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With "60 Minutes" and Grammys, CBS Does Itself Doubly Proud -- Next Step, Timberlake TV?
February 9, 2009  | By David Bianculli
 

Sadly, the broadcast networks these days seem to be doing less and less of what makes them special and valuable, rather than more and more. But last night, with 60 Minutes and the Grammys, CBS served up 4.5 hours of phenomenal television, and pure class.

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First came Katie Couric's leadoff 60 Minutes piece, on the captain, crew and passengers of the US Airways flight that ditched successfully in the Hudson. Couric didn't get in the way of this story, or over-extend her own screen time. She just let this astounding story tell itself -- and it was an amazing, emotional one. Pilot Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger and his crew, reunited by CBS with some of the surviving passengers, were a joy to watch.

If you didn't shed a tear watching that report, your "jaded factor" needs some recalibration.

Similarly, if you watched the Grammys and didn't find something to your liking, and something new to savor, you must not have watched for very long. Ken Ehrlich, the best musical TV producer in the business, approaches each Grammy telecast like a wedding: something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. (Or, at least, something blues.)

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Some of the inspired pairings, like Grammy winners Alison Krauss and Robert Plant, come pre-packaged. Others, like Paul McCartney and Dave Grohl or youngsters Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus, are teamed specifically for the occasion. All were fun to watch, and hear -- and Justin Timberlake amazed me again, this time in separate sets with Al Green and T.I.

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Ehrlich and CBS, or some other producer and network, should consider this: Sign Timberlake to a series of semiannual variety specials, and let him showcase his skills -- musical and comedic -- with the best guest stars he can gather. Which, given his status and artistry, ought to be the best in the business.

The variety special, in the hands of Timberlake and Ehrlich, could make an instant comeback.

 
 
 
 
 
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