"Idol" returns, putting on a fresh accent

"American Idol" returns tonight (Wednesday), freshening a form that already works. Here's the story I sent to papers:


This big little brother finally has his day

Geoff Stults may be big on TV -- starring in a new series that starts Friday -- but he's not that big a deal in his own family. After all, George Stults is also an actor and has big-brother status. Here's the story I sent to papers:


The "'Glee' Era" persists, amid churn and change and such

The season-finales are piling in now, with "Glee" as one of the first. That's Thursday; here's the story I sent to papers: 



In the expanse of TV history, “Glee”
is still a newcomer. On Thursday, it concludes its fourth season;
that's only halfway to matching “Midwestern Hayride.”

Mama knows best: The making of a scare master

If you missed the taut debut of Fox's "The Following" on Monday, don't fret. That episode reruns tonight (Friday, Jan. 25, 10 p.m.). The second episode runs twice next week ... then the first two get a cable rerun on Feb. 8.

The show is worth catching, despite moments of wretched, gory excess. Here's the story I sent to papers:


Some moms might take their kids to
Candyland, Disneyland and other comfy lands.

Here's "Idol" in brief

The previous blog offera an overview of the upcoming "American Idol" season. A sidebar is coming, but first here's a box with the basics:


The new edition of “American Idol”
is ready to consume our TV time. Here's a summary:

– When: 8-10 p.m. Wednesdays and 8-9
p.m. Thursdays, Fox.

– Except for: Thursday episodes run
two-hours on Jan. 17, Feb. 21 and Feb. 28. Also, there's a Tuesday
episode on March 5.

This Hollywood princess now has her own show

It's good to be second-generation Hollywood, better to be third-generation ... and best to have actual talent, while being in a well-made show.

Dakota Johnson qualifies on all counts. On Tuesday, she shares a comedy hour with her mother and grandmother; here's the story I sent to papers: 


The rewards to royalty can vary.
England's princesses might become queen; Hollywood's become Miss
Golden Globes.

"Idol" has Mariah, a small-town bus and questions

OK, I'm still not a fan of superstars as judges. Unless they're all Blake Shelton (which would be a good thing), they spend too much time censoring themselves and worrying about what people will think.

Still, I have to admit "American Idol" hit the jackpot with Mariah Carey. Here's the story I sent to papers:


Fox this fall -- more comedies, no "Cops" and (perhaps) some Britney

TV's comedy comeback will continue this
fall – even if viewers haven't really joined in.

Fox's new schedule stacks four
situation comedies on Tuesdays, moving its semi-comedy (“Glee”)
to a comfortable spot after “The X Factor” or “American Idol”
on Thursdays.

Good -- well, great -- news: "Fringe" will return


For science-fiction fans -- which is to say, for all reasonable human beings -- there's been good, bad and good news.

The good: "Fringe" will be back for a fifth season, after all. The current season -- three more Fridays -- could have been the last. But Fox announced tonight that the show will be back for a final, 13-episode season.

The bad: "Eureka" won't be back. This 14-episode season on Syfy is itslast.

"The Simpsons" turn 500

Twenty years ago, Matt Groening was walking around the Twentieth Century Fox lot with a grin and an air-freshener.

It was a Bart Simpson air-freshener. For Groening -- who had known the quiet existence of an offbeat cartoonist -- this was new.

Now "Simpsons" keeps thriving, with its 500th episode Sunday (Feb. 19). Here's the story I sent to papers; also, please read the preceding blog, which has updated the list of Whitney Houston coverage, including expanded funderal coverage.