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Taking the Gold

Or, how I learned to stop worrying and love the Olympics

By Patrick Sauriol     August 23, 2004

The logo for the XXVII Olympiad, 2004's Athens Summer Olympics.

If you don't like sports, your DVD player is your best friend right now.

NBC's Summer Olympic Games coverage continues to dominate and influence the Wasteland that we call television. As the network continues its daily broadcast of the games, the other three major networks are forced to throw up their hands and admit defeat while up-and-comers like The WB and UPN seek whatever leftover audience share that remains.

The good news is that the networks' new fall season is just around the corner. Some of the new shows launch as soon as next week and we'll be telling you what they are and when to catch them. In the meantime if you don't have cable you have to buckle up and watch the pomp and ceremony happening in Athens. Hey, I didn't know that bouncing on a trampoline was considered a sport until last week and knowing is half the battle, right?

Your next seven days break down something like this:



OLYMPIC SUMMER GAMES (8 PM, NBC) The Peacock Network continues its coverage of the competition in Athens with broadcasts beginning at 8 PM and continuing at 12:35 AM every night. For you sports junkies, it's heaven. For the rest of us, we're waiting for the new season of THE APPRENTICE.

CSI: MIAMI (10 PM, CBS) "Bait". One of Horatio's coworkers becomes a murder suspect. (Repeat)



NIP/TUCK (10 PM, FX) SPIDER-MAN's J. Jonah Jameson (OK, his real name is J.K. Simmons) guest stars on this week's show playing a husband that wants breast implants so as to better understand his wife's battle with breast cancer. Meanwhile, Sean and Kimber get into bed in business. Don't miss an episode of the show that I call "better than watching the Olympics!"



FAMILY GUY (8 PM, FOX) More Olympic counterprogramming, but this time it's ironic: Fox has a two-hour block of four FAMILY GUY episodes scheduled for tonight. Remember, this is the same network that killed the show in the first place, and now that it's hot, want it back to lure viewers away from track and field coverage. OK, so it'll work. (Repeats)

SMALLVILLE (8 PM, WB) "Obsession". Clark is forced to reveal his superpowers to the new girl in town and he's stunned to discover she has some secrets of her own as well...she's a psycho. (Repeat)

THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN (11:35 AM, CBS) Josh Hartnett is on to talk about his new movie, WICKER PARK, and wink at the ladies in the audience. For a stupid pet trick someone pretends to be a giant boa constrictor.



THE SIMPLE LIFE 2 (8 PM, FOX) Two hours of Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie travelling around the country! Happy happy joy joy! (Repeats)

CSI (9 PM, CBS) "Grissom Versus the Volcano". When a man's severed head is discovered by a dog, Grissom travels to the small town to investigate the killing. Fetch Gil! Good boy! (Repeat)

CHARLIE'S ANGELS (9 PM, ABC) Cameron Diaz, Lucy Liu and Drew Barrymore star as the new century's Angels (but Charlie is still the same guy.) Bill Murray cashed a check for this movie but couldn't come back for the sequel?



ENTERPRISE (8 PM, UPN) "E Squared". The crew of Enterprise encounter their descendants in the Expanse and find out who they had nookie with. Reed is saddened to find out that he didn't get it on with anyone, which only further strengthens the ENTERPRISE erotic fanfic stories being written about the character. (Repeat)

STARGATE SG-1 (9 PM, SCIFI) "Covenant". An influential businessman threatens to expose the Stargate program to the world so the SG-1 team has to bring him in on their secret.

STARGATE ATLANTIS (10 PM, SCI FI) "Home". Thanks to a chance event the Atlantis team is able to return back to Earth and see their loved ones...but can they ever get back to the Pegasus galaxy? By the way it's the series finale...OK, just kidding. They get back to Atlantis.

THE LATE LATE SHOW WITH CRAIG KILBORN (12:35 AM, CBS) After five years of five questions, tonight is Craig's final show. There's been no mention of any guests scheduled for Friday's broadcast but really, will he need any? Yer a good man, Kilborn, and I wish you luck on your next endeavor. As always, this section of TV Wasteland has been brought to you by Bounty, the quicker picker-upper!



LITTLE LEAGUE WORLD SERIES (7:30 PM, ABC) Oh, now it's on NBC! The American Broadcasting Corporation counters the National Broadcasting Corporation's Olympic coverage with the heavyhitters: cute kids playing America's national game. In a reactionary move, NBC counterattacks by forcing the Olympic committee to replace all the athletes with cute forest animals. (continues Sunday at 6:30.)

MADtv (11 PM, FOX) The ninth season finale is repeated this week, with funny men Fred Willard and David Alan Grier making guest spots. (Repeat)



THE SIMPSONS (8 PM, FOX) Marge's ex-boyfriend Artie Ziff (voiced by Jon Lovitz) loses all his money and begs to come live with the Simpsons. When Homer wins all of Artie's stock in a poker game, he becomes de factor owner of Ziff Industries, the Enron of the animated world. (Repeat)

TOMORROW NEVER DIES (9 PM, CBS) Pierce Brosnan's second outing as superspy James Bond has him butt heads against a media magnate that wants to control the world. Is big business really that bad, or is it MI-6 that are the unfair and unbalanced ones?

And with that comes the end of another edition of the Wasteland. We'll see you back here in one week for a dose of more retinal fallout.


TV Wasteland is our weekly Television column.


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