Mr. TV: Questions of Taste

I may not be the target audience, but I will be sampling new CW reality half-hour High Society, which follows the life of Tinsley Mortimer (aka the “Park Avenue Princess”) and her coterie of New York friends, starting this Wednesday at 9:30 p.m. Knowing my personal taste for this kind of nonsense (and I am not bragging here), I imagine I will keep watching. High Society kicks off out of a 90-minute edition of America’s Next Top Model, which opens cycle No. 14 (wow).

At this stage of my life, the typical network exec seems to think I should be watching repeats of Murder, She Wrote or Diagnosis Murder while rocking in my easy chair. But I am so enthralled by all this celebrity junk, I must have watched Khloe and Lamar’s wedding on E!’s Keeping Up With the Kardashians 10 times. I even had a Kleenex handy when Kourtney gave birth to little Mason on the season finale. But I’ll save my strange obsession with the Kardashian clan for June, when Kourtney and Khloe Take Miami returns for season two. Step aside Big Brother; Mr. TV has another summer guilty pleasure!

Moving on, last Monday marked the return of benchwarmer CBS comedy Rules of Engagement, which I refer to as the Wings of the current schedule. Translation: a show that survives based on the strength of its lead-in. With decent support, the very generic Rules draws just enough of an audience to warrant a renewal but can never stand on its own. Four seasons into its run, I imagine distributor Sony Pictures TV is pushing for enough episodes for a respectable off-network run. But airing at 8:30 out of How I Met Your Mother (instead of an hour later out of Two and a Half Men last season) means fewer people will tune in.

If David Spade wasn’t part of the Rules of Engagement ensemble, I might even watch it (it doesn’t help that the show includes wooden performances by Goldie Hawn’s boy, Oliver Hudson). Remember, I’m one of the few TV critics who is actually attracted to generic stuff. But there’s something about Spade I just can’t stand. Maybe it’s his lack of personal hygiene. Heather Locklear…what did you ever see in him?

Airing immediately after Rules of Engagement on NBC is the return of freshman medical drama Trauma, which was given a brief three-episode reprieve after the network canceled it last fall. That said, most people will think these are just burn-off episodes and simply won’t watch.

Heading over to TV Land, Wednesday marks the premiere of First Love, Second Chance, a relationship-themed series featuring split couples from around the globe who entertain the possibility of rekindling their relationships. For years, TV Land has been trying to break into the original programming arena, designating the 10 p.m. Wednesday hour for new product.

But its biggest “hit” to date is High School Reunion, a continuation of the failed WB reality series. Considering I am the exact demo TV Land would want to reach (hey, someone has to be interested in me!), I don’t understand the cable net’s fascination in this gooey relationship drivel.

Since TV Land is about TV, why not go back to the drawing board and actually create a show that focuses on television—a real discussion about our favorite medium, complete with interviews, footage, sneak peeks, picks and pans, and fun nostalgia. I actually tested for a show like this on TV Land opposite comedian Carol Leifer and radio host Frank De Caro about six years ago, but it never launched. That’s a shame because I think boomers like myself would welcome a show that covers television without sensationalizing it like Entertainment Tonight or Access Hollywood.