Tonight marks the debut of "The Apprentice UK" on BBC America, with two episodes back-to-back beginning at 8 p.m.
In this version, UK billionaire Sir Alan Sugar plays the Donald Trump role of the boss, and the contestants are regular people trying to get a job with him. There's no Joan Rivers or Dennis Rodman on this version. I'm fairly certain that these are the same episodes that CNBC showed last season until it stopped midway through, which was pretty annoying.
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Hopefully, BBC America will do us the courtesy of showing it through to the end, though my faith in the network has been shaken of late.
Specifically, the network has shown some great series that its parent network produced, but won't show subsequent seasons because of low ratings.
For example, "Ashes To Ashes," the sequel to "Life On Mars," was supposed to begin its second season this past Saturday. It was even listed on the BBC America Web site and in TV Guide. But the network yanked it from the schedule. I e-mailed the network to find out the show's status, and this was their reply:
"Unfortunately, we regret to inform you that at this time, there are no plans to air Season 2 of "Ashes to Ashes" on BBC America in the immediate future."
That's not the only good show not getting shown. Season 3 of "Robin Hood" is in limbo, according to message boards on their Web site. And hopes of seeing "MI-5's" latter seasons seem dashed.
I tried calling the network, but so far haven't gotten a response back. Unfortunately, these shows are only available for download in the UK, not in the US, so until the DVDs come out, there's no chance for US viewers to watch these programs except through illegal downloads.
I'm puzzled by BBC America's choice, since I'm guessing whatever airs in the place of these programs isn't getting signficantly better ratings and that all these shows have small but dedicated followings. Besides, my guess is that it doesn't cost the network much to air any of these shows, since they are BBC programs.
The e-mail to me said the network listens to the comments of viewers, so if you want to see these shows, go to BBC America's Web site and urge them to air them.
RENEWALS: NBC announced Part 1 of its fall lineup, making it official for some new shows: "Parenthood," based on the old Steve Martin movie and starring Peter Krause and Maura Tierney; "Trauma," about EMTs from producer Peter Berg ("Friday Night Lights"); "Mercy," another hospital-based drama seen through the eyes of three nurses; and "Day One," a sci-fi thriller about life on Earth after a great catastrophe.
Among new sitcoms are "100 Questions," about dating life online; and "Community," starring Chevy Chase and Joel McHale. There are also three new reality shows: "The Marriage Ref," produced by Jerry Seinfeld; "Breakthrough with Tony Robbins"; and "Who Do You Think You Are?"
Contrary to prior reports, "Medium" hasn't been officially renewed, while things are looking pretty good for "Chuck." "Life," however, won't be back. NBC announces the new schedule May 19.
TUESDAY'S BEST BEST: Meanwhile, over at Fox, "Fringe" (Fox, 9 p.m.) has earned a second season pickup, the network announced. The JJ Abrams creation has shown steady improvement all season, and will feature Leonard Nimoy next week in its first season finale. It follows a new "American Idol."
CBS airs the second part of "NCIS" (CBS, 8 p.m.), which also introduces the team for a possible "NCIS" spinoff next season. It's followed by "The Mentalist" and "Without A Trace."
After getting bumped by the Obama press conference last week, new episodes of "Scrubs" and "Better Off Ted" air tonight, beginning at 8 p.m. The "Scrubs" season (possibly series) finale still airs tomorrow. They are followed tonight by "Dancing With The Stars" and "Cupid."
"Law & Order: SVU" (NBC, 10 p.m.) is new this week and should be back next year, but the network is on record saying it won't bring back stars Chris Meloni and Mariska Hargitay if they continue holding out for more money. It will be interesting to see who blinks first. It follows "The Biggest Loser."
The CW has new episodes of "Reaper" and "90210," beginning at 8 p.m.
On cable, there's a new "Rescue Me," (FX, 10 p.m.), featuring a great turn by Callie Thorn as Sheila, Tommy's sometime girlfriend. Tonight's carries a much more serious tone than the previous weeks. Also, there's a new "My Boys" (TBS, 10:30 p.m.)