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Potts Picks: Today’s Best TV – September 22, 2011

(ALL TIMES ET)

8:30PM | NBC – 4TH SEASON PREMIERE
Parks and Recreation
– So harsh: Leslie (Amy Poehler) has to choose between Ben (Adam Scott) and her dream of running for political office. Meanwhile, one Tammy ex-wife isn’t enough for Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman): his first Tammy ex is headed back into his life, and she looks a lot like big-screen star Patricia Clarkson. Because she is.

8PM | CBS – 5TH SEASON PREMIERE
Big Bang Theory
– Penny’s so upset about sleeping with Raj that she considers leaving town, while Sheldon becomes a paintball cap’n on the one-hour season opener.

8PM | ABC – SERIES PREMIERE
Charlie’s Angels
Minka Kelly‘s cool, and that’s the best thing you can say about this lackluster remake of the ’70s “jigglefest” series. So why’s it on my Picks list? Because you might want to see for yourself how badly it fails to live up to original series …

8PM | NBC – 3RD SEASON PREMIERE
Community
The Wire‘s Michael K. Williams guest stars as Jeff’s new biology teacher (who kicks Mr. Winger out of class) and the great John Goodman plays the recurring role of Greendale Vice Dean Laybourne, the head of the Greendale Air Conditioning Repair Annex, and the new thorn in the side of beleaguered Dean Pelton.

8PM | FOX
The X Factor
– The early auditions continue. What did you think of the new show and the return of Simon Cowell?

9PM | ABC – 8TH SEASON PREMIERE
Grey’s Anatomy
– Meredith is bounced after messing with McDreamy’s clinical trial.

9PM | NBC – 8TH SEASON PREMIERE
The Office
– New Sabre CEO Robert California (James Spader) starts his job, but we still don’t know who the new Scranton boss will be ….

9PM | CBS – SERIES PREMIERE
Person of Interest
– Love the cast – Jim Caviezel and Lost‘s Michael Emerson – but the pilot of this drama, about a CIA agent who’s presumed dead (Caviezel) and the super wealthy software developer (Emerson) he teams with to try to prevent crimes before they happen, didn’t really grab me. But again, with that cast, and a good general premise (not to mention J.J. Abrams as producer), it’s worth checking out for a few episodes.

9PM | LIFETIME
Project Runway
– The designers have to whip up rockin’ threads for the rock band the Sheepdogs, while American Idol alum Adam Lambert is the guest judge.

9:30PM | NBC – SERIES PREMIERE
Whitney
– NBC’s Thursday-night comedy line-up has 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation, Community, The Office … and now Whitney. Which one of these things is not like the others? It’s the unfunny one, by which I mean Whitney. But if that promo in which Whitney’s (titular comedienne star Whitney Cummings) busted for eating a cupcake at a wedding entices you to watch anyway, come back and share your feelings with the group, by which I mean the comments, afterwards.

10PM | FX
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
– Dennis and Sweet Dee take the gang to the Jersey Shore, where they spent several happy summers. Now … not so happy for them.

10PM | CBS – 4TH SEASON PREMIERE
The Mentalist
– Jane is in prison and has to prove the man he killed was Red John.

10PM | NBC – SERIES PREMIERE
Prime Suspect – My biggest issue with this remake of the British female homicide detective drama that originally starred Helen Mirren (and stars Mario Bello in this American remake) is that, after a night of comedy on NBC, do you really want to slide into murder at 10PM?

10:30PM | FX
Archer
– The ISIS gang keeps trying to rescue Archer, who doesn’t want to be found, because he’s happily ensconced as the new pirate king on the island.

Worth flipping to during commercials:
– Tyler and his mama have an emotional meltdown on Vampire Diaries (8PM, The CW);
– After her trip to the police station after her accident, Snooki gets a visit from her boyfriend and ends up making a jackass of herself, a-gain, on Jersey Shore (10PM, MTV);
– The new documentary series Prison Diaries (10PM, TLC) revolves around female inmates who reflect on the crimes they committed and their lives in jail afterwards;
– It’s the series premiere of Sweet Genius (10PM, Food Network), a new dessert competition series in which pastry chefs compete to win $10,000 for their confections.

And the late-night line-up:
Conan (11PM, TBS): Jonah Hill;
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (11PM, Comedy Central): Jennifer Granholm;
The Colbert Report (11:30PM, Comedy Central): Tavis Smiley;
The Late Show with David Letterman (11:35PM, CBS): Chris Cornell and Sofia Vergara;
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (11:35PM, NBC): Jamie Foxx;
Jimmy Kimmel Live (12:05AM, ABC): Daryl Hall;
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (12:35AM, NBC): Julianna Margulies and Wyatt Cenac;
The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (12:37AM, CBS): Chris Hardwick;
Last Call with Carson Daly (1:35AM, NBC): Doug Elin.

Potts Picks: Today’s Best TV

(ALL TIMES ET)

9PM | NBC
The Office
– It takes a super-sized episode to bid adieu to Michael Scott, not the World’s Best Boss (despite the mug he purchased for himself), but definitely one of TV land’s all-time greatest characters. Steve Carell leaves the show in time for the rest of the season to play out as the search for Michael’s replacement, but he gets plenty of love tonight as his co-workers all pay their respects and realize how much they’re going to miss his crazy ways.

8PM | FOX
American Idol
Bruno Mars and Crystal Bowersox perform as the Top 6 becomes the Top 5.

8PM | CBS
Big Bang Theory
– When Priya dissects Sheldon’s roommate agreement, he’s so distressed that the women take him out dancing.

8PM | NBC
Community
– It’s baby time, as Shirley goes into labor during an anthropology exam, pushing Papa Chang into action.

9:52PM | NBC
Parks & Recreation
– While Jerry’s busy getting the attention of the local art world (can’t wait to see what comprises the Pawnee art world), Leslie decides she’s had it with Chris’ rules on office romance.

10PM | CBS
The Mentalist
– Donny Culpepper, the guy Jane hired to break into LaRoche’s home, comes back to haunt him tonight.

10PM | BRAVO
Real Housewives of New York City
Ramona throws a hissy fit when her wine isn’t available at Cindy’s birthday soiree.

10:30PM | NBC
30 Rock
– Liz Lemon decides to give her apartment a makeover, while Tracy realizes the office underwent a makeover while he was gone, meaning Kenneth, Grizz and Dot Com are tighter than ever, but sans Tracy.

11PM | BRAVO
Watch What Happens Live: Royal Wedding Spectacular
Countess LuAnn joins Andy Cohen in counting down to the big Prince William/Kate Middleton nuptials.

Worth flipping to during commercials:
20/20 (8PM, ABC) gives us another preview of tomorrow’s royal wedding;
– Stefan and Elena fear the romantic day they have planned will be their last thanks to Klaus’ plan on The Vampire Diaries (8PM, The CW);
– Jeff sees an old photo of himself that sends him reeling on Rules of Engagement (8:30PM, CBS);
– The team wonders if honesty is the best policy when they follow the behavior of the honest, but now dead, victim they’re investigating on Bones (9PM, Fox);
– He’s baaaack. Nate Haskell returns to terrorize a woman, via her father, on CSI (9PM, CBS);
– Teddy is happy that Andrew Perkins (James Tupper) returns on Grey’s Anatomy (9PM, ABC);
– Alex and Jaden put Nathan in the middle of a government argument on Nikita (9PM, The CW);
– It’s Southern comfort chow vs. Jersey diner nosh on 24-Hour Restaurant Battle (10PM, Food Network);
– Season two of Break It Down (10PM, NGC) kicks off with the demolition of the old Yankee Stadium;
– Cooper worries Violet isn’t over her ex on Private Practice (10PM, ABC).

And the late-night line-up:
Conan (11PM, TBS): Seth Rogen (REPEAT);
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (11PM, Comedy Central): William Cohan;
The Colbert Report (11:30PM, Comedy Central): Wade Graham;
The Late Show with David Letterman (11:35PM, CBS): Chris Hemsworth and Dr. Phil;
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (11:35PM, NBC): Judd Apatow;
Lopez Tonight (Midnight, TBS): Mike Tyson (REPEAT);
Jimmy Kimmel Live (12:05AM, ABC): Sofia Vergara;
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (12:35AM, NBC): Tim McGraw and Ice-T;
The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (12:37AM, CBS): Tom Selleck;
Last Call with Carson Daly (1:35AM, NBC): Mark Burnett.

Potts Picks: Today’s Best TV

(ALL TIMES ET)

10PM | FX – 2ND SEASON FINALE
Archer
– Guess who’s in love? Archer. Yes, playboy Sterling Archer has fallen hard for a KGB agent named Katya, and he even brings her home to meet mom. Mallory, and Archer’s ex, Lana, are less than happy to meet his new beloved though, and that – along with the reappearance of the vengeance-minded Barry – leads to an ending that’s even more surprising, and hilarious, than the idea of Archer settling down.

8PM | FOX
American Idol
– Yet again, I’ll say it should be Stefano who gets the boot, but that cheesy Chachi knock-off seems to have staying power, so don’t be too surprised if someone else is sent packing.

8PM | FOX
Bones
– Booth calls on his old soldier pal Walter Sherman (7th Heaven star Geoff Stults) to help him with a case, in an episode that sets up a potential Bones spin-off that would star Stults.

8PM | NBC
Community
– It’s flashback time, as the group strolls down memory lane, while Troy’s monkey returns and then disappears again, prompting Senor Chang to chase after him. The twist with the flashbacks: We’ve never actually seen them before.

8PM | THE CW
The Vampire Diaries
– More flashback fun: We go back to 1941, where we find out the origins of the moonstone curse and see Katherine being introduced to Klaus and Elijah.

9PM | NBC
The Office
– Just one week until Steve Carell‘s final episode, and tonight, Michael Scott hosts his finale Dundies. Elsewhere, Erin begins to realize that she really doesn’t like her boyfriend, Gabe. Join the club, sister.

9:30PM | NBC
Parks & Recreation
– When Leslie joins an online dating site, she gets paired up with someone she already knows.

10PM | FOOD NETWORK – 2ND SEASON PREMIERE
24-Hour Restaurant Battle
– I’m missing Scott Conant on Chopped this season, so it’ll be good to see him back on the tube every week on Battle. In tonight’s season two opener, he welcomes two former couples who duke it out with each other, armed with clam chowder and BBQ octopus.

10PM | NBC
30 Rock
– It’s a one-hour episode to mark the show’s 100th episode, but all is not well in the halls of 30 Rock, because TGS has been marked for cancellation, sending Liz Lemon and company into fast and furious action to try to save their jobs.

10PM | BRAVO
Real Housewives of New York City
– While Alex tries to make up with the increasingly unlikable Sonja, Ramona and crazy Kelly begin their feud anew. And speaking of Ramona, and crazy, she hits the catwalk again, crazy eyes and all.

11:35PM | NBC – SNEAK PREVIEW
The Voice
American Idol has, yet again, become tiresome, and though the thought of another singing competition series also sounds tiresome, preview clips of The Voice have introduced some interesting concepts, namely that the judges/mentors – Adam Levine, Cee Lo Green, Christina Aguilera and Blake Shelton – can’t see the contestants perform until they’ve committed to working with them. Tonight, NBC gives viewers a 12-minute preview of the show, which premieres on April 26. Are you gonna watch?

Worth flipping to during commercials:
The 12,000 Bottle Boat (8PM, NGC) follows the adventures of environmentalist David de Rothschild as he builds, and sets sail in, a boat made of 12,000 recycled plastic bottles;
Henry Rollins guest stars on The Paul Reiser Show (8:30PM, NBC), which is the only reason I can think of to watch this disappointingly lame, wannabe Curb Your Enthusiasm comedy;
– Three episodes of Royal Wedding of a Lifetime (8PM, Lifetime) focus on Kate Middleton‘s dress, the menu for next week’s royal wedding and the similarities between Middleton and Princess Diana;
– For those of you with DirecTV, Beverly Hills 90210 god Jason Priestley makes a great comeback in the Canadian comedy Call Me Fitz (9PM, DirecTV Channel 101), in which he plays a sex-addicted car salesman;
Nikita (9PM, The CW) comes up with a plan to pull Alex out of Division, but Alex is sent on a mission before Nikita can put her plot into action;
Sarah Palin is the subject of tonight’s E! True Hollywood Story (10PM, E!);
– Bad news: It’s the second one finale for Chris Elliott‘s cheeky comedy Eagleheart (11:59PM, Adult Swim). The good news: It’s been renewed for a second season.

And the late-night line-up:
Conan (11PM, TBS): Reese Witherspoon;
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (11PM, Comedy Central): Tracy Morgan (REPEAT);
The Colbert Report (11:30PM, Comedy Central): Ray Kurzweil (REPEAT);
The Late Show with David Letterman (11:35PM, CBS): Steve Martin (REPEAT);
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (11:35PM, NBC): Bradley Cooper and Duran Duran (REPEAT);
Lopez Tonight (Midnight, TBS): Tyler Perry;
Jimmy Kimmel Live (12:05AM, ABC): Christoph Waltz;
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (12:35AM, NBC): Howard Stern (REPEAT);
The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (12:37AM, CBS): Alfred Molina;
Last Call with Carson Daly (1:35AM, NBC): Tom Shadyac (REPEAT).

Potts Picks: Today’s Best TV

(ALL TIMES ET)

9PM | NBC
The Office
– Rumors persist that Will Ferrell might be considered as Steve Carell‘s permanent replacement on The Office, and as the funny guy begins his guest stint tonight, fans will get the chance to evaluate whether or not he’s a good fit. Ferrell’s character? Deangelo Vickers, the new office manager who is subject to Michael’s training, and the staff’s attempts to kiss up.

8PM | FOX
American Idol
– I wanna say it’s definitely Stefano who will get the boot tonight, but it’s not like there weren’t equally bad (Haley) performances (Lauren) last night (Casey).

8PM | NBC
Community
– Abed takes a TV course, studying the classic sitcom … Who’s the Boss????

8:30PM | NBC – SERIES PREMIERE
The Paul Reiser Show
– The Mad About You star tries to pull a Larry David by playing himself (or rather, a somewhat fictionalized version of himself) as he tries to restart his career years after his hit sitcom left the airwaves.

9PM | FOX
Bones
Jo Anne Worley guest stars as a pet psychic. Hello, welcome to 1975, Bones staff, and thanks for one of the most random guest stars ever.

9:30PM | NBC
Parks & Recreation
– April and Andy host a dinner party for their friends. Can’t wait to see what’s on that menu.

10PM | NBC
30 Rock
TGS is on the chopping block, which prompts Liz to team up with the only she knows who can possibly located Tracy: Kenneth.

10PM | FX
Archer
– Archer heads off to Russia to try and confirm who’s his daddy, but a lot of broken glass and his old nemesis Barry stand in his way.

10PM | FOOD NETWORK – 1ST SEASON FINALE
Ice Brigade
– The team fashions a giant chessboard out of ice.

10PM | BRAVO
Real Housewives of New York City
– I think we’re going to get the backstory on that “thug in a cocktail dress” comment that’s inspired a line of t-shirts when Alex and Sonja tussle tonight, though, unsurprisingly, Ramona gets into  a little war of her own when she makes a comment about Cindy, to someone else, who relates it back to Cindy.

Worth flipping to during commercials:
– When Elena and Stefan attend a school dance, Klaus plots to nab Elena and sacrifice her to end the vampire curse on Vampire Diaries (8PM, The CW);
– A new Bowled Over obstacle is described as “full body bowling” on Wipeout (8PM, ABC);
– Percy sends Michael off to London with orders to kill Nikita, while Amanda forces Alex to submit to a lie detector test on Nikita (9PM, The CW);
– In the sixth season premiere of Randy Jackson Presents: America’s Best Dance Crew (10PM, MTV), the first five crews dance Ke$ha-inspired numbers;
– NYC bike messengers are the subject of the new reality series Triple Rush (10PM, Travel);
– “Dating Game Killer” Rodney Alcala is the topic on True Crime with Aphrodite Jones (10PM, ID);
– Chris looks for an old friend and uncovers a secret along the way on Eagleheart (11:59PM, Cartoon Network).

And the late-night line-up:
Conan (11PM, TBS): Matthew Morrison, Alexis Bledel and Queens of the Stone Age;
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (11PM, Comedy Central): Ricky Gervais;
The Colbert Report (11:30PM, Comedy Central): Caroline Kennedy;
The Late Show with David Letterman (11:35PM, CBS): Seth Myers and Carmelo Anthony;
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (11:35PM, NBC): Tyler Perry and Bright Eyes;
Lopez Tonight (Midnight, TBS): Anne Hathaway, Anthony Anderson and Sum 41;
Jimmy Kimmel Live (12:05AM, ABC): Tom Arnold and Alison Brie;
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (12:35AM, NBC): Chris Pratt and Kathy Bates (REPEAT);
The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (12:37AM, CBS): Kristen Bell and Jason Aldean;
Last Call with Carson Daly (1:35AM, NBC): Florence & the Machine (REPEAT).

Potts Picks: Today’s Best TV

(ALL TIMES ET)

8PM | FOX
American Idol
– It’s a two-hour results show. Painful, yes, but that’s what we have to sit through to go from 24 finalists to the top 10 contenders.

9PM | CNBC
How I Made My Millions
– Another new installment of the series that unfolds the backstories of entrepreneurs like the inventors of Pillow Pets, Tate’s Cookies and the HeadBlade.

9PM | CNN
Piers Morgan Tonight
Piers chats with the cast of the new movie Adjustment Bureau, including Matt Damon, Emily Blunt and John Slattery.

9PM | TLC 5TH SEASON FINALE
Police Women of Cincinnati
Colleen buys crack from an informant, but the rest of the sting doesn’t go so smoothly.

10PM | FX
Archer
– Cyril wants to be a hero, so he injects a virus into the ISIS computer system, planning to spot it and reap accolades from his co-workers. That, of course, is not how his plan unfolds.

10PM | A&E – 1ST SEASON FINALE
Beyond Scared Straight
– Five teen girls visit a Maryland women’s prison to get a peek at their futures if they continue their wicked ways.

10PM | FOOD NETWORK SERIES PREMIERE
Ice Brigade
– The show follows a team of Michigan event ice sculptors, who, in the opener, build a whole ice lounge, with a fully operational ice bar and a playable ice pool table.

10PM | SCIENCE CHANNEL
Ingenious Minds
– Back-to-back new episodes profile Alonzo Clemons, a sculptor who can look at an animal once and, within minutes, create an accurate replica sculpture of the animal, and Temple Grandin, the HBO biopic darling and autistic professor who revolutionized the beef industry with her cattle feedlot system invention.

10PM | MTV
Jersey Shore
– The Ronnie and Sammi saga continues when she returns to the Shore, while Snooki lays it out, um, so to speak, for Vinny regarding her feelings for him.

Worth flipping to during commercials:
– It’s a three-hour block of repeats of The Office on NBC (8PM);
– Timmy and Russell go on a double date on Rules of Engagement (8:30PM, CBS);
Madison wigs when he finds out his assistant had a date with Josh on Million Dollar Listing (9PM, Bravo).

And the late-night line-up:
Conan (11PM, TBS): Martha Stewart and Emily Blunt;
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (11PM, Comedy Central): Diane Ravitch;
The Colbert Report (11:30PM, Comedy Central): Mark W. Moffett;
The Late Show with David Letterman (11:35PM, CBS): Robin Williams and Judy Greer;
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (11:35PM, NBC): Jerry Seinfeld and Darlene Love;
Lopez Tonight (Midnight, TBS): Topher Grace;
Jimmy Kimmel Live (12:05AM, ABC): Howard Stern;
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (12:35AM, NBC): Michael Stipe and Miley Cyrus;
The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (12:37AM, CBS): Neil Patrick Harris;
Last Call with Carson Daly (1:35AM, NBC): Emmy Rossum.

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