BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- PBS continues to experiment with its Friday night lineup, premiering the new "Charlie Rose: The Week" (8:30 tonight, WQED-TV) in July in place of the short-lived "Need to Know," whose resources were shifted to the weekend edition of "PBS NewsHour," which launches Sept. 7 (6:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, WQED).
Mr. Rose, who also hosts PBS's late-night "Charlie Rose" (11:30 p.m. weeknights, WQED-TV) and "CBS This Morning" (7 a.m. weekdays, KDKA-TV), said "The Week" is designed to be a bridge between PBS's political show "Washington Week With Gwen Ifill" and the cultural programming that follows at 9 p.m. on most PBS stations.
"We are a nice transition," he said during a PBS press conference last week. "I've always been equally interested in news and culture."
If last week's episode is indicative of the format, "The Week" does bridge the news/culture divide with skillful aplomb. Stories included President Obama's decision to cancel talks with Russia, the sale of The Washington Post to Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos and interviews with actor Hugh Laurie and actress/media mogul Oprah Winfrey.
Several interviews were original to "The Week" but other segments were shortened versions of previously aired pieces. The interviews with Mr. Laurie and Ms. Winfrey were from episodes of "Charlie Rose" earlier in the week; portions of an interview with Condoleezza Rice about the Russia situation was used on "CBS This Morning" earlier in the day and an interview with Mr. Bezos was from the archive of Mr. Rose's late-night show.
"We had an opportunity to do some of the groundbreaking interviews with people who come to our table because they know that's the place to really have a conversation and a lengthy conversation," Mr. Rose said of his late-night show. "We are now able to take those kinds of things, because we have a new forum, and curate them and present them in a different way. In addition what happens on the weekends is often looking back. Friday night we have the best opportunity possible to look to an audience and say, 'This is your first look as you head into the weekend, not only for what happened this week, but how what happened this week influences what might happen in the weeks to come.'"
Mr. Rose said he's now thinking about his nightly show with his Friday show in mind, asking more questions of timeless value.
"There is no one -- I don't fear contradiction -- that has interviewed and talked to Jeff Bezos more than I have," Mr. Rose said. "We have something to look back at that whole series of conversations with Jeff and see if there's something he said that will be an enhancement of the topical story today."
With all these programs on TV, when does Mr. Rose have time to sleep? Turns out he's pretty rigorous about his routine, going to bed at 10:30 or 11 p.m. and rising at 5 a.m. to make it to CBS by 6 a.m. for his 7 a.m. show. After that he works out and squeezes in two naps before taping his nightly show, all the while thinking about what material to cull from it for "The Week."
"If the choice for me is between 30 minutes more of preparation and a 30-minute nap so that I'm operating at my maximum efficiency, I'll take the 30-minute nap, because the interview is like a tennis match, and where I hit it may determine how the person across hits it back to me," he said. "It's much better than whatever the additional preparation might have been."
Good 'Bad' ratings
How's this for the power of word-of-mouth advertising and binge viewing: Ratings for AMC's "Breaking Bad" season premiere Sunday night more than doubled its previous season premiere ratings. "Bad" drew 5.9 million viewers, up from 2.6 million a year ago.
The show has been on a slow but steady build since its first season when ratings were just 1.2 million. The ratings track: 1.3 million for season two premiere, 1.5 for season three, 1.8 for season four. (After-show "Talking Bad" was watched by 1.2 million viewers Sunday.)
New AMC drama "Low Winter Sun" drew 2.5 million viewers Sunday. AMC's "Hell on Wheels" returned in a new Saturday time slot with 2.5 million viewers, a slight increase from season two and double what the network usually averages on Saturday night.
More 'Hidden Treasures'
KDKA's occasional series "Pittsburgh's Hidden Treasures: An Appraisal Show" will be back for more episodes during the 2013-14 TV season. Episodes air the second Monday of each month at 7:30 p.m.
New episodes will be taped Aug. 25, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., at the Heinz History Center with about 50 appraisers, including experts from auction house Christie's, on hand.
KDKA-TV's Ken Rice, Dave Crawley, Kimberly Gill and Mary Robb Jackson will be taping segments of the show along with History Center president Andy Masich.
History Center members get free, early access 9-10 a.m. General admission prices to the museum apply to non-members 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Each visitor may bring two items for appraisal.
Channel 4's "27th Annual WTAE Project Bundle-Up Auction" kicks off at WTAE.com at noon Aug. 23 and runs through Sept. 6. A joint effort with The Salvation Army of Western Pennsylvania, the annual event raises money to purchase new outerwear for children and senior citizens in need.
About 200 new items will be listed on WTAE.com for auction each week with direct bidding at www.projectbundleup.com.
"The Borgia Apocalypse: The Screenplay," the script for the abandoned wrap-up movie to Showtime's canceled drama "The Borgias," is available for purchase as an e-book at Amazon.com and BarnesAndNoble.com. ... The fourth season premiere of "Duck Dynasty" on A&E Wednesday night shot the show to a new ratings record, drawing 11.8 million viewers, making it the No. 1 nonfiction series telecast in cable history. ... Lifetime has renewed drama "Devious Maids" for a 13-episode second season. ... In addition to "Falling Skies," TNT has now renewed "Rizzoli & Isles," "Major Crimes" and "Perception" for an additional season each. ... Jay Leno's last night hosting NBC's "The Tonight Show" is set for Feb. 6, according to Variety. ... The disappointing Starz miniseries "Torchwood: Miracle Day" will get its basic cable debut at 9 p.m. Sept. 14 on BBC America. ... Syfy ran an online contest to name its "Sharknado" sequel and landed on this lame title: "Sharknado 2: The Second One." ... GSN's "American Bible Challenge" has been renewed for a third season to air in 2014. ... Syfy's "Haven" returns for its fourth season at 10 p.m. Sept. 13. ... The series finale of the original, British "Being Human" will air at 10 p.m. Saturday on BBC America. ... "Scandal: Music for Gladiators," a soundtrack of 1970s music featured on the ABC drama series, will be released on Stax Records Sept. 3 ... NBC Sports Network, which took over Versus in January 2012, will gradually rebrand itself NBCSN over the next six months. ... The stars of TruTV's "Impractical Jokers" -- Q, Sal, Murr & Joe -- will embark on a stand-up tour that includes an Oct. 5 stop at Pittsburgh's Byham Theater. Details at www.impracticaljokers.com.
Tuned In online
Today's TV Q&A column responds to questions about "Boardwalk Empire," "Covert Affairs" and "White Collar." This week's Tuned In Journal includes posts on "Duck Dynasty," "Breaking Bad," "Doomsday Castle" and "So You Think You Can Dance." Read online-only TV content at post-gazette.com/tv.
This week's podcast includes conversation about "Broadchurch," "Low Winter Sun" and "The White Queen." Subscribe or listen at http://old.post-gazette.com/podcast.
TV writer Rob Owen: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-2582. Follow RobOwenTV on Twitter or Facebook for breaking TV news.