TV on Tap: A “Closer” Hottie Heads to HBO’s “Newsroom,” “Jersey Shore” Producers Seeks Nerds and “American Horror Story” is Number One

Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! goes from radio to TV this weekend


Now that HBO’s The Newsroom has a name, it’s picked up a hottie guest star with Closer vet Jon Tenney, who’ll play Emily Mortimer’s boyfriend.

It sounds like the producers of Jersey Shore are looking to make a show centered around nerds, currently called Fandom Rising. Check out the casting call. A part of me hopes a gay nerd ends up a part of the cast, but then I remember that probably means I’ll end up watching a show from the producers of Jersey Shore.

Workaholics’ star Blake Anderson broke his back jumping from his roof to a beer pong table. Thankfully, doctors say he should recover from the incident.

Vulture has your guide to the fake websites TV characters used in 2011.

Andy Dehnart has an interesting suggestion on how to retool Work of Art, where the judging is unsatisfying and plays up the worst stereotypes of the art world. I’m happy with anything that loses Jerry Saltz but keeps Simon de Pury and China Chow’s amazing outfits.

After pushing the comedy envelope with Dream On, Mr. Show and Sex and the City why is HBO having trouble making comedy a part of its current schedule? Even stranger, broadcast and basic cable networks are doing a better job delivering comedies with the kind of edge that used to be HBO’s specialty.

The finale of American Horror Story hit a series high in the ratings, though it’s a tiny uptick from the season premiere. Still, it held on to the audience that gave it a try, and is on its way to becoming a top-rated new series, especially since AHS ranks as the year’s most time-shifted series.

Friday’s Listings

The Nate Berkus Show (syndicated) Check local listings
Kelly Osbourne joins Nate to judge a “Holiday Fashion Showdown.” Does it involve ugly Christmas sweaters? I hope they’re not wearing those for fun. Then Nate discusses how to “revamp” your holiday clutter, and cooks with Chef Johnny Iuzzini.

Anderson (syndicated) Check local listings
I hear Anderson’s first Christmas show will include bellringer F. Thomas Simpson teaching Anderson how to play the handbells (thanks Defft!)

The Talk (CBS) Check local listings
The amazing Margaret Cho will be visiting today. If memory serves correctly, the last time Cho appeared on The Talk was before fellow comedian and San Francisco native Aisha Tyler joined the show, so I’m interested in seeing them together.

Days of Our Lives (NBC) Check local listings
There’s another terrible holiday coming for the Horton/Brady family with Sami not approving of Will’s date and Will not approving of E.J.’s presence.

Bad Sex Marathon (Logo) starting at 2:00 PM ET
Logo doesn’t have a new episode of its surprise hit (we expected a tawdry reality series and got something so much deeper), but it does have a chance to catch up on the series before it moves to its new time slot.

Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! (BBC America) 8:00 PM ET
NPR’s quiz show comes to TV with a panel that includes Paula Poundstone, Alonzo Bodden and Phil Jupitus, as they review the year’s notable events. Neil Gaiman will also show up in another segment.

Chuck (NBC) 8:00 PM ET
For Christmas, Chuck gets a visit from comic book icon Stan Lee. Meanwhile, Chuck has a present for viewers who appreciate good-looking guys — the return of Brandon Routh as Shaw.

Grimm (NBC) 9:00 PM ET
In case you wrote off NBC’s surprise hit for being scheduled on a Friday night time slot of doom, NBC is giving you another chance to catch the pilot with more episodes airing all week.

Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys (Sundance) 9:00 PM ET
Sherrie and Shane take a vacation to New York where boyfriend issues keep them from having a good time.

Sanctuary (Syfy) 10:00 PM ET
In the first of a two-part finale, Caleb seeks Magnus’ help in negotiating a truce between the surface government and the insurgents.

X-Men (G4) 11:00 M ET
The X-Men continue to deal with Marsh and Mastermind as they head deeper into Yui’s laboratory.

The Nerdist returns for a year-end speical.

Saturday’s Listings

Harper’s Island Marathon (Chiller) starting at 6:00 AM ET
The Chiller channel spends Christmas with a wedding party isolated on an island with a serial killer. Think of it as a metaphor for most family gatherings.

Strangers with Candy Marathon (Logo) starting at Noon ET
Who wouldn’t want to send their Christmas Eve with Jerri Blank (as well as Stephen Colbert’s closeted history teacher Chuck Noblet)? Logo is giving you four hours with the gang at Flatpoint High.

The Sound of Music (ABC) 7:00 PM ET
The hills are alive on ABC this Christmas Eve. Maybe this is the year you convince your family to have a home sing-a-long screening.

Doctor Who: Best of the Christmas Specials (BBC America) 8:00 PM ET
Counting down to the next Christmas special, BBC America has this look at the way the series has celebrated Christmas in previous years.

A Christmas Story Marathon (TBS) starting at 8:00 PM ET
Once again TBS is airing A Christmas Story for 24 hours.

The Nerdist: Year in Review (BBC America) 9:00 PM ET
Chris Hardwick returns to discuss 2011’s top nerd moments. Expect visits from Wil Wheaton, Nathan Fillion and Kumail Nanjiani as well as interviews with David Tennant and Simon Pegg.

The Graham Norton Show (BBC America) 10:00 PM ET
The countdown to the Doctor Who Christmas special continues as Matt Smith chats with Graham along with comedian Russell Kane, Kenneth Branagh and Bollywood star Aamir Khan.

Would You Rather? with Graham Norton (BBC America) 11:00 PM ET
This week’s panel has Mo Rocca, Eugene Mirman, Andrea Rosen and a return visit from Hannibal Buress.

Would it be Christmas without a seasonal Doctor Who special?
(Thanks again for making every anglophile’s holiday, BBC America!)

Sunday’s Listings

Doctor Who Marathon (BBC America) starting at 5:00 AM ET
With only a few more hours left until the newest Christmas special, BBC America is spending the day on the TARDIS, including the past season.

Firefly Marathon (Science) starting at 9:00 AM ET
The Science Channel is spending Christmas with Captain Mal and the gang, which is probably how I’d spend Christmas too, if given the choice.

Face Off Marathon (Syfy) starting at 3:00 PM ET
In case you don’t know why Face Off is one of our favorite new reality series, here’s your chance to get hooked before the second season debuts.

The 12 Men of Christmas (Lifetime) 8:00 PM ET
Lifetime is repeating last year’s Christmas movie where Kristin Chenoweth organizes a beefcake calendar. Chenoweth, hot guys and Christmas

Doctor Who (BBC America) 9:00 PM ET
It’s finally here, the latest Christmas special sees The Doctor headed to 1940s England where he encounters a widow trying to keep her children from finding out about their father’s death until Christmas has passed.

At the Closing of the Year…

As the year wraps expect TV to get pretty quiet but there’s still a few reasons to set your DVR. On Monday, Anderson has Kathy Griffin and Gloria Vanderbilt together as Coop gets ready for New Year’s Eve. If watching Kathy make Anderson squirm is fun, hopefully it’s twice as fun when his mother joins the fun.

Meanwhile, Syfy follows Sunday’s Face Off marathon by reviewing another one of it’s bigger hits from last winter. If you didn’t catch the Being Human, it does an impressive job improving on the original. TNT also has the winter finale of The Closer which sees Brenda’s lawsuit blues get even worse.

Tuesday brings the latest edition of The Kennedy Center Honors on CBS. This year’s honorees are Meryl Streep, Neil Diamond, Barbara Cook, Sonny Rollins and Yo-Yo Ma. Nick also has a new episode of Supah Ninjahs with George Takei. There are also a couple of interesting marathons including 6 hours of the campy V.I.P. on Logo, and 10 hours of Tabitha’s Salon Takeover (which also has a new season getting ready to debut) on Bravo.

Wednesday is pretty quiet, as far as I can tell, but The Soup kicks off its year-end clipdown. On Thursday, ABC airs Happy New Year, Charlie Brown for those of you who haven’t had your fill of Peanuts holiday specials while MTV has the season finale of Beavis & Butthead, which sees the boys visiting a bordello.

Logo is kicking off the New Year’s weekend with an Awkward. marathon that covers the entire first season on Friday. There’s also a Sanctuary marathon on Syfy that leads into the conclusion of the season finale, while a new Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys  on Sundance sees Olivia bring up Brent’s alcohol use, while Jared follows Tenisha as she attends her family reunion in Memphis.

In addition to all the New Year’s Eve specials airing late night on Saturday, Syfy has the traditional Twilight Zone marathon that runs through New Year’s Day. Unfortunately, the marathon won’t include “Steel,” the episode that inspired the ridiculous Hugh Jackman movie Real Steel.

Finally, on New Year’s Day ABC is running several Once Upon a Time episodes, skipping only the one with the sinkhole and Jiminy Cricket’s origin. That’s too bad since he’s one of my favorites. Meanwhile, ABC Family will run through the first season of The Lying Game. There’s also one bit of new programming as HBO debuts a new comedy from Summer Heights High creator Chris Lilley, Angry Boys.

That should keep your DVR running until the TV season gets going again on January 2, in the meantime I hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday season!

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