Americans Can't Get Enough British Television

Today: PBS has another British hit, Lifetime renews a sexy series, and NBC makes some early orders.

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The Call Sheet sifts through the day's glut of Hollywood news to find the stories even non-industry types care about. Today: PBS has another British hit, Lifetime renews a sexy series, and NBC makes some early orders.

For those of you who thought that the Stateside success of the ITV/PBS co-rolled joint Downton Abbey — about an English country estate whose chief export is scandal — was just some weird hiccup or fluke, that we'd all soon be back to watching Rules of Engagement or other American entertainments, it seems you thought wrong. PBS has another big British hit on its hands, as the second season (or "series," if you're a limey/unmarried TV blogger) of Sherlock, a modern take on the great detective stories starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, premiered last night to a whopping 3.2 million viewers. And that number doesn't even include people who watched rebroadcasts or tuned in on their DVRs. So that's pretty big. I mean, that's more than Mad Men, y'know? (Everything is more than Mad Men, though, since nobody watches Mad Men.) So look for PBS to continue facilitating a British invasion while also, maybe maybe maybe, developing new series of their own. How about something like C.S.I.: Northampton, or Palo Alto Five-O? Those could work! Or they could just do a show called British People Grimacing and Kissing and it would probably do better than True Blood. We'll have to wait and see. [TV By the Numbers]

Oh but don't worry, not everything on American television is going classy-ish. Lifetime: Television For Half-Asleep Divorcees has gone and renewed its Jennifer Love Hewitt handjob series The Client List for a second season. So she'll be giving out more handjobs and there will be more synth music and more candles and lots more embarrassment. For example: If you call your mom and she's got a Sunday to herself and you ask her what she's going to be doing and she says, "Oh you know, reading a little, watching some TV," then that means she is reading Fifty Shades of Grey and later watching The Client List and you're going to just have to deal with that knowledge. I'm sorry. [Los Angeles Times]

James Cromwell has been added to the mental asylum-set second season of American Horror Story, as a creepy farmer who talks to pigs doctor who often spars with the institution's owner, who will be played by Jessica Lange. So that will be fun! To see these two old willow trees go to battle every week until one or both of them dies gruesomely. No, they're not playing a married couple, ladies and germs! Thanks, I'm here all week. Try the veal. [Deadline]

NBC has *officially* picked up two series in advance of its upfronts presentation next week: The gay dudes get a surrogate baby comedy The New Normal (created by Ryan Murphy, featuring Ellen Barkin), which could be fun or could be a Ryan Murphy show. And the Anne Heche sitcom Save Me, about a woman walking around in a highway ditch calling herself an alien god. No, no, sorry, sorry, that joke is so old (but so funny... :/). It's not about that, Anne. Sorry. It is about, "a woman who lets herself – and her marriage – go until she undergoes an 'awakening' that transforms her spiritually and physically into a desirable and outspoken woman who just might be channeling god." Oh. Um. Huh. I. So... not sorry? [Deadline]

Oooo wooooo!!! (Is that how you type a wolf sound?) Here is a preview for the second season of MTV's distressingly addictive series Teen Wolf. The subtitle for this season could be "Everyone's a Werewolf Now" because apparently everyone's a werewolf now. They're just all werewolves. Used to be the show was about one teen wolf, now it's about a lot of teen wolves. Teen Wolves. Anyhoo, all your old friends are back, like Cute Guy and Pretty Girl and Pretty Guy and Cute Girl. Plus Michael Hogan from Battlestar Galactica and Seth Gilliam from The Wire, which isn't depressing for them at all, to go from those great shows to the second season of Teen Wolf 2: We're All Teen Wolves Now. Enjoy!

And here are two promos released last night for the upcoming Will Ferrell/Zach Galifianakis election parody movie The Campaign, and hmm. Don't a lot of the jokes seem oddly broad and old and obvious? And, like, not that sharp? The movie is directed by Austin Powers' Jay Roach (who also did HBO campaign movies Recount and Game Change), and it stars Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis, so it wasn't going to be In the Loop exactly, but I dunno. Judging from these two ads, themselves fake ads, it seems like the humor is not terribly clever or anything. Why not just make a movie with Will Ferrell's Bush impersonation, rather than just slightly tweak it and then throw in Zach Galifianakis doing some silliness as a gonzo... what? Tea Partier? What kind of candidate is he supposed to be? It just doesn't really make sense. Which is a shame, because fictional comedy movies about goofballs starring goofballs really have the power to genuinely change our political discourse. Oh well.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.