Katie Cassidy‘s Ella works. In fact, Amanda will be Ella’s boss, meaning: catfights ahead.

– Another sad bit of fallout from Michael Jackson‘s death: People are continuing to pretend LaToya isn’t a whackadoo.

– And tonight in primetime:

Patrick Swayze will be honored on the first Dancing With the Stars results show of the season (8PM ET, ABC)
The New Adventures of Old Christine premieres season five at 8PM on CBS
– New America’s Next Top Model at 8PM on The CW
– It’s the third round of auditions on So You Think You Can Dance (8PM, Fox)
Jay Mohr‘s back for season two of Gary Unmarried at 8:30PM (CBS)
– It’s the season five kick-off for Criminal Minds (9PM, CBS)
– On Glee, Kurt tries out for the football team (9PM, Fox)
– The CNBC special The New Age of Wal-Mart (9PM) examines efforts by the superstore’s execs to re-invent itself
– The snarkfest that is Whatever, Martha premieres season two at 9PM on the Fine Living Network
Law & Order: SVU begins season 11 (9PM, NBC)
– New ep of The Beautiful Life: TBL on The CW at 9PM
CSI: NY, season six, begins at 10PM (CBS)
Vince Vaughn guests on The Jay Leno Show (10PM, NBC)
Penn & Teller guest star on Top Chef: Las Vegas (10PM, Bravo)
– New Black Gold ep on truTV at 10PM
Adam hits Philly and noshes on ice cream and cheesesteaks on Man vs. Food (10PM, Travel Channel)
– Newark, NJ mayor Cory Booker announces budget cuts in part three of the Sundance Channel miniseries Brick City (10PM)

MERCY (8PM, NBC) Medical drama focusing on the nurses of a New Jersey hospital.
VERDICT: Eh. Forgettable, and also easily confused with the other single-monikered new medical drama (which is also on NBC), Trauma.

MODERN FAMILY (9PM, ABC) Ed “Al Bundy” O’Neill is Pritchett family patriarch Jay, who’s titular modern family includes an uptight daughter and High School Musical-loving son-in-law, a much younger wife and her son, and a gay son who has just adopted a Vietnamese baby with his lover.
VERDICT: It’s the funniest new show of the season.

COUGAR TOWN (9:30PM, ABC) Courteney Cox is a recently-divorced mom of a teenage son who frets that the only dating options in her small town are much younger guys.
VERDICT: It’s worth a few viewings, but the pilot’s laughs come mostly from jokes you’ve either heard elsewhere or will see coming before they leave the actors’ mouths.

EASTWICK (10PM, ABC) A TV update of the 1987 movie, with Rebecca Romijn and Lindsay Price in the witches roles and Due South star Paul Gross in the Jack Nicholson role.
VERDICT: Better than the average remake (yes, I’m looking at you 90210 and Melrose Place), and has the potential to get even better as the season wears on.

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