SATURDAY, AUGUST 23
Dear Prudence (Hallmark Channel, 9 p.m. ET)
Premiere. Jane Seymour (Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman) stars in this lighthearted mystery about a Martha Stewart-like television personality named Prudence McCoy whose vacation is interrupted by a suspicious suicide that brings out the amateur detective in her. Everything about this agreeable movie suggests it should become a new franchise not only for Hallmark but for Seymour, still an enormously popular TV star. Jamey Sheridan and Ryan Cartwright co-star.
SUNDAY, AUGUST 24
Beijing Olympic Games Closing Ceremony (NBC, 7 p.m. ET)
Visionary filmmaker Zhang Yimou, whose artistry captivated the world two weeks ago with the Opening Ceremony of the Beijing Summer Olympics, will present another spectacle tonight as the XXIX Olympiad draws to a close. Before it’s over, Beijing will hand over the Olympic flag to London, host of the 2012 Summer Olympics. Bob Costas is the host.
In Conversation … The Michelle Obama Interview (TV One, 8 p.m. ET)
Premiere. TV One this week will present its first ever coverage of a major political event with nightly coverage Monday-Thursday of the Democratic convention in Denver (and a nightly follow-up show, TV One Live: The DNC After Party, which will take a lively look at the events of that day). To kick it all off, the network tonight will present an exclusive interview with Michelle Obama by network commentator Roland Martin.
Skins (BBC America, 10 p.m. ET)
One of the many great things about this instantly addictive teen soap is that it focuses on different characters every week and offers fresh insights into their personalities and interactions with the other people around them. Tonight it’s all about Jal (Larissa Wilson), one of the top young clarinet players in the country, and her complicated relationship with her father, a rap star who seems to take little notice of his talented daughter. There is also a surprising development that you won’t see coming in the storyline about Sid’s unfortunate entanglement with the sinister drug dealer known as Mad Twatter. Nicholas Hoult, Mike Bailey, April Pearson and Mitch Hewer star.
Mad Men (AMC, 10 p.m. ET)
Joan may have finally found Don the perfect secretary, and that’s a good thing, because Don is once again dealing with abrasive television comedian Jimmy and his lusty wife Bobbie. Jon Hamm and Christina Hendricks star.
S.I.S. (Spike, 10 p.m. ET)
Premiere. The latest Spike Guy Movie is this thriller about a cop who has fallen on hard times and is recruited to work with a covert branch of the Los Angeles Police Department known as the Special Investigative Section. The SIS tracks the most dangerous habitual offenders and seeks to apprehend them in the act of committing violent crimes. Matt Nable, Peter Stebbings, Omari Hardwick and Keith David star.
Z Rock (IFC, 11:30 p.m. ET)
Series Premiere. One of the highlights of the 2008 Summer Television Critics Association tour was a late-night party featuring the stars of this new semi-scripted comedy series about three musicians who lead a double life: By night they are a struggling kick-ass rock band known as ZO2, but by day they’re an increasingly successful novelty act that plays at children’s birthday parties (and they’re not above scoring with the kids’ moms during breaks). In tonight’s premiere, brothers Paulie and David oversleep after a long-night having sex with groupies and almost miss out on the opportunity to play at a party for the son of music industry mogul Harry Braunstein. And then horn-dog David further jeopardizes their shot at stardom by having sex with Braunstein’s wife during the festivities! Z Rock is very loosely inspired by the real-life adventures of its stars, Paulie Z, David Z and Joey Cassata, who actually have a New York-based band named ZO2. Lynne Koplitz co-stars as ZO2’s harried manager Dina, and Joan Rivers appears on a recurring basis as herself, with a fictional twist: She’s Dina’s aunt.
MONDAY, AUGUST 25
Democratic National Convention (CBS, NBC, ABC, PBS, CNN, FNC, MSNBC, BBC World News America, TV One)
A number of networks will carry live coverage of the Democratic National Convention this week, but there will be one in the mix that has never before covered a political convention of any kind: TV One. Joe Madison and Arthur Fennell will be co-hosts of nightly primetime convention floor coverage. Then Jacque Reid and husband and wife team Rev. Marcia and Michael Eric Dayson will step up with a live program titled TV One Live: The DNC After Party that will take a somewhat irreverent look at the events of the day from an African American cultural perspective. Rev. Al Sharpton, CSI: NY star Hill Harper and comedienne Sheryl Underwood will be among the featured guests on After Party.
America’s Toughest Jobs (NBC, 9 p.m. ET)
Series Premiere. Thom Beers (The Deadliest Catch, Ice Road Truckers) is the creator and an executive producer (along with former Fox Entertainment President Gail Berman and former ABC Entertainment Chairman Lloyd Braun) of this new competition series in which 13 men and women are challenged to take on some of the most dangerous jobs in the world, each of them seeking to avoid dreaded weekly elimination. In tonight’s premiere, the competitors find themselves crab fishing in the Bering Sea and Dutch Harbor, Alaska.
The Closer (TNT, 9 p.m. ET)
Kevin Bacon, husband of series star Kyra Sedgwick, directed this episode about the squad’s intense efforts to find the man who shot Sanchez’s brother. J.K. Simmons, Raymond Cruz and Jon Tenney co-star.
Saving Grace (TNT, 10 p.m. ET)
Summer Finale. As the series ends its summer run, Bobby (Gregory Cruz) remains undercover, much to the surprise of his family and colleagues; Ham continues to struggle with the loss of his brother in Afghanistan, and the squad is galvanized when a known white supremacist drops the body of a deceased young Mexican woman at the hospital. Holly Hunter, Kenneth Johnson, Laura San Giacomo and Bailey Chase star.
My Super Sweet 16 Presents: Exiled! (MTV, 10:30 p.m. ET)
Series Premiere. In what may prove to be the feel-good series of the year, a number of those egregiously spoiled brats featured in past episodes of My Super Sweet 16 are sent by their fed up parents to live with indigenous tribes in far-away countries. Imagine those little monsters being made to build huts out of cow dung in Kenya or herd reindeer in the frozen tundra of the Arctic Circle without any creature comforts at all? Good times!
TUESDAY, AUGUST 26
World’s Funniest Commercials 2008 (TBS, 9 p.m. ET)
Premiere. Kevin Nealon (Weeds) and his wife, Susan Yeagley, host another one of those specials that remind us how entertaining and DVR-proof commercials can be when the creative people responsible for them bring their A-game.
Greek (ABC Family, 9 p.m. ET)
Season Premiere. Spring break is over and everyone returns to campus for the final weeks of the school year as the second season of Greek gets underway. At the center of it all is Casey (Spencer Grammer), who has long been torn between Cappie (Scott Michael Foster) and Evan (Jake Dorman) but is now drawn to a new guy. She’s also facing fresh challenges as the newly appointed president of her sorority, Zeta Beta Zeta. Amber Stevens, Tiffany Dupont, Paul James and Jacob Zachar co-star.
The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency (Oxygen, 10 p.m. ET)
Season Premiere. Even though she was nasty to me at NBC Universal’s TCA party last month I am still recommending Janice Dickinson’s wacky reality series for lovers of trash TV. When I said I would like to talk with her for a moment, Dickinson snapped, “I don’t want to talk. My throat hurts!” and dashed away. Fortunately, one of her more successful models, Survivor alumnus JP Calderon, was only too happy to tell me about Season 4, in which his boss and her new models live together in a Hollywood Hills mansion. The models may be pretty, but the mansion is a tacky eyesore (that’s my description, not JP’s), especially Janice’s bedroom, which Madonna’s estranged brother Christopher Ciccone redecorates in tonight’s opener.
General Hospital: Night Shift (SOAPnet, 11 p.m. ET)
Patrick shows renewed compassion for his lover and baby-mama Robin, who is HIV positive, after he meets a couple who are quarantined from each other; Leo tries to keep Jagger away from Saira; Robert Scorpio suffers another setback in his battle with colon cancer, and Claire signs Kyle up on an Internet dating site. Kimberly McCullough, Jason Thompson, Sonya Eddy, Ethan Rains, Adam Grimes, Tristan Rogers and Antonio Sabato Jr. star.
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 27
The Launch of TheWB.com
After more than three months of beta testing, the eagerly anticipated TheWB.com launches today, reviving a much-loved brand that was unwisely dismantled by CBS and Warner Bros. two years ago. (Seriously, who doesn’t miss The WB?) It will offer a mix of classic series from The WB, including Smallville, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Gilmore Girls, Everwood, Roswell and The Wayans Bros., and others that were simply produced by Warner Bros. Television, including Friends, The O.C. and Veronica Mars. A number of new series produced especially for the site will roll out during the next few weeks, beginning with Sorority Fever (from executive producer McG) on September 8.
Project Runway (Bravo, 9 p.m. ET)
The remaining designers are faced with one of the most unusual challenges in the history of this series. Heidi Klum is the host.
Shear Genius (Bravo, 10 p.m. ET)
Season Finale. The three remaining stylists meet individually with Allure editor-in-chief Linda Wells, who reviews their portfolios and critiques their performances on the show. Then they plunge into their final challenge: Cutting, coloring and styling four different models ranging in age from 16 to 60. The winner will receive $100,000 in seed money to start his or her own salon, an apprenticeship with Nexxus Salon Hair Care and the opportunity to style hair for a feature in Allure magazine.
THURSDAY, AUGUST 28
Barack Obama’s Acceptance Speech at the Democratic National Convention (CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, PBS, TV One, BBC World News America, approximately 10 p.m. ET)
Live. Tonight’s the big night, one that millions of Americans have been waiting for all year. As the Democratic National Convention draws to a close, Sen. Barack Obama will accept the Democratic nomination and deliver what will undoubtedly be a legendary address at Invesco Field in Denver. Since today marks the 45th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1963 March on Washington, D.C., and his “I Have a Dream” speech, TV One will run special programming throughout the day (including two documentaries about Dr. King) leading up to its coverage of this historic convention.
FRIDAY, AUGUST 29
Gone Country (CMT, 8 p.m. ET)
Grizzly Man Diaries (Animal Planet, 9 p.m. ET)
Series Premiere. Two Episodes. Remember Timothy Treadwell, the bear enthusiast, environmentalist and documentary filmmaker who lived among grizzly bears in Alaska for 13 seasons until he and his girlfriend were killed by one in 2003? This eight-part series incorporates archived footage, along with entries from Treadwell’s private diaries and his own photographs, to tell the many stories he had one day hoped to share about his remarkable experiences.