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May Sweeps Don't Look That Special

Tired of watching reruns and discovering your favorite network shows are on at surprising times?

Those annoyances will end Thursday when the May sweeps officially begin.

It's been awhile since the networks loaded up on specials during the sweeps, when advertising rates for affiliates are traditionally determined.

And after taking a quick look at network schedules, it doesn't look there is going to be much that is truly special this May.

Of course, the crowning of the next "American Idol" on May 20 will be the big event even though Adam Lambert practically has been crowned the champ weekly by the judges. Good heavens, even Simon Cowell was applauding from his seat Tuesday night.

It is hard to get worked up about much at NBC, which is giving "The Biggest Loser: Couples" (May 12) and "Celebrity Apprentice" (May 10) three-hour finales.

NBC also is loading up on the big name guests, including an appearances by Alan Alda on the May 14 season finale of "30 Rock." Amusingly, Geraldo Rivera pops up on "My Name Is Earl" on April 30.

CBS' sweeps schedule is almost totally reliant on its series, which makes sense since it is the network that has had the most success in that category this season.

One of its hottest shows, "The Big Bang Theory," has a May 11 season finale in which Leonard (Johnny Galecki) and Penny (Kaley Cuoco) "reconsider their feelings for one another."

On the May 19 season finale of "The Mentalist," Patrick Jane (Simon Baker) may be drawn into a trap by serial killer Red John. 

And on May 20, a member of the "CSI: NY" team is murdered and another CSI is threatened.

ABC hasn't released its sweeps schedule yet, but the biggest events are expected to be the May 19 crowning of the "Dancing with the Stars" champion and the season finales of "Lost"  (May 13), Grey's Anatomy"(May 14), and "Desperate Housewives" (May 17)

All the above dates are tentative, since the networks are known to make some last-minute changes.

I just got word that ABC is sending a "Grey's Anatomy" repeat at 8 p.m. Thursday in place of the low-rated comedies "In the Motherhood' and "Samantha Who?"

After the May sweeps end, the networks begin filling time slots with mostly inane reality shows. So if I were you, I'd fill my DVR up throughout May.

What season finales are you looking forward to seeing this May? And have you been encouraged or disappointed by the 2008-09 TV season?

-- Alan Pergament 

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