Heavens to Newton Minow, fellow Arkansans, we've got a swarm of new and returning programming headed our way.
Midseason series that have been champing at the bit waiting for the Olympics to finish are finally at the starting gate. Here's a brief rundown on the field.
• American Idol rises from the dead and switches networks from 7 to 9 p.m. today on ABC. A second round of auditions follows at the same time Monday.
Fans will recall that Fox put the one-time ratings behemoth out to pasture in 2016 after 15 seasons. It didn't take ABC long to snatch up the rights and whip the ol' warhorse back into shape.
Why did Fox let Idol go? Frankly, the series was getting long in the tooth and the novelty of singing competitions had long worn off. NBC's The Voice gets by on the popularity of its coaches, but Idol actually produced some stars. That had begun to slack off.
Evidence: Here are Idol's 15 seasonal winners in order: Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard, Fantasia, Carrie Underwood, Taylor Hicks, Jordin Sparks, David Cook, Kris Allen, Lee DeWyze, Scotty McCreery, Phillip Phillips, Candice Glover, Caleb Johnson, Nick Fradiani, and Trent Harmon.
How many have you heard of after Scotty McCreery? I rest my case.
With evidently few format changes, ABC hopes to discover "the next singing sensation" with "music industry forces and superstar judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie." Representing country, pop and R&B.
Ryan Seacrest returns as host.
Will ABC breathe new life into the once mighty icon? We'll see. As long as the emphasis is on the emerging talent and not the celebrity judges, it'll have my vote.
Local connection: Noah Davis, 18, a nursing major at Arkansas Tech University, is among the new Idol hopefuls. He hails from Royal, just west of Hot Springs, and won the 90th National Future Farmers of America Convention and Expo talent competition in October.
Look for Noah's audition from Los Angeles in the second half of tonight's episode. His introduction plays over the whistling theme from The Andy Griffith Show and he's shown back on the farm feeding goats. The outgoing Noah claims his goal is to share his music with everyone "like a male Beyonce."
Noah sings "Stay" by Rihanna and I'll not spoil how the judges react. I'll just say he does Arkansas proud.
Spoiler alert: Noah confesses that if he wins American Idol, the first thing he'll do is buy an alpaca.
• Deception is a new drama that debuts at 9 p.m. today after Idol on ABC. The series stars Jack Cutmore-Scott (Cooper Barrett's Guide to Surviving Life) as superstar magician Cameron Black, whose career is ruined by scandal. With nowhere to go, Cameron turns to the FBI where he will "practice his art of deception, influence and illusion helping the government catch the world's most elusive criminals."
• Madam Secretary is back for the second half of its fourth season at 9 p.m. today on CBS.
In the episode "Reading the Signs," Secretary of State Elizabeth McCord (Tea Lioni) must resort to creative solutions when the psychic to the president of Sri Lanka convinces him to not move forward with a trade agreement.
My bet is that Rex Tillerson doesn't have that sort of problem these days. Maybe he did when he was the head of Exxon.
Meanwhile, Elizabeth's daughter Alison (Kathrine Herzer) is wracked with guilt for missing the warning signs after her college roommate attempts suicide.
The Jan. 14 episode of the series, "Sound and Fury," found Elizabeth and the Cabinet debating whether to invoke the 25th Amendment and remove an incompetent, saber-rattling rogue President Dalton (Keith Carradine) from office.
Reading into that parallels from real life, liberals Tweeted cheers and conservatives groused about the "Hollywood elite."
For the record, Dalton was diagnosed with a brain tumor and is undergoing treatment.
• Timeless returns for Season 2 at 9 p.m. today on NBC. The canceled, then resurrected time-travel action/adventure features a scientist, soldier and a history professor racing through time to save the world from the evil outfit known as Rittenhouse.
• NCIS: Los Angeles returns for the second half of Season 9 at 8 p.m. today on CBS. In the episode "Goodbye, Vietnam," Callen, Sam, Kensi and Deeks (Chris O'Donnell, LL Cool J, Daniela Ruah, Eric Christian Olsen) join Hetty's (Linda Hunt) team from the Vietnam War to rescue her from her captors. James Remar guest stars.
The TV Column appears Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Email:
Style on 03/11/2018
Print Headline: Arkansan on American Idol; Deception debuts