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Of syndication and second chances

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Syndication gives fans a chance to see more of their favorite shows, and it's also a way to attract potential new fans. Most shows in syndication are still on the air, so if people see them often enough that way -- when airings can top half a dozen episodes on a given night -- there's a chance they'll start watching new episodes as they premiere.

In fact, according to a Jan. 10 Hollywood Reporter story, "The Big Bang Theory" executive producer Steve Molaro said he believes TBS' repeats of the show (16-18 a week) are part of the reason why it's still posting record numbers six seasons in. Its most recent episode earned the biggest ratings to date with 20 million viewers, and it has overtaken "Modern Family" as the No. 1 primetime comedy.

Speaking of "Big Bang Theory," so many people I know, including several with whom I share other TV interests, rave about it. Because of that, and since it's so readily available, I recently decided to give it a shot.

I can't really say why I didn't watch sooner. Maybe it's because, when it first premiered, it was on Monday nights, opposite my beloved "Chuck." Then, when it moved in 2010, it relocated to Thursdays, where it has shared time with NBC's "Community" and "30 Rock," which were already locked into my schedule as some of my favorite sitcoms.

I set my DVR to record all the episodes on Fox and any on TBS that didn't interfere with other things I was already recording. In about a week and a half, I had amassed at least two dozen episodes.

I've watched most of them and, while I think the show is fairly funny, I can't say that I'm now a fan. Obviously, comedy is subjective (perhaps more than any other genre), and I'm well aware that, given the numbers I mentioned above, I'm in the minority with my opinion.

However, while I think it's a fine way to pass time while doing other things, what I've seen doesn't have me rolling with laughter or clamoring to tune into new episodes when the show airs at 8 p.m. Thursdays on CBS.

Sorry, but at that time, I'll be watching "30 Rock" and "Community" instead. (The "30 Rock" series finale is Jan. 31; "Community" premieres Feb. 7.)

"30 Rock" isn't as ubiquitous as "Big Bang Theory," but it still pops up plenty in syndication on Comedy Central, The CW and WGN. "Community" won't be in syndication until the fall, when it starts on Comedy Central, but in the meantime, there's always Hulu Plus.

Even if you end up not liking a show you watch in syndication, it can't hurt to give shows you haven't seen a shot. I didn't find a new obsession in "Big Bang Theory," but you just might.

•••

Network series premieres: "The Following," 9 p.m. Monday, Fox (serial-killer thriller starring Kevin Bacon as an FBI agent chasing an escaped serial killer and his cult of crazed fans); "The Taste," 8 p.m. Tuesday, ABC (cooking competition)

Cable series premieres: "Legit," 10:30 p.m. Thursday, FX (crass sitcom about a comedian seeking legitimacy in his life and career); "King of the Nerds," 10 p.m. Thursday, TBS (nerds battle for top honors); "Best Week Ever," 10 p.m. Friday, VH1 (pop-culture rundown; back after 4 years); "Ripper Street," 9 p.m. Saturday, BBC America (police drama set in 1889 London); "Chasing the Saturdays," 10 p.m. Sunday, E! (all-girl British pop group); "Edge of America," 9 p.m. Tuesday, Travel (investigation of bizarre forms of fun); "Kimora: House of Fab," 9 p.m. Wednesday, Style (online fashion company); "Street Eats," 10 p.m. Wednesday, Travel (street food vendors).

Season premieres: "Anger Management," 9 p.m. Thursday, FX; "The First 48: Missing Persons," 9 p.m. Thursday, A&E; "Archer," 10 p.m. Thursday, FX; "Kourtney and Kim Take Miami," 9 p.m. Sunday, E!; "Lizard Lick Towing," 10 p.m. Monday, Tru TV; "Our America with Lisa Ling," 10 p.m. Tuesday, OWN.

Returning: "Parks and Recreation," 8:30 p.m. Thursday, NBC; "Suits," 10 p.m. Thursday, USA; "Nikita," 8 p.m. Friday, CW; "Level Up," 8 p.m. Tuesday, Cartoon Network; "White Collar," 10 p.m. Tuesday, USA; "Necessary Roughness," 10 p.m. Wednesday, USA.

Season finales: "Project Runway All-Stars," 9 p.m. Thursday, Lifetime; "Good Luck Charlie," 8 p.m. Sunday, Disney; "Parenthood," 10 p.m. Tuesday, NBC; "American Horror Story," 10 p.m. Wednesday, FX.

Series finales: "Fringe," 8 p.m. Friday, Fox; "Private Practice," 10 p.m. Tuesday, ABC.

Specials: "Prosecuting Casey Anthony," 8 p.m. Saturday, Lifetime (TV movie starring Rob Lowe); "Attenborough's Life Stories: Life on Camera," 8 p.m. Wednesday, PBS (part 1 of 3; revisiting key places and events in his career)

Of note: Lance Armstrong on "Oprah's Next Chapter," 9 p.m. Thursday and Friday, OWN; Oscar nominee Jennifer Lawrence hosts "Saturday Night Live," 11:30 p.m. Saturday, NBC.

Reach Amy Robinson at flipside@wvgazette.com.


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