TV tonight: Morgan Freeman is back and Ironside bites the dust

Cable continues to trump the major networks with fresh programming

Photo: Science Channel/Beyond the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman

WASHINGTON, Oct. 30, 2013 —It didn’t take NBC long to decide that “Ironside” was a dud. After just three episodes, “Ironside” was unceremoniously dumped from the Wednesday night lineup. In its place NBC will air a repeat of “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” followed by three weeks of “Dateline” and a series of seasonal specials before premiering “Chicago P. D.” on January 8.

The odds were against “Ironside” from the start airing opposite of “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” on CBS, but canceling it so soon seems extreme. NBC could have moved it to Saturday night in the same time slot the network currently airs “Saturday Night Live” repeats. But NBC’s knee-jerk reaction is just one symptom of a much larger problem.


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Maybe it is because all the major broadcast networks continue to lose their audience to new and original programming on cable networks. The net heads realize their relevance is in a freefall and they are all scrambling to recapture an audience that has grown weary of their endless parade of talent contests and cop shows.

While the major broadcast networks feed us different versions of the same old thing, shows on basic cable tonight like “Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman” and “American Horror Story” give viewers a decidedly different choice.

Not only is cable coming up with innovative programming, it is attracting big names to tell their stories that attract big audiences. This trend was validated when the majority of the 2013 Emmys were awarded to shows that air on cable networks.

Tonight when viewers have to choose between sitcoms and cop shows, an ever increasing number will channel surf cable for something fresh to watch. As apparent as this may be to the TV audience, someone should probably send the major networks yet another memo that says “adapt or die.”


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Tonight’s viewing:

All times are EDT:

7:30 p.m.

FOX: World Series: Game 6: Cardinals at Red Sox: (Live) From Fenway Park in Boston.

8 p.m.

ABC: The Middle: (New) Sue holds a seance with her friends; the football team stops Axl from attending the Halloween party in his room; the family tries to give Brick advice about girls.

CBS: Survivor: Blood vs. Water: (New) A contestant is put on the spot by an ultimatum; a contestant may be undermined by her honesty. 

NBC: Revolution: (New) Neville hunts for his son; Monroe’s presence in Willoughby has dramatic consequences.

CW: Arrow: (New) Oliver learns that a man is transporting illegal guns into the Glades; Felicity shares stunning information with Oliver; Donner asks Laurel out.

8:30 p.m.

ABC: Back in the Game: (New) Danny takes the team trick-or-treating; Lulu tries to teach Terry to celebrate Halloween as an adult; The Cannon lets his competitive streak get the best of him during a visit to the cemetery.

9 p.m.

ABC: Modern Family: (Repeat) Claire must rein in her enthusiasm for Halloween and keep her celebration kid-friendly; Phil decides to hold an open house on Halloween; Mitch and Cam have a costume party; Gloria’s hormones make her more quick-tempered than usual.

CBS: Criminal Minds: (New) Ritualistic murders lead the team to believe their suspect may have a fascination with the Salem witch trials; Garcia plans a Day of the Dead celebration.

NBC: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: (Repeat) The detectives uncover a shocking theory as they work to learn the identity of a man Rollins arrested for exposing himself in the park; Detective Benson finds herself in mortal danger.

CW: The Tomorrow People: (New) After years of being in hiding, Ultra’s most wanted, Killian (Jason Dohring) resurfaces; Stephen’s mother becomes suspicious.

PBS: Nova: (New) Part 3 of 4. An examination of cold science, including its use in saving the lives of trauma patients and possibly cooling a warming planet. Also: ultracold physics.

9:30 p.m.

ABC: Super Fun Night: (New) An alcohol-fueled night out leads to Kimmie gaining new insight about Kendall; Helen-Alice and Marika meet their idol.

10 p.m.

ABC: Nashville: (New) Rayna sets the record straight during an interview with Robin Roberts; Juliette runs into Charlie Wentworth; Scarlett turns to Avery for advice on the changes to her life.

CBS: CSI: Crime Scene Investigation: (New) A homeless man is murdered after having winning streak at a small casino.

PBS: Raw to Ready: (New) Part 3 of 4. Making the Mack Pinnacle, a heavy hauler that can carry an 80,000-pound payload and operate in almost every weather condition.

Basic cable:

New episodes of:

Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles at 9 p.m. on BRAVO

Restaurant Stakeout at 9 p.m. on Food Channel

Property Brothers at 9 p.m. on HGTV

American Pickers at 9 p.m. on History Channel

Beyond the Wormhole With Morgan Freeman at 9 p.m. on SCI

Ghost Hunters at 9 p.m. on Syfy

Tyler Perry’s For Better or Worse at 9 and 9:30 p.m. on OWN

Preachers of L.A. at 9 and 10 p.m. on OXYGN

Restaurant Impossible at 10 p.m. on Food Channel

South Park at 10 p.m. on Comedy Central

Top Chef at 10 p.m. on BRAVO

American Horror Story: Coven at 10 p.m. on FX

House Hunters at 10 p.m. on HGTV

How the Earth Works at 10 p.m. on SCI

Ghost Mine at 10 p.m. on Syfy

Hoarding: Buried Alive at 10 p.m. on TLC

Key & Peele at 10:30 p.m. on Comedy Central

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


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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. 

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