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OCT
25
2 YEARS

Stephen Colbert's Dagger, NBC Begins its Turnaround: This Week on TV

From Donald Trump through VH1, what THR's chief TV critic is thinking after absorbing seven days' worth of the small screen.

The Colbert Report Donald Trump Announcement - H 2012
Comedy Central

Everything We Know We Learned From Television:

* I wish Donald Trump was hugged more as a child.

* Dear Homeland. You’re freaking me out with this story pace. You don’t necessarily have to slow down, but at least give me some hope you’ve got a five season plan, minimum.

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* BREAKING: I have a first-look deal with Olivia Munn.

* Do you know what’s pretty special? Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood on PBS. So is its creator, the lovely and talented Angela Santomero, who also created Blue’s Clues – one of my all-time faves – and Super Why! She’s the queen of children’s media. And for the record, as a Giants fan, writing favorably about anything with the word “Tiger” in it is an act of devotion.

* I haven’t laughed out loud and as hard in a long time as I did watching Stephen Colbert counter Trump’s insipid $5 million “bombshell” by saying he’d donate $1 million to charity if he could dip his balls in Trump’s mouth. An out-of-nowhere dagger that was genius.

* It’s incredibly difficult to turn around a freighter in a pond, but don’t look now – NBC is doing it. You can carp all you’d like on how much time said turnaround will take, but the important thing here is that there are tangible signs that it has started. That should make Bob Greenblatt sleep better.

* On the other hand, there is such a thing as irrational exuberance, and giving Guys With Kids more script orders is the very definition. Hasn’t it been asinine enough from the beginning? Will five more scripts provide enough oomph from hammer to skull that this thing ain’t gonna live?

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* I am just upbeat and positive enough to believe that we are not actually a nation of ignorant jackasses and sound-bites-trump-science types, but that only proves I’m cynical enough to believe this: What if – what if! – everyone involved in the 24-hour cable news business was in on one massive conspiracy to feed the insatiable beast? And by that I mean, what if they all met in a room or a virtual room and handed out ideas. Like, “Coulter, you do the retard thing. Mourdock, go with the rape thing. Trump, dream up a bombshell that’s guaranteed to influence the news cycle. And Palin, why don’t you post your “shuck and jive” idea as it pertains to the president. You folks on the left – go insane with this. Don’t stop talking. Maybe toss us a bone by having one of your talking heads say he wants to bitch-slap Coulter and we counter with the abuse of women idea and how dare you, etc. Everybody ready? Ratings monitoring team – are you set? Let’s do this!”

* Because if that scenario is not true, how can any of us get some peace, much less sleep at night?

* When the World Series is over – and I know you’ve all got your cute little Panda hats on, praying for a Giants victory just to make me less cranky – like all red-blooded Americans I’ll be returning my attentions to the NFL. However, as noted previously, I’ve gone completely over to the dark side and have become insane about soccer. Like – batshit crazy over it. So I’ve of course heard complaints about people who lost GolTV (a central player in my soccer revolution, as noted here) and are having issues with beIN Sport. I have it on DirecTV so there’s no such issues with HD or availability and have been pleased with it. It certainly needs to increase the distribution so more people can see the matches and until that happens it’s an unfortunately ill-timed setback (like, say, the NHL going on strike).  But I’m loving it still and also quite pleased with the revamped Fox Soccer Report going nightly. That was a very necessary move and, while the show is still working out the kinks, is moving in the right direction. I’ll have more on both those elements at a later time.

Sticking in the sporting milieu, it’s nice to watch NFL games and then turn to the NFL Network for non-stop coverage. Same goes with MLB games and switching over to the MLB Network to soak in it. Hell, ESPN rested on its ever-expanding backside for too long, got too cute on SportsCenter and is becoming increasingly useless (the West Coast has known this forever). The future is one-sport-specific channels, people.

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* Couldn’t call it unexpected: Adam Carolla has joined Fox News.

* Do you know what we absolutely don’t need? A celebrity diving show. Thanks for lowering the bar on ideas, ABC. Oh, hey, look, now we’ve got two celebrity diving shows. Thanks for stealing more ideas, Fox!

* VH1 is counting down the “100 Greatest Kids Stars”? If you took that 100, trimmed the dead ones, cut out the ones from rehab, and eliminated anyone on doctor-mandated psychotropic drugs, what would the number be?

* Bring me the head of Donald Trump – whether it’s still talking or not.

* The High Fives: 1. Homeland. 2. The Walking Dead. 3. Haagen Dazs coffee ice cream. 4. Elementary getting picked up for a full season. 5. Parents who don’t turn their kids into child stars.

Email: Tim.Goodman@THR.com

Twitter: @BastardMachine