News Briefs: Last Man Standing Is a Hit

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... Tim Allen returned to television last night via the ABC sitcom Last Man Standing, and the show is a bona fide ratings smash despite being loathed by critics. Even our own monkeybrain gave it a negative review. An average of 13.19 million viewers watched Tim Allen act manly, and the show earned a 3.6 rating in the adult demo. That was good enough to take second place for the night, behind NCIS. But what's scary is that the show actually gained viewers over the course of its hour-long debut, topping out at 13.87 million viewers with a 3.9 rating in its final 15 minutes. [TV By the Numbers]

... CBS is doing well. Very well. According to Nielsen ratings, the home of NCIS and How to Be a Gentleman has twenty of the top thirty shows in total viewership and is leading in the 18-49 year old demographic. The shows that CBS cancels would be in the top five at NBC. [New York Times]

... Prime Suspect received some good news today: NBC has ordered six more scripts of the police drama starring Maria Bello, a good sign that NBC is thinking about extending the show's stay on the network. [EW]

... Magician David Blaine has pulled off his most amazing trick yet: convincing ABC that his life story could make a great television show! The illusionist is the inspiration behind In Like Fin, a new drama from Castle producer Alexi Hawley. But because card tricks and corsages that squirt water in your eyes aren't enough fodder for a series, the network is adding a little wrinkle to Blaine's life: On the show, he'll be recruited by the government to become a covert operative. Yep, he's a secret agent magician. [THR]

... ABC bought another project based on the life of a celeb. This time it's High School Musical star Ashley Tisdale. Isn't it nice to see shows based on the life of 26-year-olds? They have so much to teach us! Under Construction stars a young woman (obviously) who moves back home to help her dad fix up an old house. Really? [Deadline Hollywood]

... Katherine Heigl is producing a CW show called Trending, about a woman who anticipates the hottest trends for her corporate clients "but finds it difficult to predict the trends in her love life." Barf. [Deadline Hollywood]


... Tricia Helfer has a new acting job! The Battlestar Galactica hottie has landed the lead female role on TNT's Scent Of The Missing. She'll play a K-9 Search and Rescue volunteer who works with her Golden Retriever. Gerald McRaney will play her father—Helfer's father, not the dog's, but that would be pretty cool. [Deadline Hollywood]

... Celebrity Apprentice news! Wait! Don't skip to the next item! Aww, come on. You don't like Celebrity Apprentice? But you'll never guess who's gonna be on it this time! Come on just read this. I promise it'll be worth your time. Okay, here goes: '80s popstar Debbie Gibson and former American Idol contestant Clay Aiken! Yeah, you're right. It wasn't worth it. Sorry. [People]

... Pan Am SMASH! Gaius Charles, who played hotshot running back Smash Williams on Friday Night Lights, will play a soldier who "opens Laura's eyes to the world," which is a fancy way of saying he'll "smooth-talk his way into her pants." Or girdle, maybe? Look for him to fly in November. [TV Line]

Follow writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

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