View from the Couch

on the tube
Conan O’Brien returns to NBC beginning June 1st. The late night funnyman is taking over Jay Leno’s helm at The Tonight Show (don’t worry; Jay will be back in the fall). — USA unveils their promising new original series Royal Pains on June 4th. The show is about a former ER doctor who takes a job as an on-call physician for the social elite in the Hamptons. — New Showtime dramedy Nurse Jackie (June 8) stars Edie Falco as a strong-willed, drug-addicted nurse juggling the grind of an urban hospital and an equally challenging personal life. — Say your last goodbyes to Pushing Daisies. The whimsical ABC series ends on June 13th. Prepare for even more sadness when the final episodes of Eli Stone begin airing on June 20th. — Several awards shows will be airing this month. See the Tony Awards on June 7th (CBS), the 2009 CMT Music Awards on June 16th(CMT) and Spike TV’s Guys Choice 2009 on June 21st. — ABC has a few new shows this summer as well. Impact (June 21) is a miniseries that centers on a small group of international astronauts, scientists and soldiers who band together to save Earth from the approaching Moon. On June 23rd ABC revives the 1970s series Superstars, a show that has some of the biggest names in sports teaming up with celebrities to compete in a variety of tough physical challenges. — NBC is unveiling three new shows in June. The Listener (June 4) is a Canadian series about a paramedic who has the ability to read peoples’ thoughts. We’re transported to Camelot when Merlin hits airwaves on June 21st. The fantasy drama shows the beginnings of Merlin and Arthur’s legendary relationship. Finally there’s The Philanthropist (June 24), which chronicles the heroic adventures of a billionaire playboy turned vigilante philanthropist. — The racy new HBO series Hung (June 28) is about a well-endowed high school basketball coach who figures out a way to take advantage of his physical gift. — Finally, many channels are bringing back some of their original programming for the summer including USA’s Burn Notice (June 4), Showtime’s Weeds (June 8) and HBO’s True Blood (June 14).

Need to know info
Television stations nationwide will begin broadcasting exclusively in a digital format by June 12th. On the plus side, the switch will mean crystal-clear picture and sound, and more programming choices than ever before. But millions of households risk losing television reception altogether unless they take the steps to receive a digital signal. So what do you need to do?
Well, if you already subscribe to cable or satellite service, you’re all set. But, if you’re in one of the 70 million households that use an antenna to watch TV or have secondary television sets in your bedroom or kitchen that aren’t hooked up to cable, you’ll need to do something before the 12th to ensure you won’t miss your favorite shows. You have three options: get cable, buy a TV set with a built-in digital tuner or purchase a DTV converter box for your existing set.
Since times are tough and money is tight, a converter box is probably your cheapest option. Congress created a TV converter box coupon program which allows U.S. households to obtain up to two coupons, each worth $40, which can be applied toward the cost of eligible converter boxes. The bad news is those applying for coupons this late will be placed on a waiting list until funding becomes available to send out more.
In the end, the headaches and the money spent will all be worth it. TV stations will improve their services with enhanced closed captioning, better pictures and sound, and offer several channels of programming at the same time. That’s a better TV experience for all. For more information on the digital switch and the coupon program, visit

DVD Releases
June 2
Avenging Angelo (Rated R)
Revolutionary Road (Rated R)
Defiance (Rated R)
He’s Just Not That Into You (Rated PG-13)

June 9
Gran Torino (Rated R)

June 16
Friday the 13th (Rated R)
Nerdcore Rising (Not Rated)

June 23
Bob Funk (Rated R)
Confessions of a Shopaholic (Rated PG)
The Code (Rated R)
Inkheart (Rated PG)

June 30
Princess Protection Program (Rated G)
Two Lovers (Rated R)
Jonas Brothers: The Concert Experience (Rated G)