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The TV Column

Barrymore plays host to yet another dating show

By Michael Storey

This article was published April 20, 2017 at 2:00 a.m.

first-dates-couple-woody-mcfann-and-katheryn-golden-spill-wine-during-a-blind-date-hilarity-andor-drama-ensued

First Dates couple Woody McFann and Katheryn Golden spill wine during a blind date. Hilarity and/or drama ensued.

CORRECTION: The TV Column, which addresses the future of Fox News Channel host Bill O’Reilly, went to press before it was announced Wednesday afternoon that O’Reilly would leave the network immediately.

Have you been watching First Dates on NBC? The third episode of the blind date reality series airs at 7 p.m. Friday if you want to check it out.

Ellen DeGeneres is executive producer and Drew Barrymore narrates. Why Barrymore? I imagine it has something to do with her 2004 film 50 First Dates, co-starring Adam Sandler.

NBC reports, "This series offers a voyeuristic look at a variety of real first dates happening throughout one night at the same restaurant in Chicago. The audience will be along for the ride in a refreshingly authentic viewing experience that plays like a real-life romantic comedy."

I contend that there is nothing "authentic" or "real-life" about this or any other dating show where cameras are involved. They may be hidden, as in this case, but they're still there.

All these folks claim to be "genuinely looking for love," but is a TV show really the place to find it? The audience may be voyeurs, but those who believes all this is real life is fooling themselves.

That has been the case with every silly dating show from The Dating Game, Love Connection and Temptation Island, to Alaskan Women Looking for Love and all things Bachelor.

Surprise! Fox is reviving Love Connection this summer.

As vapid as First Dates is, it's not nearly as bad as FYI's docuseries Married at First Sight. In that show, couples actually agree to get legally married after their first blind date. FYI labels the show "a social experiment."

After the honeymoon and living together for six weeks, the couple can either divorce or stay married. The tally after a dozen couples in four seasons: Three still married; nine divorced.

The Blacklist returns with the second half of Season 4 at 8 p.m. today on NBC as "the task force races to save Red's life after he is secretly poisoned." A second episode follows at 9 p.m.

If you were wondering, The Blacklist: Redemption finished its first season last week. It had an eight-episode run to prove itself worthy. Ratings have been OK, with total viewers (original plus DVR views) around 6 million each week.

We'll find out by the NBC upfront presentations on May 18 whether the series will be back.

Where's Bill? If you haven't been able to find Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly since April 11, there's a good reason. The most popular personality on Fox News decided to go on vacation amid sponsor backlash triggered by sexual harassment allegations.

O'Reilly says the vacation had been planned for a long time and he'll return Monday. However, some pundits speculate that the vacation could end up being permanent if Fox News decides O'Reilly has become a liability.

Background: A recent article in The New York Times reported O'Reilly and Fox paid five women a total of $13 million to keep quiet about harassment allegations against O'Reilly.

The Los Angeles Times reports, "O'Reilly acknowledged the payments but denied the merits of the claims, saying he was targeted because of his fame."

The accusations were followed by the defection of about 60 companies that advertise on The O'Reilly Factor. That represents more than half of the advertisers for the nightly program.

Nonetheless, O'Reilly's ratings actually increased, to 3.7 million (from 3.3 million), after the initial report.

Former Fox News chairman Roger Ailes resigned July 21 after a harassment suit was filed against him by former Fox personality Gretchen Carlson. According to Vanity Fair, Carlson settled the suit for $20 million.

Late HBO news. Oops. I forgot to remind you last Sunday when Girls series finale aired. Also, Season 6 of Veep premiered at 9:30 p.m. Sunday.

You can catch up with Girls On Demand, but here's what you need to know about Veep.

Former vice president and president Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) has been out of office about a year now and is running a nonprofit in New York.

Fortunately, Selina's No. 1 lackey/minion Gary (Tony Hale) moved with her. Other cast favorites are still around in one capacity or another.

Netflix news. Two new shows debut on the streaming service Friday. Bill Nye Saves the World comes from the fellow made famous on Bill Nye the Science Guy, but now Nye will host his own talk show. The 13-episode series will focus on science and its impact on such things as politics and pop culture. Expect lots of nerdy fun.

Also Friday, Girlboss premieres on Netflix. The original comedy stars Britt Robertson (Life Unexpected, Under the Dome) as a self-made millionaire. The series is based on Nasty Gal fashion retailer Sophia Amoruso's autobiography #Girlboss.

The TV Column appears Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Email:

mstorey@arkansasonline.com

Weekend on 04/20/2017

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