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From Campaign US: Once upon a time the typical summer TV season was a breeding ground for programming crud like “The Hudson Brothers Show,” “The Ken Berry ‘Wow’ Show,” “The Keane Brothers Show” and leftover episodes of canceled series. My apologies if I have sent you in search of the Pepto-Bismol, but once Memorial Day weekend arose, the “Gone Fishing” sign was normally up on the broadcast networks for the summer.
CBS stepped up to the plate in the summer of 2000 care of “Survivor,” which concluded with a whopping 51.7 million viewers (based on Nielsen data). The moral of that story: Viewers might indeed tune in for something worthwhile even when the heat is on. “American Idol” on Fox began two summers later. Cable eventually joined the fray with an aggressive slate of original scripted dramas in the summer. Think “The Wire” on HBO, “Mad Men” on AMC, and “Six Feet Under” and “Damages” on FX, to name a few. And now there are the digital streamers.
At present, summer on the broadcast networks is a platform for non-scripted fare like “America’s Got Talent” on NBC, ABC’s “The Bachelorette and a host of game shows,” Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance” and, of course, CBS’ “Big Brother.” Admit it – you watch “Big Brother” and you revel in the alliances, the backstabbing, the “showmances,” the competitions, the power of vetoes, “Zingbot,” and, of course, “Chenbot” herself, the great Julie Chen. I know I do!
But there are also plenty of worthy entries the scripted arena thanks to cable and digital. What follows are my picks for the best of the mix (new and returning, scripted and non-scripted) this summer across all platforms. The programs are listed by airdate.
For a look, click here