- The Washington Times - Monday, April 13, 2009

'Southland' soars

“Southland,” NBC's new drama about a rookie cop, led the pack among the network's Thursday night premieres, posting respectable numbers as it moved into “ER's” old 10 p.m. slot, Variety reports.

The Peacock network's other premiere of the night, the sitcom “Parks and Recreation,” received a so-so reception in its 8:30 p.m. bow despite a flood of promotion for the show and its star, Amy Poehler

“Southland” attracted 9.7 million viewers, according to preliminary data from Nielsen.

Seen at 8:30 p.m., “Parks and Recreation” - which was paired with a special 8 p.m. edition of “The Office” - attracted 6.8 million but wasn't able to capitalize on its “Office” lead-in.

ABC summer

ABC is planning to roll out at least seven first-run shows this summer while also giving fans of some canceled series the chance to watch the final episodes of those programs, TVWeek.com reports.

As previously noted, the network's summer slate will kick off with the return of “The Bachelorette” on May 18, from 9 to 11 p.m. The series, featuring Jillian Harris from the most recent “The Bachelor,” moves to the 8-to-10 p.m. block May 25, enabling ABC to slot the second season of “Here Comes the Newlyweds,” hosted by Pat Bullard, at 10 that night.

ABC will bring back the reality comedy “Wipeout” on May 27, airing the show at 8 p.m. It will serve as a lead-in to Mike Judge's animated comedy “The Goode Family,” which will air at 9 p.m. on Wednesday, followed by the remaining original episodes of “Surviving Suburbia” at 9:30.

Later in the season, ABC will use “Wipeout” as a lead-in to the second season of “I Survived a Japanese Game Show,” which will air Wednesdays at 9 beginning July 8.

As for new series, ABC's sports-themed “The Superstars” returns June 23 and will air at 8 p.m. The six-episode series pairs celebrities with athletes in a competition to determine the best athlete in the world. Then, on July 20, the network takes the wraps off “Dating in the Dark,” a new reality show.

ABC also is bringing back “Burnoff Theater,” scheduling the remaining episodes of some critically loved shows that didn't make the cut.

Meanwhile, several canceled shows will take their final bows. “Pushing Daisies” will air Saturdays at 10 from May 30 until June 13, with “Eli Stone” taking over that slot on June 20. “Dirty Sexy Money” will return for its death march on July 18, with its finale airing Aug. 8.

Doh! 'Simpsons' stamps

“The Simpsons” fans can get the first peek at upcoming stamps featuring Homer, Marge and company. The U.S. Postal Service unveiled the designs Thursday morning.

The stamps will be available nationwide on May 7.

The Postal Service is encouraging people to vote for their favorite “Simpsons” character on itsWeb site. On the site, fans also can pre-order the 44-cent first-class stamps and register for a sweepstakes for a limited-edition “Simpsons” poster signed by creator Matt Groening.

Hamm for lunch

Care to schedule a lunch meeting with Don Draper?

Golden Globe-winning “Mad Men” star Jon Hamm is making himself available for lunch in Los Angeles to the winning bidder on eBay, Associated Press reports.

The online auction benefits the Adrienne Shelly Foundation, which supports the artistic achievements of female filmmakers with scholarships and grants.

Other meals with celebrities up for auction include Mr. Hamm's “Mad Men” co-star John Slattery, Paul Rudd, Kevin Smith, Nathan Fillion, Patrick Duffy, David Schwimmer, Julianna Margulies and others. The auctions are scheduled to end Thursday .

CC orders roast for Joan

Joan Rivers will be the next comic to get the “Comedy Central Roast” treatment, Variety reports.

Fresh from a March roast special featuring Larry the Cable guy, which yielded 4.1 million viewers, the network is planning to comically assault the red-carpet queen during a July 26 taping. The special will air Aug. 9 at 10 p.m.

The caustic lineup of talent that will be roasting Miss Rivers, 75, has yet to be announced, Variety said Friday.

On tap tonight

Doing da Vinci (10, Discovery Channel) - The team attempts to construct one of DaVinci's most futuristic designs: the Armored Tank. This machine, envisioned by DaVinci in the 15th century, could rival modern-day inventions - but will it work?

*Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from staff, Web and wire reports

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