Tuned In: 'Drunk History' wobbles


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Often the idea for a TV show sounds better than it turns out to be. Such is the case with Comedy Central's "Drunk History" (10 p.m. Tuesday).

Based on a Web series, the show records inebriated storytellers rattling off the details of specific historic events. Then a host of actors, mostly comics -- Jack Black, Connie Britton, Michael Cera, Tony Hale, Jake Johnson, Kevin Nealon, Rob Riggle, Bradley Whitford and Kristen Wiig among them -- re-create the scenes using the drunk storyteller's own words as dialogue.

Sometimes this results in a funny match of drunk narrator and performer. Adam Scott ("Parks & Recreation") as John Wilkes Booth in the retelling of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln does a great job interpreting the drunken rambling of Allan McLeod.

But more often than not, watching "Drunk History" is like being the only sober person at a party where none of the people present are your friends.

No doubt, making "Drunk History" was probably a hoot for the comic actors involved in the re-creations. In one segment, Fred Willard plays Mark "Deep Throat" Felt, Bob Odenkirk ("Breaking Bad") is President Richard Nixon and Jack McBrayer ("30 Rock") is H.R. Haldeman. That's fantastic casting. But the resulting scenes narrated by a drunk guy just aren't that funny.

Maybe it would play better if viewers tuning in are loaded, too.

Jeselnik show back

"Drunk History" will be paired with the return of Comedy Central's "The Jeselnik Offensive" starring Anthony Jeselnik, a 1997 graduate of Upper St. Clair High School.

The first season of "Jeselnik Offensive" debuted in February and was renewed for a second season in late April.

CBS revises schedule

In preparation for its fall schedule, CBS is moving "NCIS: Los Angeles" and "Person of Interest" into the 9 and 10 p.m. Tuesday time slots, which creates a domino effect.

Summer reality show "Big Brother," currently airing Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday, will air Wednesday (8 p.m.), Thursday (9 p.m., live eviction show) and Sunday (8 p.m.) beginning next week.

AMC series gets Pittsburgh sneak

Next month, AMC, home of "Mad Men" and "Breaking Bad," will debut "Low Winter Sun" (10 p.m. Aug. 11), a Detroit-set drama about corruption and the blurring lines between cops and crooks. Regent Square Theater will offer a free screening of the pilot episode at 8 p.m. July 29.

Up to four free tickets per person will be available on a first-come, first-served basis beginning July 15 at the Regent Square Theater box office when the theater is open or at Pittsburgh Filmmakers' front desk, 477 Melwood Ave., Oakland, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The screening will be followed by a nationwide Q-and-A via Skype with the show's producers and cast members participating.

Channel surfing

Mark Burnett's sequel to his hit History miniseries "The Bible" will air on NBC. Titled "A.D.: Beyond the Bible," the follow-up miniseries will chronicle the founding of Christianity by Christ's disciples. ... TNT has renewed summer sci-fi drama "Falling Skies" for a fourth season to air in 2014. ... Hallmark Channel has canceled Marie Osmond's daytime talk show "Marie" after one season, but Deadline.com reports the show could return in syndication in fall 2014. ... Reruns of NBC's canceled Broadway drama "Smash" will air on cable's Ovation beginning July 19 at 8 p.m. ... HBO is making each season of "The Sopranos" available to subscribers via HBO On Demand for one month in consecutive order with season one available through the end of July to be followed by season two in August. ... Sony Pictures Television has officially given up trying to find a new home for canceled ABC sitcom "Happy Endings" after efforts to relocate the sitcom to USA failed. The show is now canceled. ... Showtime's "Ray Donovan" skewed old but still drew 1.4 million viewers, the best ratings ever for a Showtime original series premiere. ... The first installment of WTAE's "Chronicle" hosted by Sally Wiggin will look at the Point State Park fountain. "A Point of Pride" will air on Channel 4 in prime time sometime in August, but an exact date has not been announced.

Tuned In online

Today's TV Q&A column responds to questions about "The Late Show With David Letterman," "Masterchef" and TV shows on Blu-ray. This week's Tuned In Journal includes posts on WQED's contribution to PBS's upcoming "The March" initiative, patriotic programming, "Under the Dome," Mister Rogers and "Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood." Read online-only TV content at post-gazette.com/tv.

This week's podcast includes conversation about "Ray Donovan," "Siberia" and Syfy Saturday. 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. First Published July 5, 2013 4:00 AM


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