Top Five: Ashley Judd Performs Possible Thursday Rescue for ABC

Ashley Judd and some savvy ABC scheduling personnel joined forces to hand the network something it’s been missing on Thursday nights — a possible, new hit series.

How Ashley’s new show does going forward, though, is a key question. Why? The answer is the very next thing you’ll read in this week’s Top Five.

1) “Missing” finds it audience: Ashley Judd plays a retired CIA agent who goes to Europe in search of her son, who’s gone missing while on some sort of summer internship in Italy.

Yeah, we rolled our eyes too when we first heard that ABC had cast Ashley Judd as a CIA agent. But Hollywood is a magic place where miracles do happen. “Missing” drew 10.56 million viewers in its debut Thursday night at 8/7c, according to the Nielsen overnights — a very nice number for ABC in a time period where it has suffered this season.

Credit goes, at least in part, to whomever decided to premiere “Missing” on that day — when it just so happened that the high-rated competition in the time period, “The Big Bang Theory” on CBS, was preempted for CBS’s traditional marathon coverage of NCAA basketball. How “Missing” will do when “Big Bang” comes back is anyone’s guess.

What was so great about “Missing”? You decide: You can watch the whole pilot episode here:
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2) The “Community” community: We keep reading about the “cult” following of people who apparently adore this NBC sitcom starring Joel McHale and Chevy Chase about a group of people who attend a community college somewhere. Well, the word “cult” is usually a nice way of saying a show’s ratings are low — which happens to be the case with “Community.”

However, it returned from a lengthy hiatus Thursday night and it did something in the 8 p.m. half-hour that “30 Rock” was incapable of doing most of the time — and that is: Drawing more than 4 million viewers. “Community” had 4.894 million, which wasn’t bad — at least by NBC standards. Maybe “Community” also benefited from the “Big Bang” black hole, but we won’t know about that until “Big Bang” returns.

In the meantime, enjoy Thursday’s episode of “Community”:
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3) Interpreting Martin Short: We have long loved Martin Short’s many appearances on David Letterman’s “Late Show” because this guy is the very embodiment of show business. When he comes on the “Letterman” show, he’s playing a part; call him “Showbiz Guy,” a man who spews insincere compliments and tells stories that he apparently makes up out of whole cloth.

And usually these are hilarious. Certainly, the yarn Marty spun this past Wednesday night that concerned a celebrity couple he called “Connie Chung and Maury Povich” — though he insisted it wasn’t them — was uproarious in the telling. But we were still confused: Was it Maury and Connie, or wasn’t it? Apparently, it wasn’t, according to Maury’s own press rep.

Still … Well, you watch this clip and decide for yourself:
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4) What can come out of this coming out? That’s the question as “Whitney” had a character come out this past Wednesday — not as gay and not as straight, but something in-between. He’s possibly bisexual, star Whitney Cummings told us on the phone this past week, but even she sounded uncertain. The real question is: Where do we go from here?

See how “Whitney” handled this unique coming-out on this week’s show:
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5) How much more fashion do we need? The answer to that question might be that we’ve just about reached our limit, as far as TV shows about fashion are concerned. And yet, here came NBC this week with yet another prime-time fashion competition — “Fashion Star,” featuring Jessica Simpson and Nicole Ritchie as judges.

Were viewers ready for another show that seemed spawned (or at least descended) from “Project Runway”? Well, if the ratings were any indication — 4.55 million viewers — the answer would be no. However, maybe some of you didn’t get to see it this week.

And so, for you, we have the entire show right here:
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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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