The Week In TV: Louis C.K. vs. Mississippi

The weather's terrible, I'm living off DVR'd episodes of Community, and it's possible this is all just a dream. This was the week in TV Land:

• AT&T reached a deal with Rainbow Media last week to continue carrying the company's networks -- including AMC, IFC, and WE -- on the U-Verse service. I didn't mention anything about this earlier because, well, these kind of pissing matches seem to have a way of always working out at the eleventh hour. Carriage deals come up for renegotiation all the time, and though AT&T wants to make its money, it also doesn't want to be branded as the soulless corporate behemoth that keeps you from seeing Mad Men when it returns (this Sunday!). Hence, a deal.

• I don't listen to the radio that often, and certainly not sports radio; if I wanted to hear unhinged people bitch about one-sided trivia with a passion that borders on insanity, I'd watch cable news. But a buddy of mine tipped me off to a fun interview that aired the other day on 1560 The Game with Michael K. Williams, aka Omar Little from The Wire. He chats about this fall's Boardwalk Empire, which will air on HBO. Check it out.

• Speaking of HBO, the cable channel has picked up Luck, a drama about horseracing starring Dustin Hoffman and written by David Milch, with Michael Mann helming the pilot. There's a similarity between this project and Boardwalk Empire that's intentional: scripted by an HBO vet, pilot directed by a film legend, story set in moneyed worlds where crime is everywhere. The Sopranos ended in 2007, and The Wire ended a year later having never reached the pop cultural profile (at least during its initial run) of the mob show, so HBO is shopping for a new series to help restore some of the luster that's dimmed in recent years. I've got high hopes for both shows.

• FX's Louie is the best narrative work that Louis C.K. has ever done. It plays with form in quiet but wonderful ways, it's always unexpected, it's dark as hell, and it's consistently funny. However, not everybody likes the guy. Mississippi residents -- whose credibility should probably immediately be questioned because they voluntarily live in Mississippi -- pitched a fit about Louis C.K. talking about sex with Terry Gross on NPR's Fresh Air. As a result, Mississippi Public Broadcasting has dropped Gross' show, presumably with plans to replace it with programming about outhouse maintenance. For his part, Louis C.K. responded by asking state residents to lighten up and allow for the airing of views they might not like. Not sure how that went over.

• In legal news, a federal appeals court struck down the FCC's indecency policy that levied fines for people who uttered fleeting expletives on air, most notably Bono's live remarks at an awards show that his winning was "fucking brilliant." In other words, expect future awards shows to sound as fleetingly coarse as you'd always hoped they would. Golden Globes, it's your time to shine.

Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello is reporting that Amy Ryan will be returning to The Office next season in a "sizable role." It's my hope that she comes back, hooks up with Michael, and the two ride off into the sunset as the doors are shut forever on Dunder Mifflin and the documentary about the office actually, finally, gets made. That's my hope, anyway. Whether any of that will happen is up in the air.

Robot Chicken is prepping a new Star Wars spoof episode, its third. Co-creator Seth Green's love of the fictional universe is obvious, as is his joy in ripping on George Lucas' questionable prequels. The new special debuts Sunday, Dec. 12, but to tide you over, here's a classic:

• This weekend is Comic-Con, a sprawling convention in San Diego that started out for geeks and is now a launching pad for series and movies of all kinds. It's basically four days of press releases and spin, though occasionally some interesting news comes out of it. I'll try and find the winners for next week's column. For live updates from the con, check out The Live Feed.

• I leave you with this. There are no words:

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Daniel Carlson
Contact: Daniel Carlson