TV on Tap: Jason Ritter Joins “Gavin & Stacey” Remake, “Hannibal” Gets Premiere Date and Stephen Guarino Lands Pilot Role

It’s time for a new season of Degrassi and Cam’s still depressed.
I just hope he doesn’t start chugging milk again.


Jason Ritter has joined Friends & Family, the Fox comedy pilot based on Gavin & Stacey, taking the Gavin role. That’s got to be a promising first step, right?

Maggie Smith tells 60 Minutes this weekend that she’s never watched Downton Abbey, saying she’d “agonize” over her performance if she did. That’s right, even Maggie Smith has those moments of insecurity.

Apparently they didn’t mean it. E! has cancelled Whitney Cummings’ talk show, Love You, Mean It.

NBC’s adaption of About a Boy has cast its lead female, asking Minnie Driver to step into the role played by Toni Collette in the film.

CBS’ summer adaptation of Stephen King’s Under the Dome just added Breaking Bad alum Dean Norris to the cast.

Wait. Wait. What’s this about CCH Pounder getting a pilot role as Deadline reports? And Deadline saying that Pounder “recently had a role on Warehouse 13“? Past tense? Oh, Mrs. Frederic, no!

Meanwhile, in my moment of worry, I almost missed that Happy Endings and The Big Gay Sketch Show alum Stephen Guarino has been promoted to regular cast member in the NBC comedy pilot The Gates. He’ll play a gay dad who is heavily involved in the PTA. Guarino joins a cast that includes Ken Marino and Greg Germann.

I’m not so sure that I’d agree that Sheldon and Amy are a great couple (both characters are the show’s most delicate balancing act) but as Variety. discusses, The Big Bang Theory is remarkable for the way it’s handled relationships. Getting its couples together hasn’t killed the show and, even better, the show hasn’t gone through the cycle of breakup and reconciliation that made me hate Friends sometimes.

So.The good news: Hannibal finally has a premiere date and there are six weeks to promote it. The bad news: It’s airing in a time slot that hasn’t seen a show succeed since E.R. ended.

Survivor just had its lowest-rated season premiere. Can CBS’ habit of changing the title every season be to blame? (After all, in a DVR age, a new title means you lose all those season passes. That was why Cougar Town decided against a name change.) Personally, I’m just so very bored with CBS’ idea of which past competitors I’d like to see return.

Thanks for reminding us about that sanctity of marriage, Good Morning America.

In talking with Hitfix’s Alan Sepinwall Scandal creator Shonda Rhimes sees a double-standard in how people look at Scandal’s anti-hero, Olivia Pope, “I don’t think anybody would say, ’That Breaking Bad, I don’t want to watch that show with those bad people,’ or ’I don’t want to watch that Tony Soprano.’ But I’m just writing people I would want to watch.”

Friday’s Listings

Anderson Live (syndicated) Check local listings
Anderson is joined by Brandi Glanville otherwise known as part of the reason why I didn’t make it through the second season of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Then Anderson has to try to make a movie based on a Nicholas Sparks movie sound interesting, with Safe Haven’s Josh Duhamel and Julianne Hough.

Days of Our Lives (NBC) Check local listings
Will has some disappointment awaiting him today when he meets with Sonny at the coffee shop. I’m sure his disappointment will be far worse than what I feel when my DVR forgets to record Days on a WilSon day, so I’ll try to remember this episode the next time this happens. Like it happened yesterday.

Underground Railroad: The William Still Story  (PBS) Check local listings
PBS has some of the best historical programming and that means there’s usually something really informative for Black History Month. Last year, we got the blunt yet enlightening Slavery by Another name and this year PBS brings a profile of the 19th century abolitionist William Still. A lot of that ugly part of our history has been sanitized to make it more bearable as a part of our collective past, that illusion is worth shattering.

Malibu Country (ABC) 8:30 PM ET
Reba has a big weekend trip planned but then there’s a scandal in Malibu that forces them to cancel their plans. I’d normally expect a scandal in this TGIF sitcom to be feather-light, but the episode’s title is “Babies Having Babies”. Clearly, someone in town is selling counterfeit American Girl dolls.

Degrassi (Teen Nick) 9:00 PM ET
Now that Degrassi has reclaimed its place as TV’s most ridiculously addictive high school drama, the beginning of a new season is reason to celebrate. On the other hand, poor, anxious Cam isn’t that eager to return to Degrassi as he continues to doubt everything in his life. Won’t someone give him the hug he so clearly needs?

Merlin (Syfy) 10:00 PM ET
Did we just spend an hour trying to come up with an explanation for how Gwen would become a traitor? At least, for a follow-up we have Morgana working to keep her mole a secret.

Portlandia (IFC) 10:00 PM ET
So far, Chloe Sevigny has mostly had a few well-used cameos since her character Alexandra moved to Portland. But what happens when having an extra roommate starts to burden Carrie and Fred’s relationship? Does this mean that Seattle’s getting a resident back?


HBO convinced Beyonce to let them follow her with cameras for the documentary Beyonce: Life is But a Dream.

Saturday’s Listings

Oprah’s Next Chapter (OWN) 8:00 PM ET
Clearly the horrific scandal of lip synching on inauguration day has sent Beyonce to Oprah for damage control. Or maybe that’s not really a big deal and she wants to talk about motherhood, keeping the rest of Destiny’s Child in pneumatic tubes and life with Jay Z.

Pastor Brown (Lifetime) 8:00 PM ET
Where does Salli Richardson-Whitfield go after being in charge of a bunch of mad scientists? Apparently, the next step is playing an exotic dancer who tries to take over of her dying father’s church. Sure, everybody starts out wary about accepting a stripper as their new pastor, but this is a Lifetime movie. I’m sure a few sternly-delivered readings of The Prodigal Daughter will change their minds.

Beyonce: Life is But a Dream (HBO) 9:00 PM ET
Following her Super Bowl performance, HBO is giving Beyonce fans this documentary that mixes concert footage and the rare peek into her personal life. It’s a good time to be a Beyonce fan, unless you think those pictures were really that unflattering.

Supah Ninjahs (Nick) 9:00 PM ET
Love will always tear apart a super hero team, so it can’t be a good thing when Amanda falls for a robber named Flint. With luck, Hologramps will fix everything with some wise and snarky advice.

Cyndi Lauper: Still So Unusual (WE) 9:00 PM ET
For the season finale, Cyndi gets ready to release her memoir, but can her family handle everything she discloses in the book? Considering all the fighting that’s happened between Cyndi and her family, I hope they explain how she managed to finish a book.

The Graham Norton Show (BBC America) 10:20 PM ET
You’ve already seen all the blogs asking if Mark Wahlberg was drunk on The Graham Norton Show. That episode is scheduled to air this weekend. Also appearing are Michael Fassbender, Laura Mvula and Sarah Silverman. Too bad the show was taped before Silverman’s sister and niece’s women’s rights in Israel protest. It would have been nice to get Sarah’s take on that.

Saturday Night Live (NBC) 11:30 PM ET
Django Unchained’s Christoph Waltz makes his SNL hosting debut with musical guest Alabama Shakes.

Sunday’s Listings

CBS Sunday Morning (CBS) 9:00 AM ET
It’s not often that I hear about the content about a news show early enough to include it in the listings, but this weekend’s show has a segment where Mo Rocca looks at the history of Ulysses S. Grant and talks with AE member Ulysses Dietz! The eight-minute segment will air somewhere between 9 and 10:30am.

Super Soul Sunday (OWN) 11:00 AM ET
Oprah’s interview with Nate Berkus continues. (Check out our interview with Nate from last week.)

Masterpiece Classic (PBS) Check local listings
It’s time for another late Christmas at Downton. With Bates free and the servants’ new positions sorted out. things have gotten better for Thomas  It must be a happy holiday for everyone who doesn’t have shocking secrets involving bars of soap, right? Right?

Once Upon a Time (ABC) 8:00 PM ET
Rumplestilskin’s journey of raging at the powerlessness of being an average American continues. He’s also the focus of this week’s flashback.

The Amazing Race (CBS) 8:00 PM ET
It’s time for Phil to wave the green flag for another race. This time there’s more strategy and drama thanks to the addition of a second express pass that the first winning team has to give away. Then again, if you were to ask me what The Amazing Race needed, I’d say more compelling challenges and competitors smart enough to face a tough puzzle, not drama and strategy.

Chopped (Food Network) 8:00 PM ET
The Food Network powerhouse that is Chopped can’t leave the schedule, not when there’s a season premiere to promote. This time, we’ve got four defeated chefs returning for a second chance competition that includes fava beans, cactus and a dessert with a popular brand of cookie and a “tangy fruit”. Okay, they’ve got my curiousity piqued with that “tangy fruit”.

The Simpsons (Fox) 8:00 PM ET
Usually, I end up passing on The Simpsons so that I can record its time slot competitors like The Amazing Race or Once Upon a Time.  But this week is sorely tempting. The episode has Millhouse getting mixed up for his father but and a special airing of the theatrical short, “The Longest Daycare”.

The Good Wife (CBS) 9:00 PM ET
What kind of mistake can take Alicia from feeling like she’s secure in her place at Lockhart-Gardner to sealing herself in an empty elevator waving her fists in the air furiously? I’m guessing no one told her not to ask Will about that picture of him with his college roommates who resemble Stephen Baldwin and Lara Flynn Boyle.

Shameless (Showtime) 9:00PM ET
It’s one of those weeks when the Gallaghers have criminal activities in mind (okay more criminal activities than usual). Sewer work means that it’s necessary to move Aunt Ginger’s bones before city workers find them. There’s also the matter of Ned who wants Ian to rob his home.

Girls (HBO) 9:00 PM ET
Hannah gets herself a book deal — or, rather, an e-book deal since that’s what the kids are reading these days, but there’s a pretty tight deadline, can she hit it? The first step would probably be to stay away from Google and seeing what people are saying about her.

The Walking Dead (AMC) 9:00 PM ET
Did I recently say The Walking Dead stopped being frustrating? Because last week was frustrating. One more nervous breakdown and Rick is to crazy what Carol was to crying. On the other hand, Carol’s been getting some great writing and Andrea could be interesting as the last sensible person in Woodsbury. On the other hand, The Governor wipes away those post-attack blues and wants revenge, so maybe he will be the force that gets the prison survivors to work together.

Revenge (ABC) 9:00 PM ET
So they’re going to make us wait one more episode to see the sinking of the Amanda? I’m not exactly eager to get to that particular plot point, I just want to get it over with unless, somehow, this is the story that inspires the delighted cackling of schadenfreude that’s been missing this season. At least this week brings Burn Gorman to the Hamptons.

The Shahs of Sunset (Bravo) 9:00 PM ET
Oh, no. It’s time for a reunion special. Even the least trainwreck-y Bravo shows become horrifying when its time for the reunion.

The Worst Cooks in America (Food Network) 9:00 PM ET
I don’t usually make it all the way through a season of this reality series (unless there’s a gay competitor) but the debut episode can usually deliver a few chuckles as the hopefuls auditions with some truly horrifying/hilarious ideas of signature dishes. Oh, hey I made you dinner by mixing two different soup flavors together. I hope you like New England Beef Barley Clam Chowder.

American Dad (Fox) 9:30 PM ET
Since it’s sweeps, it’s a good time to throw in some random nudity! It starts with Roger convincing Jeff he’s just a figment of Jeff’s imagination so he can walk around the house without clothes but there’s also Stan starting to worry about the shape of his bum. Woo-hoo broadcast TV nudity! Oh, animated broadcast TV nudity. And non-humanoid cartoon nudity. Oh well.

Enlightened (HBO) 9:30 PM ET
Things are feeling good for Amy, she’s just found some key information against Abaddon and now she’s feeling confident enough to start imagining a future with Jeff. For the gods of drama, that’s the perfect cue for Levi to make a return. Since Amy doesn’t seem to be worried about sabotaging Tyler’s relationship, that disruption seems deserved.

Talking Dead (AMC) 10:00 PM ET
It’s a supernatural drama crossover as Joe Manganiello joins the discussion along with the rare appearance by Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman. Wait, did I say rare? I meant the opposite.

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

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