The Week In TV

I set my clock back an hour every night. My boss doesn't like it. This was the week in TV Land:

• It's been a hell of a week for Keith Olbermann. On Tuesday, when things looked a lot better for the MSNBC host, he took a cue from Jon Stewart's criticism and decided to suspend his "Worst Persons in the World" segment, finally realizing that it was contributing to the hateful echo chamber of 24-hour cable news. By Friday, however, the point was moot: it was revealed that Olbermann had donated money to three Democratic congressional candidates, a violation of MSNBC policy that resulted in his indefinite suspension. Of course, by Sunday night, the network had announced it would bring him back.

Some have defended Olbermann's actions since he's a commentator, not a journalist, and even Bill Kristol thinks that MSNBC should let their partisan hosts be open about partisan donations. I'd be fine with that if Olbermann's personality weren't so abrasive. He rants about the fear-mongering propagated by Fox News (as well as donations made by News Corp. to GOP groups, though his screeds will now have considerably less traction in this area), but he does it with such a smug sense of holy martyrdom that it's impossible to take him seriously. He's just as bad as the creatures at Fox News, just in his own special way. Here's hoping he comes back with his head on straight, or at least with enough sense to engage the issues of the day with a calm and probing manner instead of just deciding who the worst person in the world is that day.

• Conan O'Brien's new talk show premieres tonight on TBS, and ahead of the debut, he's given an interview in Playboy about his role in the latest chapter of the late-night wars. There are plenty of money quotes scattered throughout (link SFW), but the best has to be his opinion about inviting Jay Leno on Conan: "No, there are certain things I will not do, regardless of the price."

• Thanks to an October that included pre-election coverage, a Rally to Restore Sanity, and a visit from President Obama, The Daily Show With Jon Stewart topped all late-night talk shows in the 18-49 demo. That's a solid turnout for a cable show that airs four nights a week. Stewart's media criticism remains some of the sharpest available anywhere, and it's always great to see him refuse to let networks and hosts off the hook for spreading fear instead of news. His fencing with Chris Wallace was a great interview:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Exclusive - Chris Wallace Extended Interview
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Rally to Restore Sanity

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• Good news for Community fans: NBC has ordered two extra episodes for this season, bringing the total for the season to 24. The series regularly loses in the ratings to CBS' far less interesting The Big Bang Theory; last Thursday, Big Bang drew 13.9 million viewers and a 3.4 rating compared with Community's 4.6 million viewers and 1.9. Still, it's a nice sign of the network's faith in the show that they're willing to extend the season order, and it also bodes well for next year. Now if only we could get Parks and Recreation back soon.

• At this point, Glee has gone from being a potentially inspiring musical to a stunt-filled musical revue that's got all the soul of a Kidz Bop compilation. The latest gimmick: Gwyneth Paltrow, as part of a promotional blitz for her film Country Strong, will soon appear on Glee to perform a sanitized version of Cee-Lo's "FuckForget You." I have no idea who she'll be playing but can't imagine it will be a character worth remembering. Glee's been spinning its wheels all season, and this won't help.

• Finally, I leave you with Don Draper, the master of the one-word query:


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