TV tonight: Pay cable delivers with ‘True Blood’ and ‘Ray Donovan’

True Blood’ maintains strong ratings while ‘Ray Donovan’ sets record for Showtime debut
Photo: HBO/True Blood

WASHINGTON, July 7, 2013 —“True Blood” continues to prove that vampires are as hot as ever while “Ray Donovan” has tapped into a previously unknown audience for Gary Cooper in a designer suit. The new show had the biggest original series debut in Showtime’s history last Sunday night with 1.35 million viewers at 10 PM. It certainly doesn’t hurt having “Dexter” as a lead-in, but the critics were already raving about “Ray Donovan,” and for good reason.

Liev Schreiber’s character Ray is called on to make bad things disappear for celebrities. He does so by uttering a few trusty clichés and a couple of single sentence cell phone conversations. Not talking is Ray’s thing and it works, at least for now. Gary Cooper made a career of it but that was a long time ago.

SEE RELATED: TV tonight: ‘Ray Donovan’ premieres and ‘Dexter’ starts final season

Switching around the players in major crimes is no easy task. It leaves the viewer with a lot of questions about how “Ray” amassed the power and influence his job obviously requires. It’s going to take more than “I’ll take care of it,” “I’ll be in touch” and “you’re safe now” to make the audience like Ray.

Fortunately Schreiber has Jon Voight to play off as the ex-con father with a Jekyll and Hyde twist. This is when good guy Ray shows up to defend his family in what appears to be a full time job in itself.

But everything was a little too easy, too neat and tidy for Ray in the premiere episode. Are there really people who can pull off what Ray makes look so easy? If there is, then we want to know a lot more about that person. And we want to see them struggle more. It shouldn’t be as easy as his character makes it seem. Speak up and make us like you Ray.

Tonight’s viewing:

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All times are EDT:

7 p.m.

CBS: 60 Minutes: (New) Scott Pelley profiles Hugh Jackman; Anderson Cooper interviews Daniel Craig and producer Barbara Broccoli who discuss the James Bond films; Lesley Stahl explores the character of Abraham Lincoln with Steven Spielberg, Daniel Day-Lewis and historian Doris Kearns Goodwin.

NBC: America’s Got Talent: (Repeat) Auditions continue in Chicago and San Antonio.

8 p.m.

ABC: Celebrity Wife Swap: (New) Actress Nia Peeples and former pop star Tiffany trade lives for a week.

CBS: Big Brother: (New) Nominations for eviction are revealed.

FOX: The Simpsons: (Repeat) Homer’s behavior once again lands him in hot water with Marge and he needs to fathom a way to save his marriage, while a dose of “A Streetcar Named Desire” drives Milhouse to affect a Marlon Brando-esque bad-boy demeanor in an effort to impress Lisa.

8:30 p.m.

FOX: Bob’s Burgers: (Repeat) The restaurant receives a bad review from a food critic, which prompts Bob to visit the critic’s house for a do-over.

9 p.m.

ABC: Whodunnit: (New) As the 10 remaining guests attempt to solve the latest murder, suspicion and tension among them leads to more alliances and backstabbing.

CBS: Under The Dome: (Repeat) People panic when a house catches fire in Chester’s Mill and the firefighters are unable to respond.

FOX: Family Guy: (Repeat) Mayor West goes on trial for a murder that occurred at his mansion.

NBC: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: (Repeat) A young woman pledging a sorority is raped on a college campus, and the investigation is hindered by a campus community that turns a blind eye toward such incidents. 

HBO: True Blood: (New) Sookie confronts her attraction to Ben by inviting him to dinner; Eric counters Burrell’s brutal anti-vampire initiatives by hitting him where it hurts the most; Andy’s faerie daughters keep dangerous company; Bill gives Takahashi the task of synthesizing a new kind of blood.

Showtime: Dexter: (New) Miami Metro continues its search for the Brain Surgeon, and Dr. Vogel enlists Dexter’s help. Meanwhile, Debra works a case and is forced to take matters into her own hands.

9:30 p.m.

FOX: American Dad: (Repeat) In a spoof of the play “August: Osage County,” family secrets are revealed when Stan’s jailbird dad is invited to Stan’s birthday party. In a subplot, Roger plays Edna, a maid who looks after Bullock and Hayley’s love child, but things take a dramatic turn when Edna falls for Bullock.

10 p.m.

ABC: Castle: (Repeat) Several angry ex-husbands come under suspicion when a divorce attorney who only represented women is murdered; when Alexis gets sick, Castle’s ex-wife moves into the loft to take care of her.

CBS: The Mentalist: (Repeat) The team investigates a geologist’s homicide, which Lisbon believes is linked to Tommy Volker and therefore can lead to his downfall.

NBC: Crossing Lines: (New) When unsuspecting couples are forced to fight to the death, the ICC goes undercover.

Showtime: Ray Donovan: (New) Abby defies Ray and spends the day with Mickey and the kids.

Basic cable:

New episodes of:

Naked Castaway: Full Moon at 8 p.m. on DSC

HGTV Star at 8 p.m. on HGTV

Border Wars at 8 p.m. on NGC

The Real Housewives of New Jersey at 8 p.m. on BRAVO

Cupcake Wars at 8 p.m. on Food Channel

Off the Hook: Extreme Catches at 8 and 8:30 p.m. on Animal Planet

Sunday Best at 8 and 10 p.m. on BET

Ultimate Survival Alaska at 9 p.m. on NGC

Naked Castaway at 9 p.m. on DSC

The Killing at 9 p.m. on AMC

Keeping Up With the Kardashians at 9 p.m. on E!

Call of the Wildman at 9 p.m. on Animal Planet

Food Network Star at 9 p.m. on Food Channel

Love it or List it, Too at 9 p.m. on HGTV

Rock My RV With Bret Michaels at 9 p.m. on Travel Channel

Mountain Men at 9 p.m. on History Channel

Drop Dead Diva at 9 p.m. on LIFE

Long Island Medium on the Road at 9 p.m. on TLC

Princesses: Long Island at 9 p.m. on BRAVO

Bar Rescue at 9 p.m. on SPIKE

Dateline at 9 p.m. on ID

Call of the Wildman: More Live Action at 9:30 p.m. on Animal Planet

Naked and Afraid at 10 p.m. on DSC

Falling Skies at 10 p.m. on TNT

Ice Road Truckers 10 p.m. on History Channel

Copper at 10 p.m. on BBC

Devious Maids at 10 p.m. on LIFE

Food Court Wars at 10 p.m. on Food Channel

Breaking Amish: Brave New World: The Shunning Truth at 10 p.m. on TLC

For movie lovers:

8 p.m.

Hitch on ENC

The Big Lebowski on FLIX

Taken on FX

Broken Lizard’s Club Dread on IFC

Banshee on MOMAX

Mean Girls on SHO

Dead Man Walking on SUND

Monster-in-Law on TBS

The Incredible Shrinking Man on TCM

Man on a Ledge on TMC

9 p.m.

The Five-Year Engagement on HBO

Pitch Perfect on HBO

The Bone Collector on MOMAX

The Wedding Planner on STARZ

Later tonight:

The Devil Doll at 9:30 p.m. on TCM

Stepmom at 9:35 p.m. on SHO

Jaws at 10 p.m. on CINEMAX

The Vow at 10 p.m. on ENC

The Man Who Wasn’t There at 10 p.m. on FLIX

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy at 10:15 p.m. on IFC

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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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