Remote Possibilities: National Spelling Bee, a renewed 'Hannibal'

John Benjamin Hickey (facing Mads Mikkelsen, seen from back) guest stars on Thursday's "Hannibal"

If you're not already counting down the minutes to the championship rounds of the 86th annual National Spelling Bee (live on ESPN from 8-10 p.m.), the season finale of "Mike & Molly" airs more than a week late (8:30 p.m., CBS3). 

Pulled from Monday's schedule last week because it somehow involves a tornado and thus was deemed too close  to the real-life tragedies playing out in Oklahoma, it's on after a rerun of "The Big Bang Theory" at 8, which should help people find it on a different night, since viewers seem to follow Sheldon and Leonard wherever they go.

Also new Thursday: "Save Me" (8 and 8:30 p.m., NBC10), the Anne Heche sitcom that NBC's burning off as fast as it can, and "Hannibal" (10 p.m., NBC10), the drama about the cannibalistic serial killer Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) and his more than slightly deluded FBI consultant friend Will Graham (Hugh Dancy). Last I checked, the fate of "Hannibal" still hangs in the balance, with NBC still waiting to see if it will ask it back for next season. I'm still on the fence myself. As much as I love executive producer Bryan Fuller's work, I'd prefer to see this kind of artistry lavished on something that didn't involve so many splashily arranged corpses.

Oh, and for those who prefer a bit of carefully edited "reality," "Pawn Stars" returns to the History Channel at 9, on a new night and with a new original theme song from Lynyrd Skynyrd, titled "Winning Isn't Everything."

Ha. Tell it to "Hannibal." And "Save Me."

UPDATE: NBC has just renewed "Hannibal" for a second season. Here's the Thursday evening announcement:

UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. — May 30, 2013 — NBC has given a 13-episode second-season renewal to its critically applauded drama “Hannibal.” The new season will air no earlier than midseason.

“Hannibal” is based on the characters from the novel “Red Dragon” by Thomas Harris and was developed for television by Bryan Fuller, who also serves as writer and executive producer. 

The announcement was made by NBC Entertainment President Jennifer Salke.

“We’re so proud of Bryan’s vision for a show that is richly textured, psychologically complex, and very compelling,” Salke said. “There are many great stories still to be told.”

Critics have strongly embraced the series. Alan Sepinwall of said “Hannibal” “is the last of this season’s serial killer shows. It’s also, by a very wide margin, the best.” Jeff Jensen of Entertainment Weekly called “Hannibal” “finely acted, visually scrumptious and deliciously subversive” while Matt Roush of TV Guide said the show is “feverishly twisted, fascinatingly macabre and visually remarkable.”

The series stars Hugh Dancy as expert criminal profiler Will Dancy, who has a unique ability to peer into the mind of serial killers. Mads Mikkelsen stars as Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a psychiatrist who is helping with the cases and, unbeknownst to Will, is also a serial killer himself.

Laurence Fishburne stars as Jack Crawford, the head of the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit. Caroline Dhavernas and Hettienne Park also co-star.

Through its eight original telecasts to date, “Hannibal” is averaging a 2.0 rating, 6 share in adults 18-49 and 4.7 million viewers overall in “most current” results from Nielsen Media Research. ”Hannibal” is the youngest drama on ABC, CBS and NBC, with a median age for its audience of 45.7.  It’s also an upscale drama, indexing at a 111 among adults 18-49 living in homes with $100K+ incomes (with 100 indicating an average concentration of those homes).

Additionally, “Hannibal” is heavily time-shifted, with its 18-49 rating growing by 75% going from next-day “live plus same day” ratings to “live plus seven day” results.

In addition to Fuller, Martha De Laurentiis, Jesse Alexander, Chris Brancato, Sara Colleton, Katie O’Connell, Elisa Roth, Sidonie Dumas and Christophe Riandee also serve as executive producers. 

The series is produced by Gaumont International Television, Dino De Laurentiis Company and Living Dead Guy Productions, and co-commissioned internationally by Sony Pictures Television Networks.


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