Tube Talk: Are you ready for the spring season?
By Paula Hendrickson
Spring is finally here, in more ways than one. Outside, the snow has melted and daffodils and tulips are starting to sprout up. Indoors, the heat doesn’t come on nearly as often as it did just a couple weeks ago. And on TV, some series, like V, are wrapping up for the season (if not for good) while new shows debut.
March is typically a month of transition because it follows the February ratings sweeps when networks air new episodes of their hottest shows, and comes before they begin ramping up again for the May sweeps. Hit shows that aired all-new episodes in February often either air repeats or just disappear for a couple weeks to make way for new series or specials. A handful of network series have already aired their season—if not series—finales, so look for new programs to fill their old timeslots.
As much as I liked ABC’s Detroit 1-8-7 and hated to see it go, I’m looking forward to Body of Proof, the new Dana Delany series that will take over its old 9 p.m., Tuesday night spot. Body of Proof is already getting far more promotion than it’s predecessor, but I can only hope it isn’t pre-empted as frequently. (Why-oh-why did ABC have to pre-empt Detroit 1-8-7 for 20/20’s hour-long Charlie Sheen “special” the one week I was part of a Nielsen household? I was already too sick of Sheen’s antics to bother tuning in, but it really annoyed me that I couldn’t even support one of the struggling series I never normally missed. But I digress.)
It’s been too long since Delany has carried a series. Perhaps best known from her Emmy-winning turn as Colleen McMurphy on China Beach, which ended back in 1991, Delany has stayed busy doing guest roles, films, voice work and several TV movies and miniseries. She did a few series that quickly came and went—Pasadena, Presidio Med, Kidnapped. More recently, she did a couple seasons of Desperate Housewives and a prominent two-episode guest stint on Castle. She’s finally back in a series that seems like a tailored fit for her intellect and abilities.
On Body of Proof, Delany plays Dr. Megan Hunt, a famed neurosurgeon turned medical examiner. While medical examiners play a key role in all police procedurals currently on the air, and TNT’s Rizzoli & Isles has a medical examiner as a co-lead, it’s been a while since a scripted series has been centered on a medical examiner. Crossing Jordan was probably the last, and before that, Quincy, M.E., which ran back in the ’70s and early ’80s. If any actress is up to the challenge, it’s Delany.
We’re not quite ready for the onslaught of summer premieres, but a few other series have recently returned or will debut soon:
Dancing With the Stars, new season began March 21 on ABC.
American Pickers, new season began March 21 on History.
Shark Tank, sneak peak March 20 on ABC, official premiere March 25 on ABC.
Nurse Jackie and United States of Tara, March 28 on Showtime.
Paula Hendrickson is a regular contributor to Emmy magazine and Variety, and has been published in numerous national publications, including American Bungalow, Television Week and TVGuide. Send in your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
From the March 23-29, 2011, issue
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