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'Almost Human' is over, reports say

Karl Urban, left, as John Kennex and Michael

(Credit: AP / Fox / Liane Hentscher)

"Almost Human," Fox's promising freshman with Karl Urban and Michael Ealy, has been canceled, according to reports -- most prominently one in Deadline last night Let's go ahead and label this news "too bad, but not unexpected."

This series arrived via a pair of talented showrunners with varied and interesting pedigrees (Brad Anderson, J.H. Wyman) and featured very good leads with chemistry. (And let's not forget Minka Kelly.) I was lukewarm on the launch, but there was enough here to indicate a real future.

In fact, as Deadline points out, the numbers were not bad -- or at least not dismal -- but a handful of other big shows are in the pipeline, and because "Human" is not an in-house production (but rather from Warner Bros.), that appeared to tilt the balance toward ending. This is, by the way, the time of year when the pace of cancellation/renewal news starts to pick up, just two weeks shy of the major commercial network "upfronts." 

Robinson Cano on 'Tonight Show'

Seattle Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano looks on

(Credit: Getty Images / Mike Ehrmann)

Sure, sure, Yankee fans love Robinson Cano., They also hate Robinson Cano. This is apparently the same sort of ambivalence that Red Sox fans have about Jacoby Ellsbury. Except, the Cano emotional conflict is even deeper, more....conflict-y.. To that end, "Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon" last night attempted to calm the ragged feelings of abandoned fans...

 

 

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Craig Ferguson to leave CBS' 'Late Late Show' by year's end

Craig Ferguson, host of "The Late Late Show."

(Credit: Getty Images)

Craig Ferguson -- a potential if hardly locked-in-stone successor to David Letterman on "Late Show" until two weeks ago -- announced he'll leave "Late Late Show" at the end of this year, or just shy of his 10-year anniversary at the network.

Ferguson announced his departure during taping, saying, “CBS and I are not getting divorced, we are ‘consciously uncoupling,’ but we will still spend holidays together and share custody of the fake horse and robot skeleton [show consorts], both of whom we love very much.”

The departure was expected: Ferguson in recent months had seemed to explore other options (a syndicated game show) while CBS never seemed to offer much support for his show, promotional or otherwise, until Monday, when CBS Entertainment chief Nina Tassler said in a statement, "During his 10 years as host, Craig has elevated CBS to new creative and competitive heights at 12:30. He infused the broadcast with tremendous energy, unique comedy, insightful interviews and some of the most heartfelt monologues seen on television.”

Letterman will be replaced by Stephen Colbert sometime in 2015.

A shame? Absolutely: Ferguson is one of the funniest, smartest guys on late night TV with one of the best -- counter-intuitively so -- sidekicks in Geoff anywhere. His monologues are gems of brittle sarcastic bile (if bile can be brittle), and his interviews are smart, informative, and .... odd. Ferguson's "Late Late Show" has been (quite simply) a winner. 

But CBS never even seemed to pay much attention to him -- possibly informing his what-the-hell-I-can-say-anything-I-want attitude -- nor did Letterman. "Late Late Show" was barely promoted, earning (I believe) the scantest of kickers at the end of most "late shows" reminding viewers to stick around. (Most viewers of course had by then gone to bed.)

"Late Late Show" and its host are special. However, as I think I've noted elsewhere on this blog in recent weeks, Ferguson couldn't beat Fallon's "Late Night," and given that grievous shortcoming, the die was cast. If he couldn't beat him at 12:35, he wasn't going to beat him at 11:35 either.

 

'Mad Men' recap: A field trip, a farmer's daughter, a prodigal son

Don Draper, still in a dark place, on

(Credit: AMC / Michael Yarish)

OK, so how to make Roger Sterling lovable (or at least respected) again? I guess we learned "how" in Sunday night's "Field Trip," the third episode of the seventh season before which Roger had morphed into a hapless hippy wannabe with uncertain judgment, terrible fathering skills, and irredeemably irreversibly awful talents for friendship and loyalty. (Roger just being Roger.)

Except: Maybe...

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'Game of Thrones' recap: Night's King makes his entrance

Charles Dance in season 4 of "Game of

(Credit: HBO / Macall B. Polay)

Of the pleasures denied, or at least postponed, in "Game of Thrones" is a deeper exploration of the Others, or White Walkers, those mythological half-dead, half-alive creatures of the land of perpetual winter who emerge ever so briefly from the windblown snow, like white shadows, then disappear again before anyone can think much about them or focus on them.

They inhabit the magical edges of...

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Jane Pauley's first piece for CBS: A clip

Jane Pauley at the "Today" show 60th anniversary

(Credit: AP / Evan Agostini)

Jane Pauley, a CBS News newcomer, has her first piece on the network this Sunday, on "Sunday Morning." And of course, we have a first look. This one is with best-selling author and radio host extraordinaire, Mitch Albom.

 

Uniondale teacher selected as finalist on 'Live With Kelly and Michael' Top Teacher Week

Lynnette Carr-Hicks: Will she be the "Live With

(Credit: ABC)

As fans of "Live With Kelly and Michael" are aware, the show announced its finalists for the worthy contest, "Top Teacher Week." But let's just cut to the chase: A teacher from Uniondale, and also from Great Neck, made the cut, and are among the top twelve to be selected. (And to vote for either, go here: livekellyandmichael.com).  They are...

Lynnette Carr-Hicks, choir master, Uniondale...

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'Parks and Recreation': Michelle Obama, Jon Hamm, more cameos on smart season finale

Michelle Obama appears as herself on the season

(Credit: NBC)

Surprise, surprise: Jon Hamm is now a series regular on "Parks and Recreation." Except that he's not -- a series regular that is -- but who knows, really. Hired, so to speak, then fired, so to speak, in the closing seconds of last night's smart, funny, cleverly baited "Parks and Recreation" sixth season finale, at least this classic established the possibility that he will return, at least for some "prequel"  episodes that establish how he got to this point (hired/fired) in the first place.

(Quick spoiler: "P&R" ended three years in the future, with Leslie's triplets already born and walking.)

Hamm, an excellent comic actor, did standout work on "30 Rock," so there's no real reason why he should not find a second or third act to an already charmed career here, especially as "P&R" sails through a seventh and what could very well be a final season.


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It was indeed a smart move -- and finale -- by a show that tends to get very little audience attention these days -- plenty of fan action, and critics remain devotees, but as the sixth ends, not all that much widespread attention. Last night was stuffed with cameos (Michelle Obama), biggish name bands and acts, like the Decemberists, Land Ho, Mouse Rat, Ginuwine, even Night Ranger (remember them!), "P&R" is probably getting an enormous amount of viral action this morning if only because it was one of those season wraps that demand day-after attention.

Consider the questions that were left dangling in the Pawnee breeze:

- Will Leslie in the Future be Happy in the Future, with her big job and the demands of a big new National Parks job that clearly competes for attention with that threesome brood? (Two boys, one girl.)

- Will Tom's Bistro be a success, maybe even a chain or will Ron's chair bill bankrupt TB in the crib?

- How is Jerry's dog, by the way? And why is his name suddenly Terry?

- Why is there a media lockdown?

- And what could poor Jon Hamm have done that would have necessitated a brutal beheading so quickly by an obviously toughened-by-the-cold-cruel-world Leslie Knope?

Smart finale, because obviously some of these questions will have to be answered, and the show will clearly have to rewind, a la "Lost," to fill in the backstory, and . . . finally, it will have to explore exactly what happens at the end of that elevator ride to who knows where.

(Another question: Will President Obama be standing there when the doors open? "P&R" wants him, badly, but a standing president on a TV sitcom is not exactly good PR, particularly for a president who has huge problems in Japan, the domestic economy, the Ukraine, and so forth . . . yet still finds time to shoot a cameo?! Maybe if he's allowed to make a pitch for affordable health care.)

 Excellent season finales change the dynamic of the entire show -- not just do cheap "cliffhanging" stunts -- and "P&R" did precisely that Thursday night. A new show is coming that still has the same irreverence of the old. Most of all, "P&R" has offered some compelling reasons to tune in again next season. Good going.

(App readers, watch a scene from the finale here: http://nwsdy.li/RSxPUk)

 

MTV: 'Teen Wolf' return date, plus and a new series, 'Slednecks'

From left, actors Tyler Hoechlin, Dylan O'Brien, Holland

(Credit: Getty Images)

MTV announced its summer lineup a little while ago, and this semi-prominent news: "Teen Wolf" begins its fourth season June 23, while "Snooki and JWoww" got picked up for another season, too.

Meanwhile, MTV is taking a shot at another series that would appear -- we have no tape, but the description is suggestive -- to be another "Buckwild," this time set in Alaska. ("Buckwild" was canceled...

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John Oliver's 'Last Week Tonight' begins Sunday; a list of other 'Daily Show' refugees

John Oliver's new gig at "Last Week Tonight"

(Credit: HBO)

John Oliver's new HBO topical/comedy/interview show begins Sunday (HBO, 11) and first guest: Gen. Keith Alexander, retired as director of the National Security Agency and head of U.S. Cyber Command.

So, maybe not so funny, but topical.

"Last Week Tonight" features a host who finds himself at the head of a long conga line of talent that has left "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart"...

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