WASHINGTON, June 23, 2013 —Tonight at 8 p.m. on the summer season premiere of “Celebrity Wife Swap,” ABC has pulled out all the stops when it comes to name recognition. After all, who hasn’t heard of the Palins and the Rivers families?
Tonight’s episode has nothing to do with wives since both Melissa Rivers and Bristol Palin are single mothers. So Palin’s sister Willow and Rivers’ mother Joan stood in as the “husbands” during this episode. It sounds too gimmicky even for Hollywood, but the radically different environments these women come from makes this set-up as intriguing as a train wreck unfolding in slow motion.
We know. We shouldn’t tune into this show tonight for fear of giving the net heads the illusion that we actually are demanding more dubious reality shows like “Celebrity Wife Swap.” But who doesn’t want to catch Joan Rivers’ obnoxious one-line zingers as she tries to acclimate to Alaska and the Palin way of life? Could this actually be fun? You betcha.
If watching celebrities flailing about after being removed from their natural habitat isn’t appealing, there is always “Skywire Live with Nik Wallenda,” airing tonight at 8 p.m. on Discovery Channel. Nik Wallenda is part of the famed Flying Wallendas circus family, so he at least has genetics on his side as he attempts to walk across the Grand Canyon on a 2-inch tightrope. One wonders what kind of exorbitant premium his insurance company charges for this kind of coverage.
When Wallenda walked a tightrope over Niagra Falls, he had a tether. But tonight’s 1400 ft. jaunt across the Grand Canyon will be performed without a tether or a net. If he falls, it will be a long one because his tightrope is 1500 ft above the base of the canyon. Given that Wallenda is not Wile E. Coyote, here’s another potential train wreck for the voyeur in all of us. Which, of course, is why Discovery is running it. Look for frequent batches of obnoxious commercials as the walk nears its climax.
For music lovers, the best bet tonight is on CMT at 9 p.m. Willie Nelson is joined by friends Neil Young, Jack White, Sheryl Crow, Leon Russell, Ashley Monroe, Norah Jones and Jamey Johnson in a musical celebration of Willie’s 80th birthday. Because of Willie’s colorful life story, 80 years on the planet is something to celebrate indeed.
Given Willie’s ongoing affection for marijuana (likely for medicinal purposes, of course), we should probably be watching for telltale signs like Cheetos-stained fingers and hazy smiles. But with or without Willie’s favorite pastime, the lineup of guests on this show boasts enough Grammies among them to make this both a memorable birthday for Willie, and a show definitely worth watching.
Another popular choice tonight is “True Blood” at 9 p.m. on HBO. This modern day vampire show easily won last Sunday night’s cable ratings, although the premiere of the sixth season of “ earned just 4.5 million viewers, down 13 percent from last year’s debut.
But don’t fret “True Blood” fans. Last week’s competition for your favorite show was game five of the NBA finals. This playoff game grabbed the attention of over 16 million viewers who will be looking for a replacement amusement tonight. So it’s likely a safe bet that tonight’s numbers for “True Blood” will exceed last week’s by a significant margin because of the likely mass-migration of viewers.
Another probable beneficiary of the absence of NBA basketball tonight will be “Falling Skies” at 10 p.m. on TNT. The season premiere of this show attracted 4.5 million viewers, a sign that post-apocalyptic dramas are far from reaching their critical mass with the TV audience. Or movie fans, for that matter, who’ve been flocking to Brad Pitt’s “World War Z” this weekend in unexpectedly high numbers.
From frozen faced celebrities heading to the frigid northern wilds to oversexed vampires steaming up the screen in the Deep South, there’s absolutely something for everyone on TV tonight.
All times are EDT:
CBS: 60 Minutes: (New) Lara Logan interviews Michael Morton, who spent nearly 25 years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit; Lesley Stahl reports on the Russian punk protest band Pussy Riot; Charlie Rose profiles David Kelley and his company, IDEO, a creator of iconic products such as the computer mouse.
NBC: America’s Got Talent: (Repeat) Nick and the judges continue to scour the country for the most talented performers in America.
ABC: Celebrity Wife Swap: (New) Bristol and Willow Palin, daughters of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, trade lives with one of TV’s most popular mother-daughter duos, Joan and Melissa Rivers.
CBS: Elementary: (Repeat) Joan investigates her first solo case when a wife disappears. The missing woman left behind a tear-filled video that mentions a murder on a subway platform. While Joan searches for the vanished lady, Sherlock probes the murder.
FOX: The Simpsons: (Repeat) After Grampa takes it on the lam from the retirement home, a frantic Homer and Marge try to track him down, and their search uncovers some surprising secrets from his past, including the revelation that he once worked at a restaurant with Marvin Hamlisch (who provides his own voice) and fell in love with a singer at the eatery. Meanwhile, Lisa is flush with excitement when she discovers the joys of online poker.
FOX: Bob’s Burgers: (Repeat) A health inspector visits the burger joint after Louise starts a rumor at school during show-and-tell in the opener of the animated sitcom series following a restaurateur and his quirky family.
ABC: Whodunnit: (New) The guests arrive at the estate and quickly discover one of their own dead in a pool of water charged by a live wire.
CBS: The Good Wife: (Repeat) One of Alicia’s clients is murdered, and she fears the killer may also be targeting someone close to her. To help the police find the culprit, she agrees to waive attorney-client privilege. Meanwhile, Peter and rival Mike Kresteva vie for an influential endorsement; and Diane receives a stunning offer.
FOX: Family Guy: (Repeat) Valentine’s Day proves promising for the residents of Quahog as Meg hits it off with a guy she met on the Internet, Stewie’s time machine transports him to the 1960s, where he falls for a young lady, and Peter and Lois spend the day in bed.
NBC: Crossing Lines: (New) An elite cross-border police unit brings notorious international criminals to justice.
HBO: True Blood: (New) Sam tries to tamp down the zealotry of a supernatural-rights advocate, but can’t avoid a confrontation with Alcide and Martha over Emma’s future. Meanwhile, Sookie and Jason learn about their family’s history from a long-lost relative; Eric tries to reverse the governor’s antivampire initiatives; Bill is shocked by the scope of his new powers; and Sookie meets a stranger who shares her abilities.
CMT: Crossroads: (New) Willie Nelson celebrates his 80th birthday with friends Neil Young, Jack White, Sheryl Crow, Leon Russell, Ashley Monroe, Norah Jones and Jamey Johnson.
FOX: American Dad: (Repeat) A local talk show IDs Francine as “Baby Franny,” a toddler who once fell down a well and was rescued by a fireman. On the anniversary of her being saved, she winds up falling down the same well, and making an alarming discovery. Meanwhile, entrepreneurs Stan and Roger think they’ve come up with the next big thing: male- stripper shoes.
ABC: Castle: (Repeat) While retrieving a murder witness, Castle and Beckett are ambushed, forcing them to take the witness on the run.
CBS: The Mentalist: (Repeat) The team investigates the homicide of a real-estate agent who was once linked to a gang.
HBO: Veep: (New) The Season 2 finale finds Selina and her staff trying to cope as the administration goes into full crisis mode.
New episodes of:
Skywire Live with Nik Wallenda at 8 p.m. on DSC
HGTV Star at 8 p.m. on HGTV
The Real Housewives of New Jersey at 8 p.m. on BRAVO
Cupcake Wars at 8 p.m. on Food Channel
Long Island Medium: Beyond the Read at 8 and 8:30 p.m. on TLC
The Killing at 9 p.m. on AMC
Princesses: Long Island at 9 p.m. on BRAVO
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
Mountain Men at 9 p.m. on History Channel
Rock My RV With Bret Michaels at 9 p.m. on Travel Channel
Keeping Up With the Kardashians at 9 p.m. on E!
Long Island Medium at 9 and 9:30 p.m. on TLC
Call of the Wildman: More Live Action at 9:30 p.m. on Animal Planet
Mad Men at 10 p.m. on AMC
Falling Skies at 10 p.m. on TNT
Ice Road Truckers 10 p.m. on History Channel
Life Below Zero at 10 p.m. on NGC
Breaking Amish: Brave New World at 10 p.m. on TLC
Naked and Afraid at 10:20 p.m. on DSC
For movie lovers:
Zookeeper on AMC
Touchback on ENC
Citizen Ruth on FLIX
The Soloist on FXM
Just Go With It on FX
Rush Hour 3 on TBS
The Pirate on TCM
Magic Mike on HBO
Dark Shadows on HBO
House of 1000 Corpses on IFC
Deep Impact on MOMAX
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen on SHO
2 Days in New York on TMC
Captain Kidd’s Treasure at 9:45 p.m. on TCM
Saturday Night Fever at 10 p.m. on SUND
Thunderball at 10 p.m. on REELZ