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"Project Runway" is Almost Back; "Deadwood" Still Dead

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | April 21, 2009 |

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | April 21, 2009 |

… and we’ll wrap up your Tuesday at Pajiba with a lot of television news.

First off, I’m sure there are a few of you who can muster up a give-a-shit, so have at it: Lifetime (which recently stole “Project Runway” away from Bravo, which means I can no longer harass Mrs. Pajiba-hyphenate by calling it “Project Bravo”), has finally gotten past those nasty legal problems and set a premiere date for the next cycle of “Runway.” It’ll debut on August 20th. So, there you go. In addition, Lifetime — in its infinite wisdom — has also decided to launch two movie-inspired television series based on Mona Lisa’s Smile and Mystic Pizza. Apparently, they’re on a Julia Roberts kick. A “Mystic PIzza” show I could envision, but who’d want to build a television series around Mona Lisa’s Smile?

Lifetime, that’s who. They’re also working on a reality show, “Deadbeat Dads,” which tracks down fathers who owe child support and, presumably, shakes their finger at them. That should be fun. There are a few others shows on their slate, but they’re all too embarrassing to speak of.

Moving on: In an attempt to fill the void left by “Project Runway,” Bravo is launching a television series set in a Fred Segal store in Santa Monica. I don’t know who Fred Segal is, but since the show is about the “daily drama at a high-end retail outlet,” I’m assuming that Segal owns high-end retail outlets. Wow. That should be fascinating: We can watch people try on clothes and the employees fold the clothes and return them to the shelves. I can barely contain my ….

Debra Messing, she of “Will & Grace,” is returning to NBC in an untitled comedy after the network won a bidding war with ABC for the rights to the show. It’s about as a laid-off CEO (Messing) who is as ill-prepared to be a full-time wife and mother as her husband is to provide for the family. Gender-role reversal comedy! Awesome. Sign me up! And then shoot me in the head.

Hey! DirectTV subscribers (that’s me!): The satellite dish provider, in addition to getting the right to air “Friday Night Lights” several months before NBC (and seriously, folks, how good was that third season?), has added a couple more shows to its lineup. They will soon begin airing uncensored, uncut episodes of HBO’s “Deadwood” and “Oz.” They will run without commercials and in HD. Unfortunately, the deal doesn’t feature episodes of the unproduced final season of “Deadwood,” so don’t get too attached, folks. It will only smash your heart.

Finally, we’ll end with last week’s top 20 shows, which look basically just like they did the week before: A bunch of reality shows and cop shows. The only addition was “Desperate Housewives,” which returned with a new episode for the first time in a month. Apparently, Edie (Nicolette Sheridan) was killed off. Bummer.

1. (2) “American Idol” (Tuesday), Fox, 24.38 million viewers.

2. (1) “American Idol” (Wednesday), Fox, 24.11 million viewers.

3. (3) “Dancing with the Stars,” ABC, 19.46 million viewers.

4. (4) “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” CBS, 15.72 million viewers.

5. (7) “Dancing with the Stars Results,” ABC, 15.24 million viewers.

6. (11) “Two and a Half Men,” CBS, 15.03 million viewers.

7. (9) “Desperate Housewives,” ABC, 13.85 million viewers.

8. (5) “NCIS,” CBS, 13.56 million viewers.

9. (13) “CSI: Miami,” CBS, 13.38 million viewers.

10. (18) “Without a Trace,” CBS, 13.23 million viewers.

11. (18) “House,” Fox, 12.19 million viewers.

12. (7) “The Mentalist,” CBS, 12.18 million viewers.

13. (15) “CSI: NY,” CBS, 12.14 million viewers.

14. (9) “60 Minutes,” CBS, 12.04 million viewers.

15. (17) “Survivor: Tocantins,” CBS, 11.64 million viewers.

16. (27) “Rules of Engagement,” CBS, 11.6 million viewers.

17. (X) “Bones,” Fox, 11.01 million viewers.

18. (20) “24,” Fox, 10.86 million viewers.

19. (12) “Criminal Minds,” CBS, 10.58 million viewers.

20. (28) “Amazing Race 14,” CBS, 10.3 million viewers.

And if you are, for some reason, curious, Brian Williams — for the 27th week in a row — has won the weekly ratings race among the network newscasts. He was watched by about 8.5 million viewers per night; Charlie Gibson was slightly behind with around 8 million viewers; and Katie Couric pulled up in third, with around 6 million viewers.

Oh, and one last thing: Here’s a preview of Justin Timberlake’s new reality show on MTV. It’s called, “The Phone.” I don’t really know what’s going on here, but I call shenanigans on the whole shebang:

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.