TV tonight: ‘The Bible’ and ‘The Walking Dead’ in a ratings race

Jesus is born on part three of the epic mini-series “The Bible.”
Photo: History Channel/ The Bible

WASHINGTONMarch 17, 2013 —There couldn’t be two more different shows airing tonight than “The Bible” and “The Walking Dead,” which makes their ratings race at least as interesting as the shows themselves. The third night of their head-to-head competition is tonight. Last week’s audiences put them at a dead heat, with “The Walking Dead” holding onto a small lead of half a million viewers.

While most of the reviews of “The Bible” have been less than enthusiastic, “The Walking Dead” also seems to be struggling to find its identity this season. Andrea, one of the emerging protagonists on the new season of “The Walking Dead,” has spawned enough hate to get her own “We Hate Andrea From The Walking Dead” Facebook page.

Thankfully, there is no hate page for History Channel’s Bible epic, and with the birth of Jesus depicted tonight, the audience reaction will no doubt be positive. Criticized for being disjointed and lacking a soul thus far, maybe The New Testament will elevate the story enough to keep viewers coming back throughout the entire five part series that wraps up on Easter Sunday.

Regardless of which show comes out on top in the best-of-five series, the obvious winner is basic cable. Between the two shows, they are pulling over 22 million people from broadcast TV. To be fair, both The History Channel and AMC have expanded their programming to include a lot more than Hitler documentaries. But this can only explain part of the exodus from the top broadcast networks.

With the number of reality shows on broadcast TV at an all time high, maybe TV audiences are sick of all of the manufactured drama and annoying celebrities, and just want to be told a good story. With previous broadcast giants like “American Idol” and “Celebrity Apprentice” in a ratings free fall, maybe someone needs to send a memo the network heads.

Maybe if I ever finish counting negative Nicki Minaj Facebook pages, I’ll do just that.

SEE RELATED: Fire Nicki Minaj for American Idol’s low ratings

Tonight’s viewing:

All times are EST:

8 p.m.

ABC: Once Upon a Time: (New) David, Emma and Mr. Gold try to protect Mary Margaret from a vengeful Regina; a man and his son find their way into Storybrooke.

CBS: Amazing Race 22: (New) The race continues in Hanoi, Vietnam, where the teams face a Double U-Turn. Also: One pair receives crushing news.

FOX: The Simpsons: (New) Lisa comes to her brother’s defense when Bart is accused of an Easter prank involving the school marching band, the horn section and some rotten eggs. Meanwhile, Mr. Burns seizes the opportunity to realize his lifelong ambition to become a superhero.

NBC: Dateline NBC: (New) The efforts of two narcotics detectives to help drug dealers turn their lives around are chronicled. Also: Twists and turns mark the case of a young woman who vanished in St. Augustine, Fla.

History Channel: The Bible: (New) Part 3 of 5. The Jews are enslaved in Babylon; Mary is told she will bear a child; and Jesus is born.

8:30 p.m.

FOX: The Cleveland Show: (New) The Browns move to L.A., where Cleveland pursues his dream of becoming a Major League Baseball scout, but when he strikes out with that endeavor, he longs for the simple life back in Stoolbend. Meanwhile, the rest of the family is dazzled by the glitz and glamour of Tinseltown.

9 p.m.

ABC: Revenge: (New) Jack is suspicious when Conrad and Victoria start a charity in Amanda Clarke’s name; once again, Emily’s past catches up with her.

CBS: The Good Wife: (New) Alicia and Will’s latest case brings them to an inquest at the coroner office, where they are hindered by a strict rule that limits their questioning to three per witness. Also, Cary’s father returns to bring new business to the firm and Eli schemes against Jordan.

FOX: Family Guy: (New) A skydiving accident lands Peter in the hospital, where he befriends a guy named Mahmoud who convinces him to convert to Islam, but Quagmire and Joe suspect that Mahmoud has ulterior motives.

NBC: All-Star Celebrity Apprentice: (New) Soap stars Susan Lucci and Jack Wagner help the all-stars perform a soap opera for Crystal Light.

AMC: The Walking Dead: (New) With the Governor busy pursuing a runaway dissenter, a traitor looks to sabotage his impending plans.

SHOWTIME: Shameless: (New) Fiona starts a new office job, and Frank inadvertently becomes involved in the gay rights movement.

9:30 p.m.

FOX: Bob’s Burgers: (New) Tina dates a ballet dancer, which leads to a dance-off between him and a jealous Jimmy Jr.

10 p.m.

ABC: Red Widow: (New) Marta’s plans to flee the country with her children are derailed when Irwin is released from prison early; Mike stages a robbery of his own house in hope of paying off his debts.

CBS: The Mentalist: (New) The body of a female army medic who worked with soldiers with PTSD is found near a military base.

SHOWTIME: House of Lies: (New) Doug and Clyde are summoned to testify in a wrongful death suit, and Monica begins to unravel after Roscoe moves out.

10:30 p.m.

SHOWTIME: Californication: (New) Atticus throws a party, and Hank gets a taste of his own medicine with Karen when Eddie Nero returns.

Basic cable:

New episodes of:

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

Cupcake Wars at 8 p.m. on Food Channel

Extreme Homes at 8 p.m. on HGTV

Wild West Alaska at 8 p.m. on Animal Planet

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

Trip Flip at 8 and 8:30 p.m. on Travel Channel

Finding Bigfoot: Further Evidence at 9 p.m. on Animal Planet

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

Worst Cooks in America at 9 p.m. on Food Channel

Army Wives at 9 p.m. on LIFE

Wicked Tuna at 9 p.m. on NGC

Gypsy Sisters at 9 p.m. on TLC

Talking Dead at 10 p.m. on AMC

Finding Bigfoot at 10 p.m. on Animal Planet

Restaurant Impossible at 10 p.m. on Food Channel

Vikings at 10 p.m. on History Channel

Mudcats 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.

Green Lantern on CINEMAX

Just Go With It on ENC

Hellraiser: Inferno on FLIX

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows on HBO

The Rising of the Moon on TCM

Why Stop Now on TMC

The Dark Knight on TNT

9 p.m.

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse on FX

The Tree of Life on HBO

American Pie on IFC

Saving Private Ryan on MOMAX

Later tonight:

The Quiet Man at 9:30 p.m. on TCM

Meet the Fockers at 10 p.m. on CINEMAX

Bringing Down the House at 10 p.m. on ENC

The American at 10:30 p.m. on HBO

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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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