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Fox Joins On Demand, Prompting “Bad,” “Mad” Search

Jon Hamm

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If you’re like me and turn on the TV at night, you’ll often have trouble finding anything worth watching.
This is especially true if you are allergic to NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” and its judges – Howie Mandel, Piers Morgan and Sharon Osbourne.
So that’s one reason why I was happy to hear from Time Warner Cable Tuesday that Fox has finally joined ABC, CBS and NBC and become part of Prime Time On Demand.
Upon hearing the news, I quickly turned to TWC’s Channels 705 (high definition) and 1005 (standard definition) to see what Fox programs was offering via PTOD.
PTOD regulars often can use the Rolling Stones old lament – “you can’t always get what you want” – when it comes to On Demand offerings.
ABC doesn’t offer broadcast TV’s best comedy, “Modern Family,” On Demand but it does offer Jimmy Kimmel Live. CBS offers all three “CSI” series and the two “NCIS” series but I still haven’t seen the much-talked about season finale of “The Mentalist” because that show isn’t On Demand.
Fox’s initial On Demand lineup is limited to “Family Guy,” “American Dad,” “Hell’s Kitchen,” “COPS” and “Fringe.” And when I clicked on “COPS” and “Fringe,” I was told that no episodes are available. ”Bones” and ”House” are nowhere to be found. Actually, that’s not true. Repeats have been sold to cable channels.
Things are bound to improve as Fox expands its On Demand offerings.
The mere exercise of looking to see what Fox offers On Demand inspired me to look beyond Prime Time On Demand to see what cable series on Channel 926 are offered On Demand for free.
And I was astonished to see what I had missed all summer on nights when I was desperate for something – anything — to watch.
The biggest surprise was seeing that the second season premiere of the pay-cable series “The Big C” with Laura Linney is being offered via a Showtime free preview to non-subscribers. Similarly, the premiere of “The Borgias” is offered for free. Presumably, Showtime’s goal is for viewers to be so entertained by these free previews that they sign up for the service.
MTV offers several series, including “Jersey Shore,” which just had a record-setting season premiere. I’d rather watch Howie Mandel for 10 minutes than Snooki but some of you might want to see what all the fuss is about. And later explain it to me.
AMC offers the first four episodes of Bryan Cranston in this season’s “Breaking Bad,” which lost me with its incredibly violent season opener. I’ll probably go back some time for episode 2. The channel also is offering four repeat episodes of “Mad Men” for those viewers who can’t wait until March of 2012 to see new ones with Jon Hamm (see above) and company.
FX, the Fox basic cable that has been On Demand well before its network parent, is offering three episodes of the current final season of “Rescue Me” if you want to catch up with the craziness surrounding Tommy Gavin (Denis Leary) and his family in the firehouse and out. I highly recommend it as long as you don’t mind occasionally tasteless (but funny) humor. Speaking of which, FX also offers episodes of “Louie,” which recently earned some Emmy nominations for star Louis C.K. for his acting and writing in the series’ first season.
BBC America is offering “Dr. Who,” which still has quite a cult following.
If you missed the premiere of the new Lifetime drama, “Against the Wall,” you can go to Channel 926 and select it.
“South Park” episodes are available via Comedy Central, “The Glee Project” is available via Oxygen, “The Real Housewives of NYC” is available via Bravo and the Debt Ceiling Debates are on via C-Span.
OK, I lied about C-Span. It doesn’t make the list but some programs on channels with limited viewership – Oprah’s OWN anyone ?– are On Demand.
So thank you Fox for finally joining Prime Time On Demand and reminding me where to go when I can’t find anything worth watching on live TV.
pergament@msn.com

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