Dispatches: Weekly TV news
Television is a great escape during this challenging time, and streaming channels are responding. Acorn TV is offering a 30-day free trial instead of its usual 7-day trial, while Ken Burns’ “Baseball” series is streaming for free on all PBS streaming platforms.
Showtime announced a pilot order for drama series “American Gigolo,” starring Jon Bernthal (“The Walking Dead”). Set in modern-day Los Angeles, it will reimagine the 1980 film.
More drama for “Bachelor” star Peter Weber. Weber, who had proposed to Hannah Ann Sluss on the finale of the ABC show, called off his engagement after filming wrapped and pursued a relationship with Madison Prewett. The happy pair told fans they were in love during “After the Final Rose,” then issued a joint statement on their Instagram accounts announcing their separation shortly after the reunion show aired.
Contenders: Shows to keep on your radar
On March 20, Netflix releases “The Letter for the King,” a coming of age story about a young knight in training who goes on an epic quest, and “The English Game,” a period drama about the origins of English football from “Downton Abbey” creator, Julian Fellowes.
Damian Lewis (“Homeland,” “Billions”) hosts “Spy Wars with Damian Lewis” (March 22, Smithsonian Channel, 8 p.m. ET), an eight-part series that features true stories of government intelligence, surveillance and international conspiracy plots, from the Cold War to the Iran Hostage Crisis to sleeper agents living in the U.S. The premiere episode focuses on a Russian double agent whose actions may have saved the world from nuclear war.
Enthusiastic fans campaigned to save “One Day at a Time,” and Pop TV responded with a new season pickup. The comedy, inspired by Norman Lear’s 1975 series of the same name, will return on March 24 at 9:30 p.m. ET, before moving to 9 p.m. ET, beginning on April 14. The 13 episodes will continue the story of the Cuban-American Alvarez family.
Executive produced by Ken Burns, and directed by Sarah Burns and David McMahon, documentary “East Lake Meadows: A Public Housing Story” (March 24, PBS, 8 p.m. ET) explores the development and ultimate decline of Atlanta’s 650-unit public housing community, East Lake Meadows. Opened in 1970, and demolished a generation later, East Lake Meadows was home to thousands of low-income Atlantans. The film tells the story of those who lived there and the bonds they built in the face of difficult challenges, while also examining the intersection of public housing, race and class.
New drama “Council of Dads” premieres on NBC (March 24, 10 p.m. ET, then Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET beginning April 30). Inspired by Bruce Feiler’s book of the same name, the show is about a father of five, who turns to his closest friends to help guide and support his family as back-up dads after an unexpected health scare makes him realize that he may not always be there for his kids.
Report Card: Ratings winners and losers
Winners: ABC renewed “Station 19” for a fourth season.
Losers: FX announced the fourth season of “Fargo” will be delayed indefinitely amid coronavirus concerns. The network stopped production with two episodes still to complete and decided not to release an unfinished series at this time.
Melissa Crawley is the author of “Mr. Sorkin Goes to Washington: Shaping the President on Television’s ‘The West Wing.’” She has a Ph.D. in media studies and is a member of the Television Critics Association. To comment on Stay Tuned, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter at @mcstaytuned.
Stay Tuned column: Finding inspiration in a new type of family on NBC’s ‘Council of Dads’
Dispatches: Weekly TV news