HDTV Heads-Up: August 11-17
Anger management is what Episodes fans will have to practice.
The same week TV2 launches in HD the new Charle Sheen sitcom, Anger Management, TV One is quitting Episodes only two episodes into its second season.
The only justification to delay screening this Bafta-winner for so long was so TV One could air both short-run seasons back-to-back.
True, it rated poorly to start with but in the last two weeks its 25-54 viewership, which is TV One’s target audience, has picked up markedly.
So why stop season two after only episode two? According to a TV One publicist, “We are holding the rest of the season to play later in the year.”
That’s a ridiculous rationale given the fringe peak-hour slot and the serialised storyline.
It’s decision-making like this that drives free-to-air viewers into cyberspace to download from other sources and, once they discover how easy it is, abandon linear TV to those without a broadband connection.
Also being pulled before the end of its season, although more understandably given the persistently low ratings, is Hawaii Five-0 — TV3 is replacing it from August 14 with new SD episodes of SVU.
Anger Management, meanwhile, will anchor a new-look Wednesday comedy block on TV2 that includes new runs of Cougar Town and, alas still in SD, Hot in Cleveland.
And with the Olympic Games over, TV2 at last will resurrect Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice as a Monday night double-bill.
Curiously, the season premieres will be repeated after that night’s 10.30 airing of Army Wives — a strategy that reinforces free-to-air TV’s willingness to adopt pay-TV tactics and re-run top shows within the same week of broadcast.
Also of note in HD for the week starting August 11:
❑ The return of Judy Bailey’s Australia to an off-peak slot on Saturdays (TV One, 4.55)
❑ Sunday re-runs of the telemovies Rage (TV One, 8.30) and Panic at Rock Island (TV2, 10.30)
❑ The network movie premiere of Predators on Monday (TV3, 8.30).