Friday TV: Forgotten ‘Friends,’ Bigtime ‘Ferb,’ ‘Hit’ Finale

Some network series are treated even more poorly than, say, “Love Bites.”

“Friends with Benefits” (NBC, 8 and 8:30 p.m.), a comedy originally slated as a midseason show, never got to air until now – the dog days of summer — maybe because it seemed just another crude variation of the “Friends” formula except this time involving some desperate dating in Chicago.

With nothing to do with the recent Justin Timberlake-Mila Kunis film, the similarly named series stars Ryan Hansen from “Veronica Mars” and Danneel Ackles from “One Tree Hill” as friends who agree to sleep together casually until they find more permanent dates.

The comedy from producer Brian Grazer also starring Jessica Lucas and Zach Cregger, which is being burned off now two episodes at a time on Friday nights as a slightly less wasteful way of dumping them than direct to the bin.

For now, the new show allows an insight on network decisions gone wrong as you await their fall mistakes. Besides, you couldn’t repeat “America’s Got Talent” every night, even if some Americans, specifically network executives, don’t have much talent at all.

Two of the most popular characters on the Disney Channel mark their success with a feature length TV movie. “Phineas and Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension” (Disney Channel, 8 p.m.) has the odd-shaped characters meeting their dopplegangrs in another dimension. The show also pauses for a couple of big music numbers.

The least watched musical competition show of the season must have to be “Platinum Hit” (Bravo, 8 p.m.), the songwriters’ contest conducted by Jewel and former “American Idol” judge Kara DioGuardi. I know you haven’t been watching, so I’ll tell you that the finale is between three soulful Los Angelinos: Sonyae Elise, Scotty Granger and Jes Hudak. The winner gets $100,000, a publishing deal and recording contract.

A different kind of competition gets the spotlight in the new series “Whisker Wars” (IFC, 11 p.m.), illuminating the eye-opening workings of competitive beard growing. Billy Gibbons of Z.Z. Top is featured as a consultant.

When put up back to back, a rerun of “Nikita” (The CW, 8 p.m.) beats a new episode of “Flashpont” (CBS, 8 p.m.). But the repeat of the “Bones” (Fox, 8 p.m.) visit to the “Jersey Shore” (MTV, 9 p.m.) probably beats both of them.

The whalers’ factory ship is finally found in the season finale of “Whale Wars” (Animal Planet, 9 p.m.).

Jason Priestly joins the cast of “Haven” (Syfy, 10 p.m.).

Oprah’s latest attempt to spotlight ordinary folks comes with the new series highlighting “Extraordinary Acts of Courage” (OWN, 10 and 10:30 p.m.).

A summary of sorts comes on Shark Week with the countdown “10 Deadliest Sharks” (Discovery, 8 p.m.) followed by “How Sharks Hunt” (Discovery, 9 p.m.) and “Jaws Comes Home” (Discovery, 10 p.m.).

A new episode of “Pauly Shore’s Vegas is My Oyster” (Showtime, 10 p.m) features Andy Dick and Carrot Top. Sounds like a comedy trifecta.

John Garfield, subject of a documentary “The John Garfield Story” (TCM, 7 p.m.) precedes a night of his movies including “The Postman Always Rings Twice” ((TCM, 8 p.m.), “The Breaking Point” (TCM, 10 p.m.), “We Were Strangers” (TCM, midnight), “He Ran All the Way” (TCM, 2 a.m.) and “Destination Tokyo” (TCM, 3:30 a.m.).

A more modern treatment of that “Postman Always Rings Twice” sensibility can ve found in “Body Heat” (Cinemax, 9 p.m.).

Film producer Stephen K. Bannon, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, editor Joan Walsh, chef Anthony Bourdain and economics professor Christina Romer are all scheduled guests on “Real Time with Bill Maher” (HBO, 10 p.m.).

Craig Ferguson (CBS, 12:37 p.m.) ends his weeklong visit to Paris by dancing at the Moulin Rouge.

Daytime Talk

Regis and Kelly: Viola Davis, Kevin McHale, Marcela Valladolid. The View: James Franco, Freida Pinto, Andy Serkis, Alison Krauss & Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas. The Talk: Mary McCormack, Jason Rittter, Pat Harvey. Ellen DeGeneres: James Franco, Mario Lopez, Darius & Demetrice Gillespie (rerun). Wendy Williams: Mark McGrath, Lidia Bastianich.

Late Talk

David Letterman: Tom Hanks, Sleepy Man Banjo Boys (rerun). Jay Leno: Dennis Miller, Dennis Rodman, Rye Rye featuring Robyn. Jimmy Kimmel: Harrison Ford, Lady Gaga (rerun). Jimmy Fallon: Triple H., Voca People. Tavis Smiley: Bill Moers (rerun). Carson Daly: Todd Phillips, Bukc, Fitz & the Tantrums (rerun). Chelsea Handler: Taryn Manning, Josh Wolf, Gary Valentine, Matt Braunder (rerun).

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