TV 101: You can make yourself an expert tonight

By Tom Comi

Are you tired of walking into your office breakroom every day, only to find your-co-workers gathered around the water cooler talking about the latest television fads? Do you long for the chance to finally be part of those pop-culture conversations?

Well, tonight is one of those nights where you can do a crash-course on almost everything TV and present yourself tomorrow morning as the company’s resident expert. And the beauty is you really haven’t missed a thing up until this point. All you have to do is find out what happens on the respective shows, throw out a blanket opinion on each one and — Voila! — you are in with the in-crowds.

Before we recap tonight’s shows, let’s quickly explain why there is a rare blitzkrieg of programming coming to an end tonight and tomorrow. Every spring the networks go through Sweeps, which is when the TV ratings dictate what networks can charge companies to advertise in the future. The better a show does during this period, the more the network can charge. Hence, with Sweeps coming to an end this week, we are getting the season finales for almost every show.

There is one additional caveat. With so much going on, you are going to need to be a pro at setting your DVR and channel-surfing, and you will need to stay up pretty late to cram it all in. With that in mind, here are the season finales you should watch tonight (all times Eastern):

American Idol (Fox, 8-9pm): Country singers Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina duke it out in the final judged performances of the year. This is technically the first of a two-part finale, because the winner will be announced tomorrow night.

The Biggest Loser (NBC, 8-10pm): Not only do we find out tonight which contestants lost the most weight, but we bid farewell to trainer Jillian Michaels, who is leaving the show.

Dancing With the Stars (ABC, 9-11pm): The competitive dancing is over, the votes have been cast and tonight it will be determined whether its Hines Ward, Kirstie Alley or Chelsea Kane who walks away with the coveted title and trophy.

Glee (Fox, 9-10pm): Although it’s not a reality show, Glee does have a contest element to it this evening as the kids from the group New Directions take their singing talents to New York City for Nationals. Newcomers to the show won’t be able to pick up all of the ridiculous storylines by watching the finale, but you should be able to glean enough to hold your own at the water cooler tomorrow.

Good luck!


© 2010 Fox Broadcasting Co. Credit: Chris Cuffaro, Miranda Penn Turin, Joe Viles