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TV Bulletin Board (Tues., Jan. 6) -- Fallon's Tonight Show was the small screen's Colossus of 2014

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Party on. Jimmy Fallon’s first new Tonight Show of the new year with guest Bradley Cooper. But yes, they’ve done this before. NBC photo

By ED BARK
@unclebarkycom on Twitter
Television’s man of the past year? Without question it was Jimmy Fallon.

Count me among the naysayers who initially thought he could never sustain this. Then number me among those who were very wrong.

Fallon took over NBC’s Tonight Show from Jay Leno on Feb. 17th of last year. He debuted to blockbuster ratings, which wasn’t surprising. But after almost a year on the job, Fallon continues to crush his late night competition in both total viewers and advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds. This shows absolutely no signs of abating, even when Stephen Colbert takes over for David Letterman some time after his announced May 20th finale.

The Tonight Show doesn’t rely on its host’s interviewing skills, which remain pretty minimal. But the stunts he pulls with his game A-list guests continue to multiply and flourish. And Fallon, at a still very boyish looking age 40, is more than young enough to still pull them off. Edgy confrontation just isn’t his game. Instead it’s fun and games -- and the people have spoken. It’s what they want.

The “fourth quarter” ratings for 2014 (October through December) are just in. They’re not pretty for either Letterman or Jimmy Kimmel, who’s had the West Coast to himself for almost a year but can’t seem to make any real headway against Fallon.

The Tonight Show averaged 4.051 million viewers for last year’s closing three months. ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! drew 2.784 million and CBS’ Late Show with David Letterman was a smidgen behind him with 2.719 million.

Among 18-to-49-year-olds, Fallon drew 1.486 million viewers. It took Kimmel (825,000) and Letterman (660,000) combined to equal him.

Fallon’s first new Tonight Show of 2015 kept the beat going with guest Bradley Cooper. They again wore funny hats and goofed on one another before Cooper did his air guitar version of the Neil Young solo from “Down By the River.” Another night, another show-stopper, with Kimmel and Letterman perhaps again wondering what hit them. Here’s the video to show what we mean.



Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

TV Bulletin Board (Thurs., Nov. 20) -- Netflix rides to the rescue of Longmire, etc.

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Star Robert Taylor reloads for Season 4 of Longmire. A&E photo

By ED BARK
@unclebarkycom on Twitter
Netflix’s latest rescue mission is Longmire, which was canceled by A&E after three seasons. It’s slated to return sometime in 2015 with 10 new episodes, the streaming network announces.

Netflix previously gave AMC’s The Killing a stay of execution and reunited the cast of Fox’s Arrested Development for a final go-around.

*** AMC has announced a two-night premiere for Better Call Saul, the Breaking Bad prequel starring Bob Odenkirk. It will launch on Sunday, Feb. 8th, with a second episode to follow on Monday, Feb. 9th. The series’ regular night and time will then be Mondays at 9 p.m. (central). The series is set six years before shyster attorney Saul Goodman met Walter White. He was known as Jimmy McGill back then. Here’s the new trailer, but you’ll have to endure a commercial first.

***The broadcast networks’ cancellation corral now officially houses five deceased new fall series plus a returnee from last season with CBS’ axing of The Millers.

Also dumped: ABC’s Manhattan Love Story and Selfie; NBC’s A to Z and Bad Judge and Fox’s Utopia.

***CNN has announced a sequel to The Sixties. It’s The Seventies from the same executive producers, Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman. The eight-part docu-series is due in the summer of 2015.

***Comedy Central has retitled its successor to The Colbert Report and also announced a premiere date. The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, previously titled The Minority Report, will debut on Monday, Jan. 19th at 10:30 p.m. (central). Wilmore also has been a force behind the camera as a co-executive producer of series such as The Bernie Mac Show and the current ABC first-year hit, black-ish.

Before taking over for David Letterman (on a still undisclosed date), Stephen Colbert will be hosting CBS’ annual telecast of The Kennedy Center Honors on Tuesday, Dec. 30th. Recipients this year are Tom Hanks, Al Green, Lily Tomlin, Sting and ballerina Patricia McBride.

***Turner Classic Movies will remember late, great director/producer Mike Nichols with a triple feature of his films on Saturday Dec. 6th. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? airs at 7 p.m. (central), followed by The Graduate (9:30 p.m.) and Carnal Knowledge (11:30 p.m.).

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

TV Bulletin Board (Tues., Oct. 7th) -- Twin Peaks anew plus an American Crime Story anthology series starting with O.J. Simpson

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Agent Dale Cooper and Sheriff Harry S. Truman of Twin Peaks.

By ED BARK
@unclebarkycom on Twitter
ABC’s most distinctive, offbeat drama series of the past quarter century is getting a makeover.

It’s going to be showtime -- on Showtime -- for Twin Peaks, with creator David Lynch returning to direct all nine episodes. Production is due to start in 2015, with an air date sometime in 2016. No cast has been announced yet, but a Showtime publicity release says the new version will be “set in the present day” and “continue the lore of the original series, providing long-awaited answers for the series’ passionate fan base.”

It’s very much an open question whether Lynch is capable of providing definitive “long-awaited answers” to anything. The original Twin Peaks, which premiered in April 1990, flamed out after two seasons in part because of a wildly veering, nonsensical storyline that eventually turned off many of the show’s core viewers.

Ah, but it was exhilarating at first, with Kyle MacLachlan breaking through in a big way as quirky Agent Dale Cooper. His fondness for cherry pie and a cuppa black steaming joe became two of the show’s trademarks while he more or less doggedly sought an answer to “Who killed Laura Palmer?”

Showtime says it will repeat all of the original Twin Peaks episodes before its remake airs. Or if you have Netflix, you can start watching all 30 of them right now.

***
On the eve of its Wednesday, Oct. 8th launch of American Horror Story: Freak Show, FX announced that series creator Ryan Murphy also will be behind a companion anthology series, American Crime Story.

The first 10-episode installment, subtitled The People V. O.J. Simpson, is adapted from Run For His Life by Jeffrey Toobin. There’s no announced cast yet.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

TV Bulletin Board (Thurs., Sept. 25) -- CBS replants a trio of comedies

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Allison Janney, Anna Faris and Mom are moving. CBS photo

By ED BARK
@unclebarkycom on Twitter
CBS is making a triple play involving three of its popular comedies.

The Big Bang Theory, originally scheduled to usher in Mom at 7:30 p.m. (central) on Mondays, instead will continue to double up on that night until Thursday Night Football ends its run.

New episodes of Big Bang are set for 7 p.m., followed by 7:30 p.m. repeats through Monday, Oct. 13th. CBS had opened the new TV season on Sept. 22nd with two new Big Bangs in that hour.

Mom, which had been set for a Monday, Sept. 29th Season 2 premiere, is going to Thursdays instead. Its season premiere now won’t be until Oct. 30th at 7:30 p.m., with Big Bang leading off the night after CBS’ half-season with the NFL ends on Oct. 23rd.

The Millers, originally scheduled for a Thursday, Oct. 30th Season 2 launch, will get the post-Big Bang Monday slot on Oct. 20th and 27th. The Millers then will call Thursdays home again, beginning on Jan. 8th. On Jan. 5th, Mom will go to Mondays.

Not yet hopelessly confused? There’s this, too.

The 2 Broke Girls season premiere will be on Monday, Oct. 27th at 7 p.m. And on Thursday, Oct. 30th, Big Bang and Mom will be followed by the season premiere of Two and a Half Men, the first episode of a new sitcom The McCarthys and the season premiere of Elementary.

Don’t bother marking your calendars. They’d be a hopeless mess by the time you finished.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

TV Bulletin Board (Tues., Sept. 23) -- Farrell, Vaughn set for Season 2 of True Detective

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Vince Vaughn and Colin Ferrell will front the new True Detective.

By ED BARK
@unclebarkycom on Twitter
After a lengthy search, HBO has settled on Colin Ferrell and Vince Vaughn as the principal two stars of True Detective, Season 2. The network announced their pairing Tuesday.

Vaughn, however, will play “career criminal” Frank Semyon, who’s “in danger of losing his empire when his move into legitimate enterprises is upended by the murder of a business partner.”

Farrell has been cast as Ray Velcoro, whom HBO describes as a “compromised detective whose allegiances are torn between his masters in a corrupt police department and the mobster who owns him.”

Production on an eight-episode season is set to begin later this fall in California. Nic Pizzolatto, who very memorably brought Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson together in Season 1, again will write the entire story., with Justin Lin (Fast & Furious) directing the first two episodes.

HBO says that additional casting will be announced later.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net