The eleventh season of Big Brother has performed fairly well in the ratings -- well enough that CBS has already announced the show will be back next summer, an earlier pickup than it usually gets. But aside from the lack of viewer fatigue (there were two editions of BB in calendar year 2008) it's not easy to single out exactly why the season worked. Despite having a Ph.D in the game, the overall house IQ seemed lower than ever. And who could possibly guess what the producers were thinking when they decided to bring back Jessie, even though he was nothing close to a fan favorite in Season Ten.
The end of Big Brother for another summer comes Tuesday (CBS, 9 p.m.) with the first ever two-hour finale. As of this writing, either Jordan or Kevin will be the final head of household, with Natalie also an option for the last HoH to take to the end. This presents a real dilemma for viewers. Jordan and Kevin are relatively likable (if flawed), but either would easily be the weakest champion in show history. Natalie was by far the shrewdest player in the house and would be a much more deserving winner, but her unmotivated nastiness, lack of perspective, self-righteousness, and utter humorlessness make her impossible to root for. At least Julie Chen got through the season without having her baby on camera...knock on wood.
Also this week:
Monday: The Jay Leno Show (NBC, 10 p.m. on all weekdays): A new era in television history dawns, for better or worse, as the former Tonight Show host debuts the first primetime weeknight talk show on one of the big networks. Jerry Seinfeld is the primary guest, and the trio of Jay-Z, Kanye West, and Rihanna will perform "Run This Town." Sending a message there, Jay?
Wednesday: America's Got Talent (NBC, 8 p.m.): Susan Boyle will appear on the fourth season finale, which only goes to show that AGT is not quite the equal of Britain's Got Talent when it comes to making news, not even in this country. Possible winners, in order of likelihood: the Texas Tenors, Recycled Percussion, and Barbara Padilla.
Thursday: Survivor: Samoa (CBS, 8 p.m.): A 19th season of scheming amidst the bugs and rats commences, with the franchise returning to the beach after two seasons inland. The setup reflects Jeff Probst's increasing preoccupation with the nature of leadership in the game, as both tribes will be forced to select a "chief" at first sight, without even speaking to one another.
Friday: Eureka (Syfy, 9 p.m.): The season finale finds the residents of Eureka puzzled by a magnetic something-or-other hovering over the town. I blame Al Gore. Also, Zoe gets ready for college life, and Tess contemplates taking a job abroad.
Saturday: Georgia O'Keeffe (Lifetime, 9 p.m.): Joan Allen stars as the painter who set the world of American art on its ear after World War I with a series of provocative paintings (spoiler: they kinda looked like girly parts). Jeremy Irons plays Alfred Stieglitz, the photographer who was her mentor and eventual husband.
Sunday: 61st Emmy Awards (CBS, 8 p.m.): The people who run the Emmys want to keep us more entertained this year, which is bad news for writers and all sorts of other non-red carpet types, who have been banished from the primetime part of the show. But bringing on Neil Patrick Harris as host was a terrific idea. Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Karina Smirnoff will dance a dance of the brokenhearted.