Saturday TV: How’d ‘Carvey Show’ Fail?

Too-Funny-to-Fail-insideHow could this go wrong? Dana Carvey, fresh from “Saturday Night Live” was given a chance to do his own prime time sketch comedy show on ABC in 1996, co creating it with Robert Smigel of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog fame. Louis C.K. was head writer, as was later screenwriting whiz Charlie Kaufman. Greg Daniels, who’d create the American “The Office” contributed material. The cast included two new faces to comedy — Stephen Colbert and Steve Carrell, as well as Bob Odenkirk.

And yet, it rubbed the viewers of the popular lead-in comedy, “Home Improvement” the wrong way. And the sponsors. And eventually the network, who didn’t even air all 10 of the planned episodes, yanking it at seven.

Now there’s a documentary about how it all went wrong, “Too Funny to Fail” (Hulu, streaming).

Much more successful in the 1990s was half the pop team called Wham! His story is told in another documentary tonight, “George Michael: Freedom” (Showtime, 9 p.m.) in which he narrates the story of his success until his 1990 album “Listen Without Prejudice, Vol. 1.” Michael died last Christmas at 53.

A movie from the 1980s gets a remake, by Melissa Joan Hart of all people (perhaps Clarissa will explain it all).  Anjelica Huston stars in the stab at “The Watcher in the Woods” (Lifetime, 8 p.m.).

Hillary Clinton wears a cast when she appears on “The Graham Norton Show” (BBC America, 10 p.m.) — her only appearance before she canceled stops on her book tour in London after an injury. Also on the show: Jeff Goldblum, Gerard Butler, Jack Whitehall and Gregory Porter.

It’s college football, mostly, on prime time network TV tonight with Michigan at Penn State (ABC, 7:30 p.m.), USC at Notre Dame (NBC, 7:30 p.m.) and Kansas at TCU (Fox, 8 p.m.). Other games listed below.

Sheldon Simeon of “Top Chef” takes a trip to the Philippines on “Family Ingredients” (PBS, 10 p.m., check local listings).

The death of a transgender woman 20 mile from Cleveland is considered on “Swamp Murders” (Investigation Discovery, 10 p.m.).

A dog wins the heart of “Dr. Jeff: Rocky Mountain Vet” (Animal Planet, 9 p.m.).

Dirk, Todd and Farah are reunited for an investigation on “Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency” (BBC America, 9 p.m.).

A wedding planner runs into an old boyfriend in her hometown – which is the plot of just about every romance they run — on the new “A Harvest Wedding” (Hallmark, 9 p.m.). With Jill Wagner and Victor Webster.

The horror movie “Stickman” (Syfy, 9 p.m.) concerns a scary being under the bed that may or may not have been responsible for one girl’s sister’s death. With Hayley Law, Sara Garcia and Zoe de Grand Maison.

“John Wick: Chapter 2” (HBO, 8 p.m.), with Keanu Reeves, Ian McShane and Laurence Fishburne,  makes its premium cable debut, as does “Lie” (Starz, 8 p.m.) with Jake Gyllenhaal and Ryan Reynolds.

English actress Celia Johnson gets the spotlight on Turner Classic Movies tonight with “Brief Encounter” (8 p.m.), “The Astonished Heart” (9:45 p.m.) and “In Which We Serve” (11:30 p.m.). Then it’s all about rats with “Willard” (TCM, 2 a.m.) and “Ben” (3:45 a.m.), which does have that Michael Jackson theme song.

It’s come to this: The deciding game 7 of the American League Championship Series, with Yankees at Houston (Fox Sports 1, 8 p.m.).

NBA action includes Golden State at Memphis (NBA, 8 p.m.) and Phoenix at Clippers (NBA, 10:30 p.m.).

NASCAR has the running of the Kansas Lottery 300 (NBC, 3 p.m.).

College football games at noon include Oklahoma State at Texas (ABC), Maryland at Wisconsin (Fox), Iowa State at Texas Tech (Fox Sports 1), Louisville at Florida State (ESPN), Iowa at Northwestern (ESPN2), Tulsa at UConn (ESPNU) and Temple at Army (CBS Sports).

Games at 3:30 p.m. include Tennessee at Alabama (CBS), Indiana at Michigan State (ABC), Syracuse at Miami (ESPN), North Carolina at Virginia Tech (ESPN2), Central Florida at Navy (CBS Sports) and Arizona State at Utah (Fox Sports 1).

Later, it’s Oklahoma at Kansas State (Fox, 4 p.m.), SMU Cincinnati (ESPNU, 4 p.m.), South Florida at Tulane (ESPN2, 7 p.m.), BYU at East Carolina (CBS Sports, 7 p.m.), LSU at Mississippi (ESPN, 7:15 p.m.), Wake Forest at Georgia Tech (ESPNU, 7:30 p.m.), Wyoming at Boise State (ESPN2, 10:15 p.m.), Fresno State at San Diego State (CBS, 10:30 p.m.) and Colorado at Washington State (ESPN, 10:45 p.m.).

The Zac Brown Band plays a new “Austin City Limits” (PBS, 11 p.m., check local listings).

The season premiere of “Saturday Night Live” (NBC, 11:30 p.m.), with Ryan Gosling and Jay-Z, which fell a little flat, gets a replay a month later.


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