By Hal Boedeker
8:38 AM EDT, May 1, 2013
The highlights for the first Wednesday of the May sweeps:
1. The final four perform once again on Wednesday's edition of "American Idol." (Yes, it's going to seem a lot like last week, when no one went home.) Fox has two hours to fill, starting at 8. The results in recent weeks suggest that Amber Whitcomb may be the most vulnerable. Candice Glover and Kree Harrison looked like the probable last two, until Angie Miller pulled herself together to deliver soaring performances. Now Angie looks like the frontrunner. The other big drama: What can Fox do about the drop in ratings?
2. "Survivor," at 8 on CBS, will stage two tribal councils. With the Three Amigos down to two, Eddie and Reynold should be ready to leave. This long-running reality series has managed to turn mighty interesting in recent weeks. Kudos to executive producer Mark Burnett and his team.
3. ABC rolls out the premiere of "Family Tools" at 8:30. This painful sitcom plays a health crisis and worker incompetence for laughs. The show wastes J.K. Simmons as a sick father, Leah Remini as his meddling sister and Kyle Bornheimer as his inept son. Those fine actors deserve far better. But there's good news: ABC also has new episodes of "The Middle" at 8 (with guest star Jerry Van Dyke) and "Modern Family" at 9.
4. All the broadcast dramas are new at 10 because this is the May sweeps. "Chicago Fire" on NBC and "CSI" on CBS will be back next season. ABC hasn't announced what's ahead for "Nashville," but Rayna (Connie Britton) faces more romantic turmoil in tonight's episode. Her life is a country song. Yet the best drama in the time slot is "The Americans" on FX. This espionage thriller, set in 1980s Washington, concludes its first season. Here's hoping the stellar acting by Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys and Margo Martindale will be remembered by Emmy nominators.
5. "Arrow" won't get any Emmy love, but it sure has lifted spirits at The CW. The network's big freshman hit offers a new episode at 8. Star Stephen Amell's appeal cannot be underestimated. He has made many viewers forget tribal councils and singing contests.
6. If you're a fan of espionage expert Peter Bergen, who makes frequent appearances on CNN, you'll want to catch "Manhunt" at 8 on HBO. The documentary is based on his book of the same name, which carries the helpful subtitle "The Ten-Year Search for Bin Laden From 9/11 to Abbottabad."
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