Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

Ellen Gray: TNT knows annoying

SO MUCH television, so little time: * "We know drama," proclaims TNT, which might want to clue in whoever decides when and where its onscreen promos appear.

SO MUCH television, so little time:

* "We know drama," proclaims TNT, which might want to clue in whoever decides when and where its onscreen promos appear.

Annoying in almost any situation, the widely used device - in which promotions for programs other than the ones you're actually watching at the time unfurl from the bottom of your screen - reached new heights of idiocy on TNT during this week's episode of "Saving Grace."

As Grace (Holly Hunter) and her nephew (Dylan Minnette) together held a delivery of flowers that she strongly suspected was a bomb, he asked her, "Am I going to die?"

While she offered a shaky reassurance, the bottom part of the screen first launched into a reminder that viewers were watching "Saving Grace," then delivered the news that "Hawthorne" was next, before concluding - with a series of distracting golden swirls - with the message from TNT that "we know drama challenges."

Hey, sometimes, just viewing the drama's a challenge.

* Speaking of challenges, it's been 29 years since my one and only visit to Detroit, and I'm geography-deficient on the best of days.

So when a sharp-eyed reader noticed my reference last week to the lead character in HBO's "Hung" living on Lake Michigan and suggested that since that particular Great Lake is a bit of a drive from Detroit, it was likely instead "one of the many smaller inland lakes that surround the city," I wasn't inclined to tell him to jump in one.

Sorry for any confusion.

* As for "Hung," its premiere Sunday delivered a hefty-for-HBO 2.8 million viewers, making it the premium cable network's most-watched debut in two years, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

And, yes, in television - even on HBO - size does matter.

* If, as I have, you've been trying to catch the final episodes of ABC's "Eli Stone," you may have noticed it's being pre-empted locally on Saturday for coverage of Philadelphia's Fourth of July celebration.

WPVI (Channel 6) plans to air this week's "Eli" on Sunday (technically early Monday) after the station's "Million Dollar Movie," starting at about 1:35 a.m., so set your recorders accordingly, and cross your fingers.

The series finale is scheduled for 10 p.m. July 11.

* Thanks to the networks' decision to burn off some of their canceled series this summer on what's generally their least-watched evening, Saturday's been one of the few nights I've been able to watch network TV without encountering talented Americans, trapped celebrities or wiped-out contestants of any kind.

(I've yet to encounter, much less survive, a Japanese game show.)

With NBC's "Kings" at 8, CBS' "Harper's Island" at 9 and at 10 "Eli Stone" (whose final episodes followed those for "Pushing Daisies"), Saturday's actually been the most entertaining night of the week, even if it's often time-shifted.

With the Fourth looming, CBS is pre-empting "Harper's" to make room for its "Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular." The weirdly addictive slasher series - which this past weekend finally started eliminating characters I'd hoped would make it - will wrap up with a two-hour finale on July 11.

Assuming anyone's left.

* Nielsen reports that since the digital TV conversion on June 12.8 million more homes have undergone changes that allow them to receive the digital signals, about half of those changes reportedly taking place in the past week.

Though the 1.7 million homes that Nielsen estimates still have no means of watching digital TV represent just 1.5 percent of the country, some minority groups are overrepresented, with 3.5 percent of African-American households estimated to not have made the switch, 2.5 percent of Asian households and 2.3 percent of Hispanic households.

Among people under 35, 3.5 percent haven't made the switch, according to Nielsen, while among those over 55, just 0.6 percent remain unable to access the new signals.

If those numbers are accurate, I have to wonder how many of the under-35s have already left their TVs behind and are watching online. *

Send e-mail to or join today's live TV chat at noon: