Sunday, May 14, 2006

THE TRIBE SPEAKS, AND JIMMY SMITS LEAVES THE ISLAND

Well, tonight is a big night of season-finale TV and this article in the Hartford Courant lets you know what's on and what to look for.

The first of the really big finales is The West Wing. Matt Santos is being sworn in, and Martin Sheen will be there on the final episode as well. Many of the big TV critics out there are acting as if this episode is supposed to be a really big deal, a big television event. So are the big politically-active people and all the liberals remaining in the show's audience.

But the truth is that this show expired for all intents and purposes a long time ago, when Aaron Sorkin left the show. NBC got a lot of heck for nixing a planned clip show, airing a repeat of the pilot episode instead. But really, there is a reason for this show leaving the air tonight: no one is watching and too few people still care. People are fed up watching politics on TV, they want these political people of every stripe to go away and leave TV alone. Besides, this West Wing finale isn't even the TV event of the night, let alone the season.

Tonight, CBS is airing Survivor: Panama- Exile Island, the grand finale for the season, taking down The West Wing starting at 8PM ET. So CBS has the Super Bowl of reality shows, up against a dying series whose best days were over a long time ago and whose cast can largely be summed up as "the replacements". Moving The West Wing to Sundays was the ultimate death blow to this series, the final humiliation. How is this show going to get any audience against Survivor!?

It will be very interesting, and probably very revealing, to see the overnight ratings on Monday. I think we could be in store for a big CBS landslide drubbing of NBC.

Speaking of shows sputtering to the finish line, you may want to tune in to FOX at 8:30 pm for the TV finale event of the season: the end of the once-half-decent but now out-of-gas classic Malcolm in the Middle. To which the masses respond with the famous last words: "what, it's still on?!" Yes, but not for much longer.

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