Pat Clark

Scene & Heard: ‘American Crime’ gets new season; ‘Idol’ to be axed

The Modesto-set TV drama “American Crime” ended its season Thursday night, on the heels of the news that ABC has renewed the series for a second season.

Press time came too early for this section for me to comment on how the critically acclaimed show ended. Besides, a lot of people won’t have watched the finale yet anyway, if I’m in the norm – usually a few days to a week behind when it comes to watching most shows, thanks to the handy dandy DVR.

Given the risky business that the broadcast network took with the edgy, racially charged series, combined with a ratings roller coaster over the 11-week run, renewal was no sure thing.

Since “American Crime” is an anthology series, it is unlikely in the new season to keep its Modesto setting, which – aside from a handful of canned shots generally taken around Ninth Street – was borderline perfunctory. Still, the show from “12 Years a Slave” producer John Ridley remained well made and very well acted through its short run.

Along with a second-season green light, expect the show to be on the short list for Emmy nominations later this year.

Meanwhile, Fox dropped a heavy preliminary ax earlier this week, announcing that its breakthrough and longtime mega-hit music competition show, “American Idol,” will not be returning after its upcoming season, set to begin in January. According to wire reports, Fox officials said the final ride of “Idol” will be a “seasonlong celebratory event.”

No tears cried on my end.

Another Fox show to fall into the farewell pit is “The Mindy Project.” The sitcom staring Mindy Kaling was among those sent packing during this annual spring network TV bloodletting, as broadcast networks announced their upcoming fall schedules, revealing which shows didn’t make the cut.

A year ago, I might have been bummed about “The Mindy Project,” but now it’s just one more show I don’t have to feel bad about ignoring every week.

I liked “Mindy” when it first aired in 2012, mostly because Kaling is all kinds of funny as a quirky gynecologist trying to find love. But the show became too far-fetched, and the quirky started to become more grating than charming.

If you’re still watching “Mindy,” take heart: The Washington Post reports that video streaming service Hulu might (or might not) pick up the show.

While “Mindy” is done for on the network and “Idol” will be soon, there are several other shows either also canceled or already renewed across the broadcast landscape.

The only one that hits me where it hurts is the Anthony Bourdain-led cooking competition show, “The Taste,” reportedly tossed to the fire by ABC. Love Bourdain, love cooking competition shows. Alas.

ABC also canceled its ballyhooed freshman comedy “Cristela,” which was supposed to be groundbreaking culturally oriented TV.

Some shows on the canceled list are not surprises, with many already airing their so-long episodes, such as “Glee,” “Parenthood” and “Parks and Recreation.” Other canceled shows of note (there were plenty of shows canceled that weren’t the least bit noteworthy) include the following, according to a variety of websites, including Entertainment Weekly’s:

▪ “Backstrom,” “The Following,” “Red Band Society” on Fox

▪ “Resurrection” and “Revenge” on ABC

▪ “About a Boy,” “One Big Happy” and “Bad Judge” on NBC

▪ “The McCarthys” and “The Millers” on CBS

As for happier news – well for this TV addict, anyway – the following have been renewed:

▪ “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” “Gotham,” “Master Chef” and “Sleepy Hollow” on Fox

▪ “Black-ish,” “Fresh off the Boat,” “Grey’s Anatomy” (although I just can’t talk about the death of Derek right now. Let’s plan to discuss Shonda Rhimes and her mean streak another day) and “Modern Family” on ABC

▪ “Celebrity Apprentice” and “Last Comic Standing” (a summer returnee) on NBC

“Top Chef’s” top dog, Tom Colicchio, isn’t just filming in the Bay Area as the superior cooking competition show readies its 13th season; he’ll also be at Levi’s Stadium next month to host a huge food- and technology-related festival, Bite Silicon Valley, on June 5-7. Also joining the event is Turlock native celebrity chef Michael Chiarello, who will be part of an opening-day conference on food politics, food waste and other issues.

According to the Contra Costa Times, “Colicchio will be joining such culinary notables as José Andrés, Roy Choi and ‘Top Chef’ alums Michael Voltaggio and Mei Lin, as well as (other) Michelin-starred Bay Area chefs.”

The Bite Silicon Valley Grand Tasting portion of the program runs June 6-7 and includes not only food and cooking demonstrations “but a glimpse into the future of food: Wi-Fi sous-vide, beer brewing robots, food printers and a voice-activated smart grill,” according to Contra Costa Times writer Jackie Burrell.

Burrell also made this prediction: “And if we were the gambling sort, we’d put odds on a quickfire or two. Think about it. Bravo is filming ‘Top Chef’ in the Bay Area this spring. The show always features an event challenge involving ravenous festivalgoers and a challenging kitchen setup with crocodiles, or no stove, just Sterno on a windswept hillside. Who could resist filming in a brand-new, Super Bowl-hosting football stadium stocked with voice-activated smart grills? Just saying.”

Burrell and I are are on the same wavelength. A “Top Chef” challenge has to be in the cards for the event. Want to travel to the Bay for a Bite? Tickets start at $149, available at