Nuggets: NBC struggles in the ratings; Kiefer Sutherland returns to FOX

Was James Spader‘s debut on “The Office” a hit or miss? “On a show that has always trafficked in unease, the pathologically self-possessed California—as played by Spader in ramrod-straight-man mode—will serve as a fantastic source of anxiety. Carell’s Michael Scott could never figure out how to act around friends, colleagues, and potential paramours. This new iteration of ‘The Office’ is an inversion of that old formula: In season eight, the show’s ensemble will have to figure out how to behave around their inscrutable boss.” SLATE

85-year-old Tony Bennett became the oldest person on the Billboard Hot 100: “Tony Bennett has taken a wrecking ball to a handful of chart records thanks to the release of ‘Duets II’ and his historic single with Amy Winehouse (which was tragically the late Winehouse’s final recording). ‘Body and Soul,’ the duet with Winehouse, entered the Billboard Hot 100 at number 87, making Bennett the oldest living person to ever appear on that chart. He replaced George Burns, who charted with ‘I Wish I Was 18 Again’ back in 1980 at the sprightly age of 84.” EW.COM

Canada’s foreign-language Oscar entry, “Monsieur Lazhar” acquired by Music Box Films: “The film won the Audience Award at this summer’s Locarno Film Festival and was named Best Canadian Feature last week at the Toronto International Film Festival. Written and directed by Philippe Falardeau, ‘Monsieur Lazhar’ tells the story of an immigrant substitute teacher (played by Monhamed Fellag) who brings emotional stability to a middle school class shaken by the suicide of their well-liked teacher.” DEADLINE

All My Children‘s” ABC finale airs today: “As for the show’s future, [Susan] Lucci has yet to sign on for the version of ‘All My Children’ that will continue as a Web series — though her co-stars Cameron Mathison and Lindsay Hartley have — and in an update of her memoir, ‘All My Life,’ Lucci slams ABC daytime head Brian Frons‘ decision to cancel ‘AMC,’ saying Frons has ‘that fatal combination of ignorance and arrogance.’ But soap ratings have been declining for years — Mental Floss magazine has a great oral history of soaps that traces the genre’s decline, beginning with the O.J. Simpson trial — and when the also-canceled ‘One Life to Live‘ ends in January, there will be just four daytime soaps on ABC, CBS and NBC.” REUTERS

Emmy-winner Kiefer Sutherland returns to TV next spring in the FOX drama “Touch”: “According to the Los Angeles Times, he’ll play Martin Bohm ‘a widower who discovers that his mute 11-year-old son Jake has a special ability to see things and patterns that connect seemingly unrelated events—and it’s up to Martin to find the meaning in all of it.’ Which was basically the premise of ’24’s’ second season, except instead of a mute 11 year-old, he had a teenage daughter stuck in a cougar trap. The series was given a 13-episode commitment and will debut in the spring.” THE ATLANTIC

Low ratings for NBC comedies on Thursday night: “NBC’s 8-9 PM comedies, ‘Community‘ (1.7/5) and ‘Parks and Recreation‘ (2.0/8) were down 23% and 38%, respectively, from their premieres last year to post their lowest-rated openers to date. (‘Parks and Rec’ aired behind ‘The Office’ last season, which is contributing to the steeper decline.) ‘The Office’ (3.9/10), which resolved the cliffhanger of Michael Scott’s successor and introduced new leading man James Spader, was down 11%. At 9:30 PM, Whitney Cummings’ ‘Whitney’ (3.2/8) didn’t do as well as Cummings’ other new comedy series this season, ‘2 Broke Girls’ on CBS, but was was still solid, especially by NBC standards. Compared with last fall’s debut of ‘Outsourced’ in the time slot, it was down 11%. At 10 PM, the ‘Prime Suspect’ remake (1.8/5) marked the lowest-rated fall Thursday series debut ever on NBC. NBC (2.4/6, 5.7 million) finished fourth for the night.” DEADLINE

Army Wives” star Kim Delaney escorted off-stage at awards ceremony: “The actress appeared slightly disheveled and fumbled with her words as she delivered a speech that she appeared to deliver as her character from the Lifetime series … Gates, who was on hand to receive the Liberty Medal Award, appeared slightly uncomfortable in footage broadcast by Philadelphia ABC affiliate WPVI.” HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

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