TV on Tap: 2012 Was the Year of the Backlash, TV’s ‘Lost’ Era is Over and Can “The X-Factor” Be Fixed?

If not for Soledad O’Brien, this would be the only time I can watch CNN without yelling at the TV.

We’re at the closing of the year and I hope you all make sure to stay safe in celebrating the transition to 2013.


Here’s more reason to feel optimistic about One Life to Live and All My Children coming back — Soap Opera Digest reports that OLTL has found a showrunner while Vincent Irizarry has signed up for the AMC revival.

Okay, for a channel that has seemed to decide its theme involves documenting the worst of our society (when aliens discover earth and try to figure out what happened to humanity, TLC will become The Learning Channel again, teaching the aliens how it all went wrong), a show about married women who compete in beauty pageants doesn’t sound so bad. Deadline reports that Pageant Wives will follow the usual TLC pattern of airing as a special/pilot with the potential for continuing as a series.

After disappointing in the ratings for two seasons, can The X-Factor be saved? TVLine has 12 suggestions to save the show. I’ve yet to keep up with The X-Factor through an entire season, so how does that advice ring for you, though I thought revealing the acts’ ranking was an interesting step.

The most-pirated TV show in 2012 was Game of Thrones. Sounds about right.

In a column at the Daily Mail, Piers Morgan reacts to calls to deport him for using the rights granted in the First Amendment to criticize advocates of the Second Amendment, by saying he may leave the country if we don’t change our gun laws. I hear the entire population of Britain is now dedicated to making sure Morgan does not have that excuse to return to their country.

Among the lessons of 2012, io9 declares that “the Lost era is over” with slow reveal dramas like The River and Awake failing to capture audiences’ attention while Lost alums couldn’t draw viewers to 666 Park Avenue and Alcatraz. On the other hand, How I Met Your Mother is still huge, so maybe audiences are still okay with a slow reveal if there are distracting punchlines.

Was 2012 the Year of the Backlash, as Hitfix’s Alan Sepinwall suggests in this list of the year’s biggest TV stories? (Or the year of hate-watching?) Shows like Smash, Girls and Newsroom were part of a familiar cycle where hype and praise led to viewers wondering what the big deal was. I’m bracing myself for the inevitable Downton Abbey backlash. (Then again, maybe the moment when that could have happened came and went when Julian FellowesTitanic bombed with little notice.)

Does a reception at the British Embassy make Downton Abbey the UK’s biggest import since the Beatles, as Salon suggests? Its success certainly has been unexpected (when the show came up over Christmas Eve dinner, the phrase “surprised, I enjoy it so much” came up again and again) and huge.

Matt Lauer says he’s been accosted on the street from Today viewers who blame him for Ann Curry’s departure from the show.

A good number of Leverage fans came back for the series finale.


The Twlight Zone Marathon (Syfy) starting at 8:00 AM ET
It wouldn’t be New Year’s without Syfy turning things over to the mind of Rod Serling, and as usual the iconic episodes don’t start until prime time with “Eye of the Beholder” at 7:30 followed by Agnes Moorehead in “The Invaders” at 8. The evening’s episodes also includes “Where is Everybody,” “To Serve Man,” “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” and my favorite, “Living Doll.”

Anderson Live (syndicated) Check local listings
Tamar Braxton joins Anderson for a New Year’s Eve special that includes New Year’s Resolutions and… er, a hidden camera investigation about people who clip their toenails in public.

Days of Our Lives (NBC) Check local listings
Ohboy, now Will is trying to keep secrets from Kate. Thankfully, Will’s just freaking adorable when he nervously looks away from someone. Join us to catalog the cute moments when we liveblog the action starting at 1PM Eastern!

Portlandia Marathon (IFC) starting at 4:00 PM ET
If you’re looking for some locally-sourced and responsibly produced resolution ideas, IFC is spending 24 hours in the land of trendy brunch spots, purple cabbage rehab, ultra-quirky musical acts and adorable mayoral assistants.

Live from Lincoln Center (PBS) Check local listings
PBS keeps its New Year’s celebration highbrow with the New York Philharmonic’s tribute to Marvin Hamlish, which will include performances by Megan Hilty, Audra McDonald and Raul Esparza.

New Year’s Rockin’ Eve Celebrates Dick Clark (ABC) 8:00 PM ET
ABC is basically turning over the night to Dick Clark Productions starting with this look back at Dick Clark’s 40 years of ringing in the new year that includes performance highlights from Donna Summer, Culture Club, Toni Basil, Sonny & Cher, Cyndi Lauper and Madonna. There are also new performances scheduled with Neon Trees and Carly Rae Jespen.

Primetime Rockin’ Eve (ABC) 10:00 PM ET
ABC’s primetime lineup’s final hours include performances by The Wanted, Pitbull, Justin Bieber and Psy. I’m hoping that U.S. audiences are ready for K-pop rap that isn’t “Gangnam Style” because I’m ready for a new single.

The Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC) 9:00 PM ET
The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnel (MSNBC) 10:00 PM ET
MSNBC is ringing in the New Year with special year-end recap episodes of its prime time line-up. I’m keeping my figners crossed Rachel’s got a cocktail-making segment or five. Meanwhile, the promos show that Steve Kornacki will be a part of The Last Word’s party.

New Year’s Eve Live (CNN) 10:00 PM ET
Prepare your jokes about Anderson Cooper playing the role of the straight man as the newly-out anchor returns for another year of cringing to Kathy Griffin for the best comedy duo on Times Square.

NBC’s New Year’s Eve with Carson Daly (NBC) 10:00, 11:30 PM ET
Angela Kinsey joins Carson Daly to host a show that includes performances by Train (including “Imagine,” maybe NBC will let them sing all of the lyrics?), The Voice winner Cassadee Pope, appearances by The Voice’s judges and a look back at 2012’s memorable musical performances.

Fox New Year’s Eve (Fox) 11:00 PM ET
Fox celebrates another New Year’s Eve from Vegas with performances by Lifehouse, Carmen Electra (wait, what year are we celebrating?) and X-Factor winner Tate Stevens.

All-American New Year (Fox News) 11:00 PM ET
Yeah, I can’t imagine ruining a New Year’s Eve by turning the channel to Fox News, but how much do you like Pat Benatar? She’s scheduled to perform at this ridiculously-titled (it wouldn’t be Fox News if they weren’t implying there was something wrong with the competition) special with Neil Giraldo.

MTV’s Club NYE (MTV) 11:00 PM ET
MTV turns New Year’s to Snooki and JWOWW. I don’t know what to think of that. (And if we’re asking reality TV stars hosting gigs, can’t we have more Jaymes Vaughn?) The Jersey Shore duo will be introducing performances by Ne-Yo, Rita Ora, Conor Maynad, Sean Kington and Ke$ha. At least you can wait to spot Pretty Little Liars hotties Keegan Allen and Tyler Blackburn.

Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve with Ryan Seacrest (ABC) 11:30 PM ET
For the big countdown, ABC has a performance by Taylor Swift. I guess we’re going to play the “Which ex-boyfriend is this song about?” game from 2013’s earliest moments.

The Eric Andre Show (Adult Swim) 11:30 PM ET
Adult Swim is getting into the New Year’s special game with its surreal take on talk shows. Expect to see people playing Kevin Sorbo, Omarosa, Sebastian Bach and Demi Lovato. Maybe one of those will be the actual person and not an actor, but on Adult Swim’s budget, that doesn’t seem likely.

What will you be watching tonight? Please share in the comments!

Tomorrow’s Preview

Absolutely Fabulous Marathon (Logo) starting at 6:00 AM ET
Logo’s got a pretty fabulous New Year’s Day planned, that starts with four hours with Patsy and Edina, so make sure to save a bottle of Veuve Clicquot at your celebration.

Anderson Live (syndicated) Check local listings
The Wendy Williams Show (syndicated) Check local listings
New Year’s Day brings a double-feature of Alan Cumming. I believe, that’s a good omen for the year.

Lyle Masaki is a fan of obscure superheroes, video games, adorkable guys and that show you loved that got cancelled way too soon.