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.”
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.”
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.
All times are EDT:
ESPN: NCAA Women’s Basketball tournament: Final Four: Louisville vs. California and Notre Dame vs. Connecticut.
NBC: The Voice: (Repeat) The blind auditions continue.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
SHOWTIME: Californication: (New) Hank makes a decision about his future.
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
Welcome to Myrtle Manor at 10 p.m. on TLC
Mob Wives at 10 p.m. on VH1
For movie lovers:
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
The Lucky One on HBO
The Terminator on MOMAX
The Edge of Love on REELZ
G. I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra on Syfy
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