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Network TV takes a breather before May Sweeps

Andy (Chris Pratt, left), Ben (Adam Scott) and Leslie (Amy Poehler) go to San Francisco for a conference, and Pawnee stages its unity concert in the hour-long “Parks and Recreation” season finale at 8 p.m. Thursday on NBC. Guest stars include Michelle Obama, Jeff Tweedy, Ginuwine, The Decemberists, Yo La Tango and Letters to Cleo.
PATRICK HARBRON | ABC Kelly Reilly stars as a world-renowned neuroscientist who hides her bipolar disorder from her colleagues on "Black Box," premiering at 10 p.m. Thursday on ABC.

It’s not May for another week, but in TV land, May Sweeps officially begins Thursday. However, network TV is actually in a bit of a lull this week, with just three finales and two premieres.

Those finales are an hour-long “Parks and Recreation” at 8 p.m. Thursday on NBC, “Last Man Standing” at 8 p.m. Friday on ABC and “The Following” at 9 p.m. Monday on Fox.

“Parks” and “The Following” are definitely only season finales, as they’ve both been renewed. “Last Man Standing,” however is on the bubble, so this potentially could be it for the Tim Allen sitcom.

The two new shows both premiere Thursday, taking the place of shows that ended last week.

First is “Bad Teacher” at 9:30 p.m. on CBS. If the name sounds familiar, that’s because this sitcom is based on the 2011 Cameron Diaz movie of the same name.

Here, Ari Graynor takes Diaz’s role as an inappropriate, foul-mouthed, gold-digging teacher. She’s joined by TV veterans Kristin Davis (“Sex and the City”), David Alan Grier (“In Living Color”), Sara Gilbert (“Roseanne”) and Ryan Hansen (“Veronica Mars”).

Next is “Black Box” at 10 p.m. on ABC. It’s a medical drama that centers on a world-renowned neuroscientist struggling with bipolar disorder. (The show’s title is how doctors sometimes refer to the human brain.)

British actress Kelly Reilly (who also can currently be seen in the film “Heaven is for Real”) stars, with Vanessa Redgrave (who can currently be heard narrating PBS’ “Call the Midwife”) as her psychiatrist — the only person who knows her secret. Also in the cast are Terry Kinney (“Oz”) and David Chisum (“One Life to Live”).

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Series premieres: “Playing House,” 10 p.m. Tuesday, USA (comedy about a divorced, single mom-to-be who enlists the help of her best friend to raise the baby in their small hometown); “Game On, America,” 10 p.m. Tuesday, Travel Channel (expert advice on beating games of chance).

Season premieres: “I Found the Gown,” 10 p.m. Friday, TLC; “My Cat from Hell,” 8 p.m. Saturday, Animal Planet.

Season finales: “Black Ink Crew,” 9:30 p.m. Monday, VH1; “Game of Arms,” 10 p.m. Tuesday, AMC; “Bring It,” 10 p.m. Wednesday, Lifetime.

Specials: “SNL Digital Shorts,” 9 p.m. Thursday, NBC (memorable digital shorts from the show); “Great Performances: Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty,” 9 p.m. Friday, PBS (the classic ballet gets an update with a Gothic spin and extended timeline).

Of note: Cobie Smulders reprises her Marvel role as Agent Hill on “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” 8 p.m. Tuesday, ABC; “Chicago Fire” and “Chicago PD” have a two-part crossover episode at 10 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, NBC.

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