The Week in TV: Louie Stays Alive, Charlie Sheen Still Dead
Louis C.K. lives to hate another day. This was the week in TV Land:
• Pickup news out of FX: The cable network has renewed Wilfred and Louie for a respective second and third season, with both comedies looking to return in summer 2012. They've also picked up It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, arguably their biggest brand, for another two seasons, which would bring its total run to nine years. Basically, great news all around as FX continues to provide edgy, smart comedy and bolster its identity as a kind of middle ground between the mostly empty-headed stuff on the basic networks and the commercial-free, nudity- and expletive-laden comedies you can get on HBO or Showtime. It's Always Sunny is gleefully evil and impossible not to like in its own twisted way, while Wilfred's proven to be a smart remake. Louie, meanwhile, remains some of the best stuff Louis C.K.'s ever done or might ever do, a fantastic blend of vignettes and hyper-personal comedy rooted in his own existential dilemmas of fatherhood. Remind me again why people watch Rules of Engagement?
• Desperate Housewives is coming to an end after next season, proving to many viewers that Desperate Housewives is, in fact, still on. The show's not nearly the ratings or pop culture behemoth it was in the heady days of 2004, when ABC premiered it and Lost and suddenly dominated network drama. Housewives averaged more than 20 million viewers an episode its first two seasons, finishing in the top 5 shows of the year, but it's since slid to about 11 million viewers, good enough to put it just outside the top quarter. Still, the smaller crowd has remained loyal, and ABC and creator Marc Cherry are determined to give those viewers a "back to basics" feel for the upcoming season, whatever that might mean. Extra desperation, I think.
• Seth MacFarlane producing a new version of Carl Sagan's Cosmos? That's as crazy as the time I went to [exotic locale] with [celebrity/fictional character] and everyone [intense reaction]! Okay, cheap but accurate jabs at Family Guy aside, MacFarlane is taking his latest Fox project seriously. The 13-part documentary series will serve as a follow-up/companion piece to Sagan's legendary 1980 PBS special. It's going to be co-produced by Sagan's widow and hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson, a.k.a. the friendliest science guy since Bill Nye, who appears regularly on The Colbert Report and The Daily Show With Jon Stewart. On one hand, good for Fox giving the green light to a show that doesn't involve singing. On the other, it's now just a matter of time before Fox changes its name to MacFarlane TV. The man cannot be stopped.
• Charlie Sheen may have left Two and a Half Men to pursue his lifelong dream of breeding dragons and racing them to the moon (or whatever he's doing with his days), but he was just one head of the hydra that is CBS's champion sitcom. The show, despite the wishes and prayers of an exhausted nation, is marching on with Ashton Kutcher filling Sheen's spot, and it was announced last week that Kutcher will play an "Internet billionaire with a broken heart" who moves in with Jon Cryer and the kid and everyone learns lessons about themselves et cetera et cetera. The season premiere will see Sheen's character killed off and a funeral held for him, though I doubt it'll be as funny (or oddly moving) as the send-off for Li'l Sebastian. So there we have it: Sheen went indescribably crazy, but he still couldn't derail a show that's both one of the worst and one of the most popular on TV.
• Bad news, Eureka fans:
SciFi SighFie SyFy is ending the series, which just got a small pickup for six more episodes that will serve as an abbreviated sixth season. The fourth season is currently airing and the fifth is in production, so there's still a little time left to enjoy the show. But in another year or so, it'll be gone.
• Ron Funches -- real name -- killed it the other night on Conan:
• Jon Stewart's been on a roll lately, and this clip is proof:
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