LATE-NIGHT SHAKE-UP

The witty Jimmy Kimmel Live! makes it a three-way competition at bedtime

TALK

After 10 years in the post-midnight spot-a talk show wilderness where coyotes prowl the perimeter-ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live! has deservedly moved to 11:35 p.m. ET/PT, lining up against David Letterman's Late Show on CBS and Jay Leno's Tonight Show on NBC. Looking like an uncommonly shrewd penguin, the 45-year-old Kimmel is cooler (and younger) than his rivals, more slyly alert for punch lines-in that regard, at least, he's closer than anyone to the revered Johnny Carson. He isn't bringing much that's radically new to the game: A highly touted hour in which he was bound and gagged while Matt Damon took over-the culmination of their long-running "feud"-was mostly awful, one of those occasions when stars (including guests like Nicole Kidman) pretend to be hilarious good sports but reveal they have little flair for comedy. Ungagged, Kimmel is very funny. Out of all the gags about the unearthed bones of Richard III, his was my favorite: Offering to show us a forensic re-creation of the king's head, he cut to a clay bust of Lionel Ritchie from the famously kitschy "Hello" video. Kimmel won't have to say goodbye for a long time.

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Golden Boy

CBS, Fridays, 9 p.m. ET/PT |

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DRAMA

Downton Abbey enthusiasts may recognize Theo James, the star of this so-so cop series, as Kemal Pamuk, the playboy whose heart sputtered out while making love to Lady Mary. Minus the long hair, he looks like Rupert Everett in James Franco's body. Which is not a complaint. The problem is the show's concept: James plays New York City's youngest-ever police commissioner, and Boy (which airs Feb. 26 and March 5 before switching to Fridays) flashes back seven years to explain how ambition and cunning propelled him to the top. Beyond the pilot, though, it appears to be a blandly generic precinct drama, with James on a near-equal footing with his colleagues. It's Law & Order: Time-Travel Unit.

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THE ACADEMY AWARDS

Seth MacFarlane, the man behind FOX's Family Guy and the hit movie Ted, is the unusual choice to host this year. Also, Adele is singing! ABC, Feb. 24.

BOSTON'S FINEST

Docu-reality show about cops in Beantown. Nothin' fancy, and that's fine. Donnie Wahlberg narrates. TNT, Feb. 27.

MAKERS: WOMEN WHO MAKE AMERICA

Hillary Clinton is among the power players interviewed for this social history. Meryl Streep narrates. PBS, Feb. 26, check local listings.

The bayou hit Duck Dynasty (A&E, Wednesdays) moves at a contented, full-bellied pace. You expect to see moss festooning the men's ZZ Top beards as they go to work for the Robertson family's Duck Commander company. They make and sell duck calls, eat boudin sausage, gently tease each other and comb their fingers through their beards. If the show is as lazy as a lizard on a hot rock, that's also its charm.

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THIS IS THE SHOW'S FINAL SEASON. WHAT WAS THE LAST DAY ON-SET LIKE?

I cried. It's hard to say goodbye to the job that changed everything about me. I gave a speech thanking everyone for having faith in me. I was chosen to carry the legacy of Andy Whitfield [the original Spartacus, who died in 2011], and it's been an honor.

HOW HAS THE ROLE CHANGED YOU?

I was a dork who played video games all the time, and now I have no problem tearing myself away to train at the gym. I also got engaged to my girlfriend [singer Erin Hasan].

CONGRATS! HOW DID YOU PROPOSE?

I found the girl of my dreams. I designed the ring and proposed at Disney World. She loves Disney princesses, so I got her a dress and dressed up as Prince Charming. The wedding is going to happen early next year.

-PAUL CHI

YOUR MOM IS LEA THOMPSON. HOW WAS GUEST-STARRING ON HER SHOW?

Fun! I stole her parking space and was a love interest for her TV son, which was kind of incestuous in a way.

WERE YOUR PARENTS SUPPORTIVE OF YOUR ACTING?

They were reluctant when I was younger because they know what it can be like for kids when they don't have a normal childhood. Which I did.

AND HOW DO YOU DEFINE 'NORMAL'?

[Laughs] I live on Noah's Ark. We call it Deutchland. We have dogs, horses, cats, birds, chickens ... we're a self-sustaining commune just in case there's a revolution!

-MONICA RIZZO