TV tonight: CMAs, Mad Men, Game of Thrones and finale of Shameless

'Mad Men' is back tonight with season six.

Photo: AMC/Madmen

WASHINGTON, April 7, 2013 ― Tonight, the 48th annual Country Music Awards is just one of many shows worth watching. There’s also HBO’s “Game of Thrones” and the season finales of “Shameless,” “House of Lies” and “Californication” on Showtime.

Also tonight, “Mad Men” on AMC is returning for its sixth season. Arguably one of the best TV shows ever made, “Mad Men” is the brainchild of Matthew Weiner. Weiner wrote the pilot script for the show way back in 2000 while working as a writer on “Becker.”

SEE RELATED: TV Tonight: Shameless, House of Lies and Californication return!

Weiner had no luck in finding a home for “Mad Men,” so for the next seven years it was ignored. Finally the upstart AMC network came knocking in 2007, and the rest, as they say, is history. So far “Mad Men” has won 15 Emmys and four Golden Globe awards. Just this year, TV Guide has ranked it #6 in its list of The 60 Greatest Dramas of All Time.

How could such a great show be ignored for so long by all the major networks?  How could so much nonsense be green lighted while quality programming like “Mad Men” slips through the cracks?

The answer is quite simple really. Major broadcast networks would much rather copy each other than open the door for anything that isn’t a proven winner. It has fallen upon cable networks to take the risks and reap the rewards.

This is why successful shows like “The Walking Dead” and “Mad Men” end up on basic cable rather than a major network. Just imagine pitching zombies or a ‘60s period show to networks that develop such trash as “Splash” and “The Celebrity Apprentice.”

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As major networks become less relevant with each new broadcast season, be thankful that cable networks are still willing to take risks with their programming choices. But that said, how many good ideas have been discarded for the cheap and profitable reality show format even on the cable networks?

The best answer to this question, at least for now, is simply to watch what great new and innovative shows pop up on cable. Chances are they were all offered to the major networks and were met with rejection.

Tonight, Gayle Falkenthal will be hosting an online chat for “Game of Thrones.” If you are a fan of the show, feel free to join her here.

Tonight’s viewing:

All times are EDT:

6:30 p.m.

ESPN: NCAA Women’s Basketball tournament: Final Four: Louisville vs. California and Notre Dame vs. Connecticut.

7 p.m.

NBC: The Voice: (Repeat) The blind auditions continue.

8 p.m.

ABC: Once Upon a Time: (Repeat) Cora and Regina try to overpower Mr. Gold; dark magic tempts Mary Margaret; Rumpelstiltskin offers his services to Cora.

CBS: Academy of Country Music Awards: (Live) Blake Shelton and Luke Bryan co-hosts the 48th annual Country Music Awards.

FOX: The Simpsons: (Repeat) Springfield Elementary must depend on Bartificial intelligence when it’s threatened with closure after doing poorly on standardized testing, and since Bart’s the only one who missed the exam, it’s up to him to raise the average grade to save the school.

8:30 p.m.

FOX: Bob’s Burgers: (Repeat) Feeling unappreciated, Linda quits and takes a job at a grocery store, leaving Bob to run the place (poorly) on his own, and putting the children smack in the middle of their marital tiff.

9 p.m.

ABC: Revenge: (Repeat) Amanda and Jack’s wedding stirs up emotions as Emily thinks about what might have been; Daniel faces complications at Grayson Global; Conrad starts a new chapter.

FOX: Family Guy: (Repeat) The gunman who shot Joe and put him in a wheelchair escapes, so Quagmire and Peter join Joe to track him down.

NBC: The Celebrity Apprentice: (Repeat) The stars are assigned to create and sell three-dimensional artwork. Appearing: Piers Morgan; the Blue Man Group; and Chaz Dean.

SHOWTIME: Shameless: (New) The Gallaghers come together to celebrate Lip’s high school graduation.

HBO: Game of Thrones: (New) Shae asks Tyrion for a favor; Sansa tries not to crack under pressure; Jaime finds a way to while away the hours; Arya has an encounter with the Brotherhood Without Banners.

AMC: Mad Men: (New) In the Season 6 premiere, Don launches a new campaign, while Roger receives some unnerving news and Betty welcomes a houseguest.

9:30 p.m.

FOX: The Cleveland Show: (New) Arianna the Bear is rude to Donna, so Cleveland gets even by egging her house, which leads him on a campaign of revenge through Stoolbend, until he winds up being unjustly accused of murder.

10 p.m.

ABC: Red Widow: (Repeat) Marta has tried to stay out of her father’s world of organized crime, but everything changes after her loving husband is brutally murdered.

NBC: The Celebrity Apprentice: (New) The all-stars must impress Melania Trump with a campaign to sell her new skin care line.

SHOWTIME: House of Lies: (New) Doug and Sarah’s relationship becomes more serious, and Marty’s backhanded dealings cause trouble for everyone.

10:30 p.m.

SHOWTIME: Californication: (New) Hank makes a decision about his future.

Basic cable:

New episodes of

Cupcake Wars at 8 p.m. on Food Channel

Trip Flip at 8 p.m. on Travel Channel

Wicked Tuna: Hooked Up at 8 p.m. on NGC

The Real Housewives of Atlanta at 8 p.m. on BRAVO

Married to Medicine at 9 p.m. on BRAVO

Gabriel Iglasias: Aloha Fluffy at 9 p.m. on Comedy Central

Kourtney and Kim Take Miami at 9 p.m. on E!

Chopped at 9 p.m. on Food Channel

Ax Men at 9 p.m. on History Channel

Army Wives at 9 p.m. on LIFE

Wicked Tuna at 9 p.m. on NGC

My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding at 9 p.m. on TLC

River Monsters at 9 p.m. on Animal Planet

Doomsday Cults at 10 p.m. on DSC

Iron Chef America at 10 p.m. on Food Channel

Vikings at 10 p.m. on History Channel

Inside Cocaine Wars at 10 p.m. on NGC

Bar Rescue at 10 p.m. on SPIKE

Welcome to Myrtle Manor at 10 p.m. on TLC

Mob Wives at 10 p.m. on VH1

For movie lovers:

8 p.m.

Practical Magic on ENC

The Pianist on FLIX

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen on FLIX

Rock of Ages o HBO

Spellbound on TCM

Your Sister’s Sister on TMC

National Treasure on TNT

9 p.m.

The Lucky One on HBO

The Terminator on MOMAX

The Edge of Love on REELZ

G. I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra on Syfy

Later tonight:

Liberal Arts at 9:30 p.m. on TMC

Click at 9:45 p.m. on ENC

Dark Shadows at 10 p.m. on CINEMAX

Glory at 10 p.m. on SUND

Diabolique at 10 p.m. on TCM

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Lisa King

I was born and educated in Southwest Virginia, traveled with my job all over America in my twenties and early thirties then came back to the mountains to raise my daughter.

I’ve been employed as everything from a quality control technician in industrial construction, to a mail processing plant manager, to postmaster of a small town. I’ve been to forty nine of the fifty states, as well as many other countries. Traveling will always be a passion I indulge, and something I’ll call upon often in my writing. 

I come from a long line of story tellers, and will shamelessly exploit a family tree resplendent with colorful and unique characters, both past and present.

In short my perspective will reflect the pride and familiarity I have of my Appalachian heritage. My stories will be a reflection of the values I believe we hold dearest here, all embellished with a healthy dose of Southern Appalachian flare.


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