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Covert Affairs Pilot by TORY09

Covert Affairs TV

The third season premiere of FX's Sons of Anarchy last night drew 4.13 million million viewers, 2.81 million of them in the adults 18-49 demographic. That is a strong start though not a record for the biker drama and was down 4% in total viewers and 7% from last year's second season premiere. In fact, last night's Season 3 debut ranks as the third most-watched episode of Sons, behind the season 2 premiere and season 2 finale. But it also ranks as the highest-rated scripted basic cable telecast this year in 18-49.

Another third season opener, that of A&E’s unscripted series Hoarders, broke records for the network on Labor Day. The two back-to-back episodes (3.7 million viewers, 2.0 million adults 18-49; 3.8 million, 2.1 million 18-49) became the two most-watched episodes in A&E series history across all key demographics and ranked as the highest-rated season debut for any original series on A&E.

Airing against the season premiere of Sons, USA Network's freshman Covert Affairs (5.4 million, 2.1 million 18-49) was up from last week, 2% in total viewers and 6% in 18-49. Its lead-in, the Season 2 summer finale of White Collar (4.7 million, 1.8 million 18-49) drew its largest audience since the winter debut.

TV Editor Nellie Andreeva – tip her here.

We hope you enjoyed your three day weekend (if you got Monday off) despite the lack of new television. Last night we enjoyed the 100th episode of “Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations” which reviewed the last 6 seasons of the show, providing plenty of highlights and insight into how the shows were made and how the creators recalled the process of creation. It was refreshing to hear Bourdain and his producers admit to mistakes as well as wonder at the mystery as to why some episodes were so much more popular than others. We look forward to the next 100 episodes of this great show – congratulations and thank-you to Anthony Bourdain, his crew and producers, and the Travel channel for putting this on TV.

Tonight's the big night for the premiere of the third season of FX's “Sons of Anarchy” at 10pm. We made a video of the gorgeous media guide that FX sent us and posted it below. Be sure to check out our post from last week which included photos of almost the entire cast as well as video interviews with Charlie Hunnam, Ron Perlman, Kim Coates, Theo Rossi, and more. Tune in promptly at 10pm so that you don't miss the summary of events to bring you up to date with the premiere. We've seen the first several episodes and they're excellent. An unnecessary oversimplification would be: Shakespearean drama applied to a biker gang, backed by outstanding performances.

People are still a-twitter, literally, about Sunday's “Mad Men” episode, with some people saying that the 2011 Emmys should just be given to them already. Our attitude was one more of acknowledging that we finally had a remarkable episode for this season. It was debatable as to whether the show deserved the Emmy this year much less next. One excellent episode does not make a winning season – the show, despite the critical acclaim, has seen a slide in viewership of 40%. Our itchy remote finger has repeatedly switched us over to the 10/10:30pm comedies on HBO this summer.

Fans of USA's “Covert Affairs” should check out our video interview with producers Dave Bartis and Doug Liman at the end of this post. “Covert Affairs” has had a very strong season this summer – it airs at 10pm on USA.

Speaking of Emmys we've taken the sad tally of our picks for the Emmys and compared them to the winners: we scored 6 out of 19 but the Academy surprised us and picked 3 of _our_ preferred picks so can we add these to our Win column? That would make our success rate a much-preferred 50%. The big upsets were Kyra Sedgwick and Edie Falco winning. Even hardcore fans of Sedgwick and “The Closer” would have to admit that she's done much better performances in better-written seasons of that series. Our amusing anecdote about that win was that her husband, Kevin Bacon, told us to keep an eye on her statuette while I was washing up in the men's room – he placed it next to my sink.

As winner of Outstanding Actress in a Comedy, Falco herself admitted that she wasn't a comedic actress and that “Nurse Jackie” really isn't a comedy. She was our pick mainly because her performance was so outstanding that it didn't matter whether the show was a comedy or a drama. With the proliferation of “dramedies” (we hate that word) this is going to become a much more common occurrence.

The TV Junkie Plan: “White Collar”, “Sons of Anarchy”, “Louie”, “Louie”, Kimmel.