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Channel Surfing – October 28, 2009

All the tube news that’s fit to surf …

– Emmy and Oscar-winning director and producer Barry Levinson thinks TV networks should program Saturday nights with must-see-TV. Saturday nights are a repeat wasteland now, but in the past, hits like The Mary Tyler Moore Show, All in the Family, The Bob Newhart Show, Hill Street Blues, Golden Girls, Love Boat, Mission: Impossible, Gilligan’s Island, The Streets of San Francisco, M*A*S*H, The Carol Burnett Show, The Jeffersons, Emergency, Kung Fu, Starsky & Hutch, Get Smart, Gunsmoke, Facts of Life and Leave It to Beaver claimed primetime real estate on Saturday nights.

– An all-Madonna episode of Glee? It’s happening.

Hulk Hogan is returning to wrestling, on Spike’s TNA iMPACT.

George Lopez has lined up Ellen DeGeneres, Eva Longoria-Parker and Kobe Bryant for the Nov. 9 premiere of his TBS late-night talk show Lopez Tonight, and has also booked Larry David, Sandra Bullock, Ray Romano, Jessica Alba, Charlie Sheen, Queen Latifah, Ted Danson, Andy Garcia, Taylor Lautner, Oscar de la Hoya and Kathy Griffin.

– They’re dropping like flies from the ESPN payroll these days. On the heels of the firings of Steve Phillips and his mistress from the sports net, ESPN has suspended commentator Bob Griese for making an offensive comment about Colombian NASCAR driver Juan Pablo Montoya.

– Yet another reason to love Late Late Show host Craig Ferguson: When the lights went out in his studio (and all of CBS Television City) Tuesday night while he was interviewing Alicia Silverstone, he turned on a flashlight and kept right on going with the show.

– ABC has ditched plans to promote its V remake with the giant red skywritten “V”s. The campaign was going to create quite a bit of pollution, as Washington Post critic Lisa de Moraes calculated, and it was feared that the giant red Vs might freak some people out, reports The Hollywood Reporter‘s James Hibberd.

The Wire and The Office star Idris Elba is developing a new legal drama, with Battlestar Galactica producer David Eick, for NBC.

– TruTV’s Las Vegas Lockdown is an upcoming reality series that will follow arrestees through the Sin City county jail, including partiers who prove that what happens in Vegas, sometimes leads to the hoosegow.

Ricky Gervais on hosting the Golden Globe Awards in January: “Everyone is sitting around and drinking. I’m going to be drunk, and I’m not going to rehearse. So, it’s the perfect gig for me.” Unless they get him to host the Oscars, too, the Globes should be, far and away, the best awards show of the year.

– Last Sunday’s episode of Dexter was the series’ highest-rated installment ever, with more than two million viewers.

Gabourey Sidibe, the newcomer who’s the buzz-making star of the early Oscar-fave film Precious, is in talks for a role in Showtime’s upcoming Laura Linney dark cancer-themed comedy The C Word.

Patrick Swayze‘s widow Lisa will chat with Oprah on The Big O’s Friday show.

– And tonight’s must-see-TV: Barring continuing rain (it’s an icky day here in NYC), the Yankees and Phillies kick off the 105th World Series on Fox (8PM ET); Brick (a.k.a. scene-stealing kiddie actor Atticus Shaffer) is deemed “socially challenged” at school, but proves himself to be a mechanical genius at home on The Middle (8:30PM, ABC); Jay and Gloria argue about Manny’s new school outfit on Modern Family (9PM, ABC); for those with DirecTV, it’s the fourth-season premiere of Friday Night Lights (9PM); Robert has to whip up a feast at the Rock Hall of Fame in Cleveland on Dinner: Impossible (10PM, Food Network); and Adam tackles steak and blue crab in Baltimore on Man vs. Food (10PM, Travel Channel).

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