Tuned In: Jimmy Kimmel shift leads new year's changes


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New year, new shows, new time slots.

Everyone gets a chance to start anew on Jan. 1 and TV networks are no exception. Dozens of new and returning programs will unspool in the weeks ahead. And for one late-night show, the new year brings an earlier time slot.

I'll be covering much of what's new in TV in the days ahead from the Television Critics Association winter press tour in Pasadena, Calif. Blog posts begin this afternoon at post-gazette.com/tv (scroll down to the Tuned In Journal link on the right side of the page) and coverage in the print edition starts Saturday.

Kimmel moves up

"Jimmy Kimmel Live" trades time slots with ABC's "Nightline" Monday. Mr. Kimmel's talk show will move to 11:35 p.m., up against David Letterman on CBS and Jay Leno on NBC. "Nightline" relocates to 12:38 a.m.

The time slot switch marks a vote of confidence in Mr. Kimmel by ABC executives.

"The big deal is that, for some reason, people go to sleep at midnight," Mr. Kimmel quipped in a teleconference with reporters last month. "You lose a lot of people at that time. ... And so, the audience is just much bigger [at 11:35]. There are a lot more people up watching television at 11:35 than there are at midnight. It's as simple as that.

"On top of it, there is -- and maybe this is just something that we in the industry are more interested in than the general public is -- mythology and traditions surrounding that 11:35 time slot that started with Johnny Carson and then became a big deal when Leno went up against Letterman."

But viewers shouldn't expect any changes in "Jimmy Kimmel Live."

"There's this idea that you need to broaden the show or make it -- you know, make it more wholesome or something like that, and I think that's a little bit out of date," Mr. Kimmel said. "Things have become so fragmented that you can continue doing the show that you've been doing and have success at 11:35. I could be wrong. I guess only time will tell."

'Deception'

NBC's pretty terrible "Deception" (10 p.m. Monday) seems like a play for fans of "Revenge," which itself has declined in quality in its second season. Even so, "Deception" is a significantly less appealing series because it relies almost entirely on unbelievable plot turns.

San Francisco cop Joanna (Meagan Good) gets recruited by her old partner/lover Will (Laz Alonso, "Breakout Kings") to investigate the death of Joanna's childhood friend, Vivian Bowers, whose mega-wealthy family the FBI is investigating for possible stock manipulation. (Joanna lived with the Bowers when her mother worked for the family as a maid.)

If the notion of a law enforcement officer investigating people she considers "like family" seems preposterous, there's also the inherent conflict of working for her former lover along with this added tidbit: Joanna had a relationship with Vivian's druggie brother, Julian (Wes Brown), too.

Even if it's possible to overlook the unlikelihood of all that, the "Deception" script, written by Liz Heldens ("Mercy"), is rife with obvious, cliched groaners, including: "These people, they buy their way out of everything" and "Do this one last thing for your friend."

The show's raison d'etre is solving Vivian's murder, although it strongly hints at the killer in the premiere. Perhaps it will live up to its title and this is a red herring. But anyone who's watched "The Killing" knows how frustrating too many red herrings can be.

"Revenge" played this game much smarter, allowing the story to play out without a lot of he-did-it, no-he-did-it moments. "Revenge" also was wise to make its interloper an outsider without ties to authority, making its premise more plausible.

"Deception" does benefit from a strong cast, including Victor Garber as the patriarch of the family who welcomes Joanna to live with them after Vivian's death and Tate Donovan ("Damages") as distrusting eldest son Edward, who resents Joanna's presence. (Edward's a nasty character but at least he has some common sense.)

As matriarch and stepmother Sophia, underutilized actress Katherine LaNasa gets some enjoyably boozy moments, including referring to her just-deceased stepdaughter as "a drug-addicted, narcissistic black hole of need."

It's a fun moment, and if "Deception" put forth an over-the-top vibe more often, it might be a guilty pleasure hoot. But the show's attempts to root itself in the plausible ruin the potential fun.

'Justified'

FX's "Justified" (10 p.m. Tuesday) returns with a fourth season that brims with promise. It's a frustrating day for U.S. marshal Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) in Tuesday's season premiere when capturing a fugitive goes sideways and Raylan runs into petty thieves stealing from his father's house, which begins to unravel a 20-year-old mystery alluded to in the episode's opening moments. Patton Oswalt guest stars as a hapless constable who helps Raylan.

The new season also introduces a new nemesis for Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins). Preacher Billy (Joe Mazzello, "The Pacific") and his sister (Lindsay Pulsipher) have descended on Harlan, and their missionary work is turning the locals away from drugs, hurting Boyd's bottom line.

Although the third season of "Justified" was well-regarded due to the Quarles (Neal McDonough) story line, Mr. McDonough has played the heavy so many times it felt a bit redundant. This new season, particularly with its mystery plot, feels more original already.

'Continuum'

Corporations are people, my friends, and in the future they'll run the government, too. That's the premise of Syfy's latest Canadian import, "Continuum" (8 p.m. Jan. 14), which has one foot set in the present and another in 2077.

It all begins in the future as terrorists plot against the U.S. government.

"When corporations bailed out our failed governments, they sold it to us as salvation," says a terrorist leader. "Now we've seen we have paid for that rescue with our freedoms. We have awakened to the truth. We have become slaves to the corporate congress."

It's an interesting notion and takes the popular sci-fi conceit of addressing contemporary issues in a futuristic setting.

"Continuum" is most interesting when it's in the future -- but mostly it's set in the present.

Terrorists time travel back to 2012 and a future cop, Kiera Cameron (Rachel Nichols, "Star Trek"), gets sucked back with them.

The terrorists are trying to "win the future" and prevent the corporate rights act from being enacted. Some want to accomplish this through political change; others prefer to stick with acts of terror.

Kiera wants to round them up and gets help from a young computer prodigy, Alex Sadler (Erik Knudsen, "Jericho"), who also plays a role in 2077.

Written by Simon Barry ("The Art of War") and directed by Jon Cassar ("24"), the "Continuum" pilot is more topical than most Syfy shows but suffers from frequent pilot pitfalls, including heavy exposition.

Channel surfing

The CW has canceled summer drama "The L.A. Complex." ... It was already pretty much dead, but "Mockingbird Lane" creator Bryan Fuller confirmed last week that his "Munsters" remake will not move forward to series at NBC. ... Jennifer Lawrence will host the 2013 premiere of "Saturday Night Live" with musical guests The Lumineers. ... Ty Pennington ("Extreme Makeover: Home Edition") will host a new HLN monthly series, "American Journey," about entrepreneurs and creative thinkers. The first episode airs at 8 p.m. Jan. 12.

Tuned In online

Today's TV Q&A column responds to questions about "The Newsroom," "Last Resort" and "Shipping Wars." This week's Tuned In Journal includes posts on "Downton Abbey," "Portlandia" and "The Joe Schmo Show." Read online-only TV content at post-gazette.com/tv.

This week's podcast includes conversation about "Downton Abbey," "1600 Penn" and "Doctor Who." Subscribe or listen at http://old.post-gazette.com/podcast.

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TV writer Rob Owen: rowen@post-gazette.com or 412-263-2582. Follow RobOwenTV on Twitter or Facebook for breaking TV news.


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