Despite being the best, or at least the best-reviewed, new show of the season, "Nashville" (10 p.m., ABC, r, TV-PG) has seen its ratings steadily decline since midseason. Nothing kills a soapy melodrama like asking viewers to return in three weeks to see what happens next, followed by another two-week hiatus.
In tonight's repeat, spoiled country pop star Juliette (Hayden Panettiere) is convinced her virgin quarterback boyfriend's Christian family has warm feelings for her. (Spoiler alert: They don't.) And we've known that since before Christmas!
Repeats have always been part of the TV season, but they are disruptive to a good show trying to establish itself. And they can be particularly jarring now that an increasing number of viewers -- most notably younger ones -- opt to consume TV in unconventional ways. Netflix has started releasing original dramas ("House of Cards" and "Hemlock Grove") a season at a time. Fans of those shows don't have to wait a month between new episodes. Like staying up all night to finish a good novel, they can devour an entire season's story arc in a single weekend if they so choose.
Of course, viewers can catch up on "Nashville" on a service like Hulu Plus. But they still have to wait until an original episode is broadcast to stream it there. Some may wait until the whole season is over to stream it in its entirety. But if not enough viewers watch it on good old-fashioned ad-supported TV, ABC may just go ahead and cancel "Nashville."
That, in a nutshell, is the paradox of contemporary television. Technology brings us new ways to consume entertainment, but no one has yet invented the free lunch.
---The "Locked Up Abroad" (9 p.m., National Geographic, TV-14) presentation of "Raving Arizona" features a foreigner incarcerated in America with a strangely
interesting tale to tell.
British-born Shaun Attwood followed his dream to become a stockbroker in America. But after developing a taste for Ecstasy, he decided he could cut out the middleman and start dealing the drug on his own. The attention of local dealers and Arizona's mafia made him think twice about his lifestyle choice, and jail followed.
This real-life "Breaking Bad" would be bizarre enough. But once inside the Maricopa County jail, Attwood witnessed some hair-raising stuff that inspired his "Jon's Jail Journ- al" blog, which eventually
attracted 850,0000 followers.
---Finalists compete on "Ameri can Idol" (8 p.m., Fox, TV-14).
---Deadshot returns on "Arrow" (8 p.m., CW, TV-14).
---Murder on sorority row on "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (9 p.m., NBC, TV-14).
---A unique ecosystem emerges on "Australia's First 4 Billion Years" on "NOVA" (9 p.m., PBS, TV-PG).
---Signs of a meteor strike on "CSI" (10 p.m., CBS, r, TV-14).
---Dawson taps an unexpected resource on "Chicago Fire" (10 p.m., NBC, r, TV-14).
---An opportunity seems too attractive on "The Americans" (10 p.m., FX, TV-MA).
A boy befriends a giant alien robot in the 1999 animated film "The Iron Giant" (7 p.m., HBO Family), featuring the voices of Jennifer Aniston, Eli Marienthal, Harry Connick Jr. and Vin Diesel. A box-office failure, this smart cartoon, based on a novel by poet Ted Hughes, has become a beloved
---Food auctions on "Survivor" (8 p.m., CBS, TV-PG).
---Lethal love triangle on "Date line NBC" (8 p.m., TV-PG).
---On two episodes of "Modern Family" (ABC, r, TV-PG): a scary prognosis (8:30 p.m.), a college reunion (9 p.m.).
---Dean mentors a hacker (Felicia Day) on "Supernatural" (9 p.m., CW, TV-14).
---A canceled camping adventure on "How To Live With Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life)" (9:30 p.m., ABC, TV-PG).
---Bassem Youssef is scheduled on "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" (11 p.m., Comedy Central).
---Andy Samberg, Josh Hopkins and Lisa Loeb appear on "Conan" (11 p.m., TBS, r).
---Katie Couric is booked on "Chelsea Lately" (11 p.m., E!).
---Danica Patrick sits down on "The Colbert Report" (11:30 p.m., Comedy Central).
---Kate Hudson and Selena Gomez appear on "Late Show With David Letterman" (11:35 p.m., CBS).
---Jay Leno welcomes Emily Blunt and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club on "The Tonight Show" (11:35 p.m., NBC).
---Topher Grace, Adam Savage, Jamie Hyneman and Depeche Mode appear on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" (11:35 p.m., ABC).
---Ricky Gervais and Jessica Pare visit "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon" (12:35 a.m., NBC).
---Craig Ferguson hosts Rainn Wilson on "The Late Late Show" (12:35 a.m., CBS).
Kevin McDonough can be reached at email@example.com.