Much of TV this week felt like an extension of the two-week London Olympics.
That was especially true on NBC, where the late-night shows (plus “The Today Show”) hosted a continuous parade of U.S. Olympians who had returned home, usually with gold medals around their necks.
The first Olympians to get the late-night star treatment this week: gymnastics champion Gabby Douglas and basketballers James Harden and Kevin Durant.
1) Gabby meets the First Lady: Truth is, Gabby Douglas had already met First Lady Michelle Obama somewhere else – as Gabby told Jay Leno on Monday’s “Tonight Show.” Nevertheless, Leno had them both on the same show that night, with the First Lady getting top billing, and coming on the show as first guest. After “The Tonight Show,” Gabby flew to New York to appear on David Letterman’s “Late Show” Tuesday night with the rest of the U.S. women’s gymnastics team. Then on Wednesday, Gabby was seen again on NBC – this time on “America’s Got Talent.”
2) “Thunder”-ous applause for hoop stars: Right after “The Tonight Show” on Monday, Jimmy Fallon’s “Late Night” started its own string of Olympic appearances with two members of the gold medal-winning basketball Dream Team – Kevin Durant and James Harden, both of the Oklahoma Thunder. Their appearance demonstrated the pitfalls of booking celebrities on a late-night show so soon after they’d come off of a trans-Atlantic flight. Not only were these two a tad jet-lagged, but they were evidently also tired from celebrating their gold-medal victory the day before, in London.
3) Meanwhile, back in America: We had other serious concerns this past week besides the triumphant returns of our champion Olympians. Among other things, we were very concerned with the mental well-being of a heartthrob movie actor, Robert Pattinson of the “Twilight” movies, as he turned up on a couple of talk shows to promote a new movie. And we wondered: What would he say about his broken heart – which got that way when his girlfriend, “Twilight” co-star Kristen Stewart, cheated on him?
4) But wait, there’s more: One of our favorite shows and one of our favorite characters of all time, “The Closer,” said good-bye. In its place came a new police procedural on TNT that looked an awful lot like “The Closer,” except Kyra Sedgwick was gone and Mary McDonnell had taken over the Major Crimes squad. We’re undecided if we like this new “Major Crimes” or not (though we’re willing to give it a few more episodes before saying yea or nay).
5) And that’s not all: What would summer be without a mid-August hog hunt? Well, it wouldn’t be American TV, circa 2012, would it? And so, in case you missed it, one of our favorite hog-hunting reality shows returned this past week. Yes, we said “one of our favorites” because, for a while there, we had several of these feral pig-hunt shows to choose from. This one is the one on A&E – “American Hoggers” – and we just happen to have the whole shootin’ match here for you to watch.