This Week In TV: The Return of 24 and American Idol, Fox's Advertising Revenue

It's the middle of winter, we're about to get new shows, and this is the year I make contact. This was the week in TV Land.

• So, New Year's happened. This was my first year not to ring it in with a regular party of friends who get dangerously drunk and watch the ball drop on Telemundo. But my first NYE in Houston was a good one. Here's hoping everybody got home safe and sound, eventually. Did anybody watch Ryan Seacrest host Dick Clark's show? How is Clark still alive, anyway?

• The two-hour block of Parks and Recreation repeats was easily the best thing I watched all week. I cannot say enough about this show, which started out good but has totally hit its stride in its second season. The entire ensemble absolutely owns, but my favorite has to be Nick Offerman as the proudly indifferent boss. (One of his best lines: "I was born ready. I'm Ron fucking Swanson.") But since there wasn't much to actually see last week, let's take a look at what's coming up.

• Oh man, this week is the Fiesta Bowl and the Orange Bowl! If you're like me, you're pretty sure those are football games but aren't really interested in the outcome. Here's a tip: If you're at a viewing party, just repeat someone else's comment as a question to appear as if you're participating in the crosstalk. ("They're gonna go for it?" Or something like that. I don't know.) And like that, you're one of the dudes! Warning: May not work.

• So, 24 returns on January 17. I won't be blogging about the show -- that is, I might give it a mention, but I won't have any posts devoted to it exclusively -- and honestly, I don't care if you watch it. Even for a gung-ho procedural, it's pretty bad. Happy viewing, old people!

• I will, though, be blogging about American Idol, because they're paying me to. I've never watched a full season, and the only ep I've seen in its entirety was because I had just started dating a girl who watched it, and she'd told me to call her after, so I watched and waited and when it was over I called her, and it turned out she hadn't watched and had been out doing something and now it was too late to hang out and oh yeah the whole time I still couldn't shake the feeling that going out with a girl who'd gotten drunk the semester before and made out with my (engaged!) roommate was a bad idea. And it was. So I guess what I'm saying is that my history with the show is a spotty one, though I'll do my best for you, dear readers. The reality juggernaut returns to Fox on January 12.

• Actually, scratch my earlier statement. I did see something else worthwhile last week: the New Year's marathon of The Twilight Zone on SighFie. I recorded half a dozen essential episodes, including "It's a Good Life," where Billy Mumy wishes people to the cornfield. I'm happy.

• For those of you who still watch Heroes, new eps return tonight (Monday). I gave up on the show toward the end of the first season. It played like a show aimed at comic book readers written by people who didn't read or particularly like comics. I turned it off and went back to reading Y: The Last Man. If anybody still watches, give me a shout to say why.

• Here's a bright spot: Friday marks the premiere on Comedy Central of John Oliver's New York Stand-Up Show, hosted by the Daily Show correspondent. The line-up is a solid one: Maria Bamford, Eugene Mirman, Nick Kroll, and Greg Fitzsimmons. Set the DVR.

• Also, much to the rejoicing of a small but loyal following (that doesn't actually include me), NBC's Chuck returns Sunday, the 10th, with a two-hour premiere and a batch of new episodes. I never got into the show the way some did, but it's still a cute little hour, and there are probably worse ways to spend a Sunday.

• Finally, for those of you who haven't heard, Comedy Central has opted not to renew The Jeff Dunham Show for a second season. It's probably because, though the show set a record for series debuts at the network, the ratings dropped significantly with each episode. I'd like to think, though, that it's because Dunham is so terrible and unfunny and that someone higher up at the net finally had a moment of clarity and pulled the plug on the dumbest, most divisive bit of stereotype-mongering since the excremental horror that was Mind of Mencia. Whatever the reason, it's cause for celebration. Maybe the new year will be even better than we'd hoped.

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Daniel Carlson
Contact: Daniel Carlson