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THE TV COLUMN

Nickelodeon TV movie filled with familiar faces

By Michael Storey

This article was published August 22, 2013 at 4:00 a.m.

nickelodeons-family-friendly-swindle-stars-from-left-ariana-grande-chris-oneal-jennette-mccurdy-noah-crawford-noah-munck-and-ciara-bravo-the-tv-g-movie-airs-at-7-pm-saturday

Nickelodeon’s family-friendly Swindle stars (from left) Ariana Grande, Chris O’Neal, Jennette McCurdy, Noah Crawford, Noah Munck and Ciara Bravo. The TV-G movie airs at 7 p.m. Saturday.

I see you out there, Mom, spending countless hours scanning the TV listings for family-friendly shows you can stand to watch with your preteen.

Sure you do. Family TV time is a bonding experience and you’ve already seen every SpongeBob episode twice.

Nickelodeon is sensitive to your dilemma and has provided just such an event for you.

The original TV movie Swindle, starring a slew of Nickelodeon young people, will debut at 7 p.m. Saturday. The 90-minute film is being billed as a “comedy caper” and “awesome action-packed adventure.”

The fun stars Jennette McCurdy and Ariana Grande from Sam & Cat; Noah Crawford and Chris O’Neal from How to Rock; Ciara Bravo from Big Time Rush; and iCarly’s Noah Munck.

Swindle is based on the 2008 children’s book by Gordon Korman and it’s rated TVG. That rarity means every member of the family, from the adults to Baby Oliver and the pooch, can watch without being offended.

In the film, evil, evil collector S. Wendell Palomino (Matthew Lillard) cons Griffin Bing (Crawford) out of a$1.2 million baseball card that could have saved Griffin’s best friend’s home.

Griffin recruits his ragtag gaggle of classmates to pool their talents to take down the swindler. Ocean’s Eleven-esque adventure ensues that includes heists, disguises, gymnastics and pie fights.

The crew even have nicknames: The Brains (Crawford); The Sidekick (O’Neal); The Muscle (Munck); The Actress (McCurdy); The Gymnast (Grande); and The Hacker (Bravo).

It’s good, clean, wholesome fun and the kids are all right.

Williams doc. There was some love lost between the United States Tennis Association and the makers of Venus and Serena. The documentary on tennis’ Williams sisters airs at 8 p.m. Friday and includes some infamous 2009 US Open footage where Serena went on a tirade. The USTA says it was“not in the best interest of the sport.” The USTA sued; the filmmakers used it anyway.

John McEnroe and Billie Jean King provide commentary on the groundbreaking siblings.

Don’t watch it just for the tirade. You can find that part on YouTube.

Lacks bite. Syfy hopes to capitalize on the success of Sharknado with Ghost Shark,airing at 8 p.m. today. Sadly, Ghost Shark, about a tortured and slain shark that comes back as a ghost and chomps everyone in sight, doesn’t rise to the cheese level of Sharknado.

It stars Richard Moll (Bull on Night Court) and Mackenzie Rosman (Ruthie Camden on 7th Heaven). Feel free to skip this one.

Huge numbers. Duck Dynasty, the A&E family sitcom disguised as a reality show, made history last week. Season 4 opened with an astonishing 11.8 million viewers - a record for a nonfiction show on cable television, and numbers that would thrill even broadcast TV.

The quackin’ continues at 9 p.m. Wednesday.

Together again. Mark your calendars. One of our favorites, Mary Lynn Rajskub, has been signed to reprise her role as Chloe O’Brien when the 12-episode run of 24: Live Another Day airs in May.

It’ll be good to see Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) and Chloe back in action.

More Maids. Lifetime is renewing Marc Cherry’s Devious Maids for a 13-episode second season next year. The series follows five Hispanic maids who work for the rich in Beverly Hills.

No Oh. In case you missed the memo, ABC has announced that Sandra Oh will be leaving Grey’s Anatomy after the next season. She plays Dr. Cristina Yang and it’ll be odd for Meredith not to have her “person” around.

Creator Shonda Rhimes said she’ll give Yang the exit she deserves. Meanwhile, ABC told The AssociatedPress that it intends to keep Grey’s Anatomy around for years with as many of the original cast as possible.

For your amusement, here’s my Grey’s Anatomy one degree of separation tale.

I was on the TV critics press tour in the summer of 2006 and we were having a set visit with the cast and crew of Grey’s Anatomy, who were scattered about the place for our interviewing convenience.

I had finished visiting with Sara Ramirez (Callie Torres) out by the nurses’ station and moved on to the locker room to chat up Oh, Ellen Pompeo (Meredith Grey) and Katherine Heigl (Izzie Stevens).

We were having a lovely visit, but we kept hearing “Ohhhh,” and “Awww,” and “Oh, noooo,” coming from around the corner. I wondered what all that was about.

“Oh, never mind that,” Pompeo said, laughing. “Someone’s just standing there pointing out the bed in which Denny died.”

For fans of the show, Denny Duquette’s hospital bed death scene ought to bring tears to your eyes even all these years later.

The TV Column appears Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Email: mstorey@arkansasonline.com

Weekend, Pages 32 on 08/22/2013

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