TV tonight: NBA finals and premiere of final season of 'Burn Notice'

Cable arrives in the nick of time to save us from summer re-run hell.

Photo: USA/Burn Notice

WASHINGTON, June 6, 2013 —Tonight on ABC, the NBA finals kick off with game one between Tim Duncan and his San Antonio Spurs and LeBron James and his Miami Heat. Game one comes complete with the requisite hype provided by Jimmy Kimmel and company at 8 p.m. Miami is heavily favored to win the series, and their franchise player LeBron James is the favorite to win this year’s MVP. But, like Yogi Berra said, admittedly referring to a different sport, “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.”

Also tonight, the enduringly weird spy series “Burn Notice” returns for its seventh and final season tonight at 9 p.m. on USA Network. Building on strong ratings and an established audience, the final season of the show should only enhance the after-market value of a show already aired in more than fifty countries.

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Considering its basic cable origins, “Burn Notice” has had an incredible run that’s a welcome relief to the standard summer fare of reruns on the major broadcast networks. Indeed, cable channels have carved out an interesting niche for themselves over the years by debuting and running new episodes of their best shows during the summer season when network TV is taking a break, filling their own air time with a predictably dreary cavalcade of reruns sponsored by perpetually recycled Progressive Insurance commercials starring the unbearable, bizarrely protean Flo and her vampire-red lipstick.

USA is also airing the premiere of its new show “Graceland” immediately following “Burn Notice” at 10 p.m. This series features a group of officials from various United States law enforcement agencies, including DEA, the FBI, and ICE. Law enforcement officials in these agencies find themselves thrown together in the same Southern California beach house as part of an undercover operation.

If we know anything about our government, this motley TV crew will likely experience as many or more problems with their fellow agents than they will in fighting crime, drugs, corruption, and, more than likely, the odd terrorist or three. In all probability, they’ll also likely be a lot better looking than you or me or the average cop for that matter.

Actually, from available info, this series sounds a lot like “Real World” invaded federal law enforcement officers. That’s a premise that sounds workable if not a bit farfetched. Whether the show succeeds or not is in the capable hands of Jeff Eastin, who is also the executive producer for the USA series “White Collar.”

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Also premiering tonight are two competitive reality shows on TNT. At 8 p.m. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (recently seen in the hit film “Fast and Furious 6”) serves as host and executive producer of “The Hero.” The show features nine contestants who face not only physical challenges, but mental and moral tests as well. These typically diverse contestants are thrown together in a luxury condo in Panama City and compete each week for a cash prize. It sounds like pretty standard reality show fare, but “The Rock” may be the secret weapon that makes this show work. Maybe he’ll need to drop kick some sense into a different contestant each week.

Following “The Hero” on TNT at 9 p.m. is the survival-based competitive reality show “72 Hours.” Opposing teams of strangers are dropped via parachute into remote locations with nothing but a single bottle of water and a GPS tracking device. Teams are then given three days to form bonds, battle the elements and make difficult survival choices as they search for a hidden briefcase full of $100,000 cash. We’d settle for a few cases of ice-cold brewskis after an ordeal like this, but what kind of ratings would that get?

At any rate, “72 Hours” sounds like a low budget “Survivor” that will take three days instead of the usual 39 to expose the ugly side of human nature. (Or the usual 3.9 minutes to expose the dark side of the average Washington politician.)

Now, if we could only find a way to pit reality show producers against each other in this series, it would definitely be on my watch list. This one: not so likely.

Tonight’s viewing:

All times are EDT:

8 p.m.

ABC: Jimmy Kimmel Live: Game Night: Game 1: Actor Will Smith; 2-year-old Phonon Titus goes head to head with Shaquille O’Neal.

CBS: The Big Bang Theory: (Repeat) Leonard and Sheldon get into a spat that sends Leonard across the hall to live with Penny. Meanwhile, Raj keeps an eye on Mrs. Wolowitz while Howard’s away on a trip.

FOX: Hell’s Kitchen: (Live) Chef Ramsay evaluates the contestants’ work in the signature-dish challenge, and the winner receives immunity for the dinner service, in which the chefs try to impress TV host Maria Menounos and actor Jeremy Sisto.

NBC: Save Me: (New) Beth focuses most of her attention on selling her worldly possessions at a garage sale, leaving her little time to prepare for a dinner party that she insisted on throwing for Tom’s boss.

CW: The Vampire Diaries: (Repeat) Connor attempts to uncover town secrets and tries to convince Jeremy to help him. Meanwhile, Elena finds it difficult to control her anger when Rebekah arrives at school; and Stefan takes Elena on a fast motorcycle ride to show her that life can still be fun.

8:30 p.m.

ABC: NBA Countdown: (Live) Pre-game show

CBS: Two and a Half Men: (Repeat) Alan helps Walden develop an alias to find a woman who doesn’t just love him for his money.

NBC: Save Me: (New) Inspired by the Ten Commandments, Beth sets out to win back her daughter’s respect.

9 p.m.

ABC: NBA Finals: Game 1: Spurs at Heat: (Live) San Antonio Spurs at Miami Heat Game 1. From the American Airlines Arena in Miami.

CBS: Person of Interest: (Repeat) Finch and Reese must decide how to deal with a cab driver’s passengers after his number comes up.

FOX: Does Someone Have To Go?: (New) Employees at a sports and exercise equipment manufacturer in Anaheim assess the state of their company and try to chart a better course for the future.

NBC: The Office: (Repeat) The staffers are forced to use the stairs when the elevator goes out of service. Elsewhere, Dwight coerces Stanley to make a crucial sales call; Nellie and Toby help Pam and Jim with their marital challenges; and Angela supports her man. Roseanne Barr guest stars.

CW: Beauty and the Beast: (Repeat) Cat is placed on leave after interfering in a murder investigation. Meanwhile, J.T. fears that Vincent will become exposed.

9:30 p.m.

NBC: Parks and Recreation: (Repeat) Leslie’s push to get more women in government jobs results in her and April collecting garbage. Meanwhile, Tom asks Andy and Ben to teach him about basketball; and Ron takes on the responsibility of watching Diane’s kids while their babysitter is out of town.

10 p.m.              

CBS: Elementary: (Repeat) Sherlock searches for the kidnapped adult daughter of his former drug dealer. Meanwhile Watson worries that Holmes will be tempted to use drugs again when the dealer suggests that Sherlock was a better detective when he used illegal narcotics.

NBC: Hannibal: (New) When Dr. Gideon escapes to terrorize Alana and Dr. Chilton, Hannibal and Will go on the hunt. Eddie Izzard guest stars.

Basic cable:

New episodes of:

Alaska: The Last Frontier Exposed at 8 p.m. on DSC

The Hero at 8 p.m. on TNT

Dates From Hell at 8 p.m. on ID

Mountain Movers at 8 p.m. on NGC

Renovation Raiders at 9 p.m. on HGTV

The First 48 at 9 p.m. on A&E

72 Hours at 9 p.m. on TNT

Monumental Mysteries at 9 p.m. on Travel Channel

Burn Notice at 9 p.m. on USA

Braxton Family Values at 9 p.m. on WE

Chopped at 9 p.m. on Food Channel

Fatal Encounters at 9 p.m. on ID

Pawn Stars at 9 and 9:30 p.m. on History Channel

Buying Alaska at 9 and 9:30 p.m. on DSC

Anger Management at 9:30 p.m. on FX

Four Weddings at 9 and 10 p.m. on TLC

Showville at 10 p.m. on AMC

Giving You the Business at 10 p.m. on Food Channel

Swamp People at 10 p.m. on History Channel

Beyond Scared Straight at 10 p.m. on A&E

Tabatha Takes Over at 10 p.m. on BRAVO

Men at Work at 10 p.m. on TBS

Gracelend at 10 p.m. on USA

Property Wars at 10 and 10:30 p.m. on DSC

House Hunters International at 10:30  p.m. on HGTV

For movie lovers:

8 p.m.

Tango & Cash on ENC

Heaven on FLIX

The Happening on FMC

The Cable Guy on IFC

Bride of Frankenstein on TCM

9 p.m.

Outlander on Syfy

Hitch on STARZ

The Crow on SHO

Trouble With the Curve on HBO

The Huchback of Notre Dame on ABCFAM

Later tonight:

Godzilla, King of the Monsters at 9:30 p.m. on TCM

Twisted at 9:40 p.m. on FLIX

The Bourne Supremacy at 9:45 p.m. on ENC

Final Destination 5 at 10 p.m on CINEMAX

The Sixth Sense at 10 p.m on FMC

J. Edgar at 10 p.m on HBO

Mean Girls at 10 p.m. on TMC

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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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