November Sweeps Is Here!
Take Lindsay Lohan, The O.C. and sheep brain pie, put them all together and what do you have? Well, a really wild party, yes. But more specifically you have the November sweeps.
The monthlong TV ratings battleground is a bit of a wild party itself, though the networks likely would rather think of their offerings as eclectic.
As such, we’ll get a prime-time cameo from Lohan (That ’70s Show); the season premiere of The O.C.; a Fear Factor feast of sheep-brain pie; a new reality show starring a fake, obnoxious rich guy (My Big Fat Obnoxious Boss); a new reality show starring a real obnoxious rich guy (The Rebel Billionaire); and the song stylings of Kelsey Grammer (A Christmas Carol).
The fun begins Thursday and runs through Dec. 1. Here’s a look at the highlights:
My Big Fat Obnoxious Boss (Sunday, Fox): Twelve would-be business moguls prostrate themselves at the altar of capitalism in this unofficial, but quite intentional goof on The Apprentice.
Life of Luxury (Monday, ABC): George Hamilton makes like Robin Leach and shows off the super-fancy homes of “Lord of the Dance” Michael Flatley and Playboy mogul Hugh Hefner.
$25 Million Dollar Hoax (Monday, NBC): In this spoof reality show, a woman tries to convince her family she’s lost all good sense after winning a lottery jackpot (which she didn’t) and/or agreeing to star in a spoof reality show (which she did).
The Rebel Billionaire: Branson’s Quest for the Best (Tuesday, Fox): Virgin Airlines mogul Richard Branson misses the joke of My Big Fat Obnoxious Boss entirely, and makes like an adventure-seeking Donald Trump in this new reality show.
House (Nov. 16, Fox): An unconventional doctor (Hugh Laurie) breaks all the rules in this most unconventional of shows–a scripted drama.
The O.C. (Thursday, Fox): The saga–and the punching–resumes with the Ryan (Benjamin McKenzie) still a no-see in the O.C.
King of the Hill (Sunday, Fox): Henry Winkler lends his voice to the ‘toon’s ninth-season opener.
Malcolm in the Middle (Sunday, Fox): Season six finds soldier Reese (Justin Berfield) in Afghanistan–and trying to get out.
The Simpsons (Sunday, Fox): Technically, the 15th season kicks off Nov. 14, but the show’s annual Halloween tribute, “Treehouse of Horror,” is the first fresh stuff from the jaundiced clan since the spring.
Arrested Development (Sunday, Fox): The sweeps-friendly Henry Winkler lends his face to the Emmy-winning comedy’s second-season opener.
The Amazing Race 6 (Nov. 16, CBS): The Emmy-winning reality show returns for its sixth round of globe-trotting.
VERY SPECIAL EPISODES
Extreme Makeover (Thursday, ABC): An entire family–mom, dad, three teen kids–gets sick of looking at themselves in the mirror. Their discontent is apparently unrelated to the recent general election.
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (Sunday, ABC): In a two-hankie, two-episode weepie, a teenager requests a renovated home for his deaf parents and his blind, autistic brother.
Crossing Jordan (Sunday, NBC): Josh Duhamel and Vanessa Marcil, appearing as their Las Vegas selves, get in trouble in Jill Hennessy’s Boston. A two-part, crossover episode to conclude on Monday’s Las Vegas.
Center of the Universe (Wednesday, CBS): In an O. Henry-esque tale, hefty John Goodman frets that he has “spread [his TV son] too thin.”
LAX (Wednesday, NBC): “Thanksgiving–the busiest travel day of the year!”
The West Wing (Wednesday, NBC): Jimmy Smits joins President Bartlet’s inner circle as a Texas Congressman.
ER (Nov. 11, NBC): The tale of guest-star Ray Liotta’s bad tummy unfolds in “real time”–if “real time” meant taking a break every few minutes for commercials.
CSI: Miami (Nov. 15, CBS): David Caruso gets into speed dating.
Medical Investigation (Nov. 19, NBC): “When a porn star falls into a coma…”
Fear Factor (Nov. 22, NBC): Send Martha Stewart to prison and this is what TV starts serving up for Thanksgiving: “Sheep-brain pie, bile [gelatin] with cave-spider topping, nightcrawler green beans, worm-and-beetle stuffing and maggoty mashed potatoes.”
Everwood (Nov. 22, WB): “Ephram (Gregory Smith) and Amy (Emily VanCamp) have sex for the first time.”
The Bachelor (Nov. 24, ABC): In the two-hour season finale, Byron pops the question and/or offers a not-quite commitment ring to his chosen one, en route to their inevitable breakup.
The Apprentice 2 (Nov. 25, NBC): Donald Trump and contestants flack for a new brand of Pepsi.
Judging Amy (Nov. 30, CBS): Judge Amy (Amy Brenneman) discovers a lump in her breast. In an apparently unrelated event, Angie Dickinson guest stars.
Will & Grace (Thursday, NBC): Sex and the City’s Kristin Davis finds new employment.
Star Trek: Enterprise (Friday and Nov. 12, UPN): Ex-Next Generation crewmember Brent Spiner guest stars as an evil genius intent on building an army of Barry Bondses, sorry, superhuman genetic creatures.
NYPD Blue (Tuesday, ABC): New West Winger Smits returns for a guest bit as Bobby Simone–a neat trick considering the character died six years ago.
That ’70s Show (Wednesday, Fox): Teen diva Lindsay Lohan takes a break from the club scene, sorry, the tabloid scene, sorry, the set of her new motion picture, Herbie: Fully Loaded, to grace the set of boyfriend Wilmer Valderrama’s little show.
Hope & Faith (Nov. 12, ABC): This struggling sophomore sitcom goes for comedy gold with guest stars Robert Wagner, Jenny McCarthy and original TV angel Jaclyn Smith. Charo and the kitchen sink apparently were unavailable at taping time.
American Dreams (Nov. 14, NBC): Reigning American Idol champ Fantasia Barrino channels Aretha Franklin.
Listen Up (Nov. 15, CBS): Wayne Knight stops by to see if he can help Jason Alexander lift the Seinfeld curse.
Law & Order (Nov. 17, NBC): Pumped-up ex-Saturday Night Live comic Joe Piscopo resurfaces “as a martial arts movie star.”
Two and a Half Men (Nov. 22, CBS): Denise Richards checks up on real-life husband Charlie Sheen. Their infant daughter, Sam, gets her first prime-time closeup.
Scrubs (Nov. 23, NBC): Matthew Perry finds a director who helps him break out of his Friends persona: Matthew Perry, making his TV directing debut in this episode about a would-be kidney donor, played by Matthew Perry.
Fear Factor (Monday, NBC): Host Joe Rogan scares the bejesus out of the poor people of New York City to celebrate the show’s 100th episode.
Girlfriends (Monday, UPN): Hurry up and start watching. You’ve already missed the first 99.
Everybody Loves Raymond (Nov. 15, CBS): In its last-ever November sweeps, this retirement-bound comedy turns 200 rancorous episodes old.
CSI (Nov. 18, CBS): 100 stiffs now served.
A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (Nov. 25, ABC): Peppermint Patty imposes on Charlie Brown.
Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Nov. 25, ABC): Jim Carrey takes out misplaced anger on Whoville in the 2000 live-action rendering of the animated classic.
It’s a Wonderful Life (Nov. 27, NBC): Jimmy Stewart learns he hasn’t lived his miserable, compromised life in vain.
A Christmas Carol (Nov. 28, NBC): Freed from Frasier, Kelsey Grammer bursts out in song as Scrooge in this new musicalized take on the Charles Dickens holiday tale.
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (Dec. 1, CBS): Rudolph and Hermey endure their 40th annual humiliation at the hooves and hands of intolerant reindeer and elves, respectively.
Nick & Jessica’s Family Christmas (Dec. 1, ABC): Nick Lachey reunites with 98 Degrees; Jessica Simpson welcomes infamous hoedown dancer Ashlee Simpson.
VERY SPECIAL NON-HOLIDAY SPECIALS
Dallas Reunion: The Return to Southfork (Sunday, CBS): Larry Hagman and former costars recall what fun it was to have jobs.
The Most Outrageous Game Show Moments 3 and 4 (Saturday, NBC): Host Bob Eubanks unearths clips of Scrabble gone wild.
Tim McGraw: Here and Now (Nov. 24, NBC): Concert footage featuring the country superstar.
The Seinfeld Story (Nov. 25, NBC): No-hugs Jerry Seinfeld gets all nostalgic about his classic sitcom in this hourlong retrospective.
38th annual Country Music Association Awards (Tuesday, CBS): Songs about trucks, Mama and beer honored; Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn, of Brooks & Dunn, preside.
32nd annual American Music Awards (Nov. 14, ABC): Jimmy Kimmel hosts, Snoop Dogg performs, Los Angeles’ Shrine Auditorium locks down.
2nd annual Vibe Awards on UPN (Nov. 16, UPN): Usher leads the way with five noms and six-pack abs.
Category 6: Day of Destruction (Nov. 14, CBS): A supersize storm hits Chicago, threatening to blow star Nancy McKeon all the way back to the Lifetime channel.
Samantha: An American Girl Holiday (Nov. 23, WB): A plucky orphan makes friends in turn-of-the-20th-century New York City. Inspired by the American Girl doll collection. Really.
November Sweeps Is Here!