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Potts Picks: Today’s Best TV – January 16, 2012

(ALL TIMES ET)

8PM | NBC
Betty White’s 90th Birthday: A Tribute to America’s Golden Girl
– Her Mary Tyler Moore Show co-stars, her Hot in Cleveland co-stars and funny people like Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Joel McHale show up to celebrate the birthday of the national treasure that is Betty Marion White.

8PM | FOX – SERIES PREMIERE
Alcatraz
– Hurley! Lost alum Jorge Garcia stars (and J.J. Abrams produces) in this new drama about prisoners who mysteriously disappeared from Alcatraz prison years earlier, and are reappearing in the present.

8PM | THE CW
Gossip Girl
Vera Wang guest stars as Vera Wang, who pops in at Blair’s wedding dress fitting.

8PM | FOOD NETWORK – 2ND SEASON PREMIERE
Heat Seekers
Aaron Sanchez and Roger Mooking continue traveling the country to find the spiciest foods, starting with ghost pepper enchiladas and hot wings in Dallas.

8PM | CBS
How I Met Your Mother
– As Lily and Marshal prepare to move to the ‘burbs, their friends deal with it by going to a strip club.

8PM | SUNDANCE
The Mortified Sessions
– Filmmaker Edward Burns and actor/writer/Freaks and Geeks and Bridesmaids producer Paul Feig share their blasts from the pasts, including the genesis of Feig’s fondness for cross-dressing and Burns’ memories of his cop father’s fondness for locking him up in jail cells to deter him from engaging in “tough guy” behavior.

9PM | OWN
America’s Money Class With Suze Orman
– On tonight’s installment, Suze dishes on the cost of having a baby, retirement planning and the four documents every family must have to protect their future.

9PM | BRAVO
Real Housewives of Beverly Hills
Kim tells everyone the truth about her boyfriend, and Lisa‘s launch party for her new lounge turns into a drama-laden affair. Of course.

9:30PM | NBC – SERIES PREMIERE
Betty White’s Off Their Rockers
– Think Punk’d, with Betty White replacing Ashton Kutcher, and a gang of senior citizens replacing Kutcher’s minions. So, awesome, right?

10PM | ABC
Castle
– A dead body in the mayor’s motor pool jeopardizes Castle’s partnership with the police department, because the mayor arranged the deal and the mayor is in a mess o’ trouble.

Worth flipping to during commercials:
– Singer Matt Nathanson is too cool to be on this show, but nonetheless, enjoy his performance on The Bachelor (8PM, ABC);
– A three-hour marathon of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (8PM, Comedy Central) includes “Dee Gives Birth,” the season 7 premiere and “The Gang Goes to the Jersey Shore”;
The Big O interviews the cast of Roots on Oprah and the Legendary Cast of Roots 35 years Later (8PM, OWN);
– Caleb is desperate to locate the MIA Lucas, but Hanna isn’t on Pretty Little Liars (8PM, Network);
– It’s the season two premiere of Being Human (9PM, Syfy);
– Three new inmates try to learn the rules (lest they face deadly consequence of their ignorance) on First Week In (9PM, Discovery);
– When Victoria is arrested, Molly asks Mike for help on Mike & Molly (9:30PM, CBS);
– Danny’s ex-wife goes into labor (early!) on Hawaii Five-O (10PM, CBS);
– On It’s a Brad, Brad World (10:15PM, Bravo), Brad meets with a writer about penning his memoirs, while, back in Los Angeles, his new assistant shows up hours late … on her first day;
Kyle Richards and her hubby Mauricio Umansky are Andy Cohen‘s guests on Watch What Happens: Live (11:15PM, Bravo).

And the late-night line-up:
Conan (11PM, TBS): Kate Beckinsale;
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (11PM, Comedy Central): Jodi Kantor;
The Colbert Report (11:30PM, Comedy Central): Rev. Scott Douglas;
The Late Show with David Letterman (11:35PM, CBS): Simon Baker and Seal;
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (11:35PM, NBC): Melissa McCarthy (REPEAT);
Jimmy Kimmel Live (12:05AM, ABC): Don Cheadle (REPEAT);
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (12:35AM, NBC): Liam Neeson and Piers Morgan;
The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (12:37AM, CBS): Lucy Liu and Kevin Sorbo;
Last Call with Carson Daly (1:35AM, NBC): Lisa Ling (REPEAT).

Potts Picks: The Weekend’s Best TV – January 14-15, 2012

(ALL TIMES ET)

8PM, SUN | NBC
69th Annual Golden Globes Awards
– Lots of celebs, drinking during the awards show, blah, blah, blah … All any of us really care about is seeing just what host Ricky Gervais will say, and whether or not he’ll go further than he did last year, when he ticked off a lot of A-listers. Here’s hoping there are twice as many ticked off celebs as in 2011 …

11:29PM, SAT | NBC
Saturday Night Live
– Harry Potter, er Daniel Radcliffe, makes his first appearance as SNL host, with Lana Del Rey as the musical guest.

8PM, SUN | VH1
Mob Wives
Renee lets the women have it for the ruckus they caused at her Look at Me!, er, birthday, party.

8PM, SUN | FOX
The Simpsons
– In “The D’oh-cial Network,” Lisa regrets creating a new social network – SpringFace – while Patty and Selma compete against the Winklevoss twins (voiced by The Social Network star Armie Hammer) at the Olympics.

8PM, SUN | CBS – 3RD SEASON PREMIERE
Undercover Boss
– Diamond Resorts International CEO Stephen J. Cloobeck goes undercover as an employee at his company and – surprise – is surprised by what he finds out.

8:30 and 9:30PM, SUN | FOX – SERIES PREMIERE
Napoleon Dynamite
– The movie cast members provide the voices for their characters in this animated take on Napoleon’s adventures, which, in the opener, include using an acne cream that makes him feel no pain, leading to his involvement in an underground fight club. Meanwhile, brother Kip dates a bad girl (guest star Amy Poehler).

9PM, SUN | PBS
Downton Abbey
– Anna locates Bates, and the estate is turned into a recovery center for wounded soldiers.

9PM, SUN | FOX
Family Guy
– Brian starts dating a blind woman who hates dogs, which isn’t a problem … until he meets her sighted ‘rents.

9PM, SUN | CBS
The Good Wife
– Alicia defends a fellow attorney who refuses to reveal a client’s identity during a government investigation. The client’s crime: creating a new currency.

9PM, SUN | COMEDY CENTRAL
Kevin Hart: Laugh at My Pain
– Featuring a performance by the comedian who broke Eddie Murphy‘s tour ticket sales record, so, yeah, he’s pretty funny, even if the Comedy Central promos for the special make it look like an uncomfortably large portion of the show revolves around Mr. Hart humping a stool.

9PM, SUN | FOOD NETWORK
Rachael vs. Guy Celebrity Cook-Off
– The six remaining celebs duke it out Chopped-style, with Scott Conant as one of the judges. Remember people, no red onions!

9PM, SUN | BRAVO
Real Housewives of Atlanta
Kandi hosts a dinner party for all the women, while Cynthia, Phaedra and their dudes go on a double date … awwwkward.

10PM, SUN | AMC – 1ST SEASON FINALE
Hell on Wheels
– Cullen’s life with the railroad takes a turn when his past and future meet head on. Like a runaway train. Nice.

10PM, SUN | SHOWTIME
House of Lies
– Marty (Don Cheadle) and the team head to Phoenix to deal with the impending divorce between owners of a pro sports team in a ripped-from-today’s-headlines-y story.

Worth flipping to during commercials:
– On Dog Whisperer (Sat., 8PM, Nat Geo Wild), Cesar tries to help a café owner with a hyperactive bulldog;
– Online bullying factors into a teen’s suicide in the made-for-TV movie Sexting in Subrurbia (Sat., 8PM, Lifetime);
2012 Miss America Pageant (Sat., 9PM, ABC): Chris Harrison and Brooke Burke-Charvet host the 91st annual pageant, live from Las Vegas;
Arcade Fire performs on Austin City Limits (Sat., Check local listings for time and channel, PBS);
Madonna‘s the guest on The Graham Norton Show (Sat., 10:45PM, BBC America);
– Four past champions return to batter battle each other on Cupcake Wars (Sun., 8PM, Food Network);
– On Once Upon a Time (Sun., 8PM, ABC), the Evil Queen makes Hansel and Gretel steal;
– Renee talks Bree into going to a pick-up joint with her on Desperate Housewives (Sun., 9PM, ABC);
– It’s the fourth season finale of Leverage (Sun., 9PM, TNT);
The Big O travels to Joisey to interview Gov. Chris Christie on Oprah’s Next Chapter (Sun., 9PM, OWN);
Nene Leakes visits Andy Cohen on Watch What Happens: Live (Sun., 11PM, Bravo).

 

Potts Picks: Today’s Best TV – January 13, 2012

(ALL TIMES ET)

8PM | ABC – SERIES FINALE
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
– Ty Pennington and crew have built more than 200 homes for deserving families in their nine seasons on the air, and as they, sadly, leave primetime as a regular series, they go out in a big, classy way: Building seven homes in seven days, a whole neighborhood, for families in tornado-ravaged Joplin, Missouri.

1PM | ABC – SERIES FINALE
One Life to Live
– The citizens of Llanview (Llanviewians?) bid daytime TV adieu, after more than 43 years on the air. Saddest of all: there will be just four daytime soaps left come Monday, and none filming in New York City.

8PM | NBC
Chuck
Bo Derek guest stars as … Bo Derek, and she factors into a mission that includes Morgan facing some blowback from his days as the Intersect. Meanwhile, after tonight, just two more weeks before Chuck and his pals ride off into that big Buy More in the sky.

9PM | CBS
CSI: NY
– A perfect family turns out to be anything but, which the CSI-ers discover while investigating a break-in at the fam’s home.

9PM | FOX
Fringe
– Peter heads off on a dangerous mission to the alt world, where he plans to confront Walternate.

9PM | NBC
Grimm
– When a fugitive seeks vengeance on the people who helped jail him, his tolerance for pain and crazy strength make Nick suspect he might be a monster.

9PM | THE CW
Supernatural
– Dean is sent traveling, time traveling, back to 1944, where he is arrested by one Eliot Ness.

10PM | NGC
America’s Most Hated Family
– Documentarian Louis Theroux, who once spent and documented a summer with those Westboro Baptist Church folks in Kansas, revisits them for a week and finds out things have changed since last he visited. Oh, they’re still batshit wackadoo, but now the younger members have started to leave the flock, as the rest of them wait for the end of the world and continue to spew hate at pretty much everyone who isn’t one of their own.

10PM | CBS
Blue Bloods
– Oh oh oh oh oh, oh oh oh oh … Danny (Donnie Wahlberg) and Jackie are on the case of a diner murder, and their chief suspect: a fellow cop.

10PM | IFC
Portlandia
– It’s the one you’ve been waiting for: Doug and Claire obsess much over Battlestar Galactica.

10PM | NETWORK – 10TH SEASON PREMIERE
Real Time With Bill Maher
Herman Cain is among the guests, though Jon Stewart has pretty much wring all the funny out of that opportunity.

10:30PM | IFC
The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret
– Todd tries to get Alice a job at her favorite restaurant and … well, you know.

Worth flipping to during commercials:
– A teenage girl abandons her newborn baby at the clinic on A Gifted Man (8PM, CBS);
Chef Ramsay helps modernize a Georgia eatery on Kitchen Nightmares (8PM, Fox);
– Percy threatens to get all destructive with Division unless Amanda lets him go on Nikita (8PM, The CW);
– New America’s Most Wanted on Lifetime (9PM);
Tenisha, Sherrie and Jared go to New York to support Shane on his music video on Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys (9PM, Sundance);
Deadly Women (10PM, ID) is actually deadly girls tonight, as the episode focuses on murders committed by school-age females.

And the late-night line-up:
The Late Show with David Letterman (11:35PM, CBS): Tony Bennett and Viggo Mortensen;
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (11:35PM, NBC): Jennifer Hudson and Tilda Swinton;
Jimmy Kimmel Live (12:05AM, ABC): Tracy Morgan (REPEAT);
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (12:35AM, NBC): John Mulaney;
The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (12:37AM, CBS): Kristen Bell;
Last Call with Carson Daly (1:35AM, NBC): Kreayshawn (REPEAT).

Potts Picks: Today’s Best TV – January 12, 2012

(ALL TIMES ET)

8PM | NBC – 6TH SEASON PREMIERE
30 Rock
– They’re back, and Jenna gets her wish for bigger fame when she becomes a judge on a reality talent show called Kidz Got Singing.

8PM | CBS
The Big Bang Theory
– Penny gives Sheldon advice on how to be a better boyfriend after he hurts Amy’s feelings.

8PM | THE CW
The Vampire Diaries
– Caroline’s getting a surprise 18th birthday party! Oops, guess it’s not a surprise anymore.

8PM | VH1
17th Annual Critics’ Choice Movie Awards
– The fact that Paul Scheer and Rob Heubel are hosting is reason enough to watch yet another movie awards show, methinks.

8:30PM | NBC
Parks and Recreation
– April and Andy decide to get a pet. They kind of have their hands full trying to keep each other alive, no?

8:30PM | CBS
Rob
– I’m pretending this new Rob Schneider doesn’t exist. If you choose not to, warning: crapload of stereotypes and lame, lame jokes ahead.

9PM | HBO
Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory
– The documentary catches up with the West Memphis Three, who continued their efforts to overturn their 1993 conviction in the murder of a trio of elementary school children, using DNA evidence and witness testimony that wasn’t available at the time of the original trial. Spoiler alert, in case you missed it: The three were freed last summer. But don’t let that deter you from watching Paradise Lost – the filmmakers’ third documentary on the West Memphis Three – because the end result doesn’t begin to tell the compelling story of how 18 years of legal wrangling took a toll on all involved.

9PM | CBS
The Office
– Dwight heads off to Sabre HQ offices in search of a new job, while Andy tries to horn in on Oscar’s trivia hobby. Can anyone make an argument that this show should continue? Seriously, I’d like to hear it if so, because it increasingly feels like it may never be funny again. So why suggest it as a viewing pick? Eh, sometimes you have to stick with a show ’til the end (see also: Chuck).

9PM | LIFETIME
Project Runway All Stars
Mark Badgley and James Mischka are guest judges for tonight’s challenge, in which the designers have to whip up elegant ball gowns for a night at the opera.

10PM | ANIMAL PLANET
American Stuffers
– Yes indeed, this is a reality show about taxidermists. No avocation is unworthy of its own reality series. Or, if the first one becomes a hit, many, many reality series (see also: Pawn Stars, Cajun Pawn Stars, American Pickers, etc.)

10PM | MTV
Jersey Shore
– Homesick Vinny considers leaving the house. Because there almost certainly must be tons of other ways he could make money as easily as he is on Jersey Shore.

10PM | CBS
The Mentalist
– As Jane investigates the murder of a high-price divorce attorney, he also has to answer FBI questions about Red John’s involvement with Panzer’s death.

Worth flipping to during commercials:
– Brennan and Booth look for a new home on Bones (8PM, Fox);
– The Snow Boot and Avalanche Alley are among the challenges on Wipeout (8PM, ABC);
– The Bones spin-off The Finder (9PM, Fox) premieres;
– Teddy questions Cristina about Henry’s surgery on Grey’s Anatomy (9PM, ABC);
– Reese and Finch pull Carter into a case on Person of Interest (9PM, CBS);
– On Up All Night (9:30PM, NBC), Kevin (guest star Jason Lee) worries Ava is ashamed of him;
– Sam and Pete have bachelors’ night out on Private Practice (10PM, ABC).

And the late-night line-up:
Conan (11PM, TBS): Ricky Gervais;
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (11PM, Comedy Central): Dolly Parton;
The Colbert Report (11:30PM, Comedy Central): Mike Allen;
The Late Show with David Letterman (11:35PM, CBS): Senator John McCain;
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (11:35PM, NBC): Betty White and Gerard Butler;
Jimmy Kimmel Live (12:05AM, ABC): Meryl Streep;
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (12:35AM, NBC): Daniel Radcliffe;
The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (12:37AM, CBS): Hugh Laurie;
Last Call with Carson Daly (1:35AM, NBC): Chris Hardwick (REPEAT).

Potts Picks: Today’s Best TV – January 11, 2012

(ALL TIMES ET)

9PM | ABC
Modern Family
– Mitchell and Cameron “audition” for potential birth mothers, while Phil gets Haley and Gloria to pretend to be regular audience members during his big real estate presentation. And when Manny and Luke have to concoct the best capsule to protect an egg in a two-story drop for a school project, we see exactly where Claire’s hyper-competitive side came from.

8PM | ABC
The Middle
– Sue finds out a member of the wrestling team is crushing on her, while Brick makes a map project for school … and Axl eats it.

8PM | THE CW – 9TH SEASON PREMIERE
One Tree Hill
– Past citizens return, as Brooke and Julian settle into family life and the show kicks off its final season.

8:30PM | NBC – SERIES PREMIERE
Are You There, Chelsea?
– This is not a recommendation that you watch this show, based on Chelsea Handler‘s book, and starring That ’70s Show‘s Laura Prepon as the Handler character and Handler herself, well, not as Handler … it is only a reminder that it premieres tonight should you want to watch it. Again, not recommending it as something you should watch/will derive any entertainment value from. Not.

9PM | CBS
People’s Choice Awards
– You picked ’em. Now see how your votes played out as Kaley Cuoco hosts the live show, from the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles. Among the stars scheduled to present/attend: Faith Hill, Demi Lovato, Robert Pattinson, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Liam Neeson, Ewan McGregor, Ian Somerhalder, Nina Dobrev, Paul Wesley, Cuba Gooding Jr., Cory Monteith, David Boreanaz, Angus T. Jones, Don Cheadle, Julianne Hough, Busy Phillips, Rob Schneider, Sharon Osbourne, Liam Hemsworth, Alyson Hannigan, Zachary Levi, Matt Bomer, Elisha Cuthbert, Pauley Perrette and Vanessa Hudgens.

9:30PM | ABC
Happy Endings
– Dave’s dad (guest star Michael McKean) comes to town with his new girlfriend: Penny’s mom (guest star Megan Mullally). Penny is happy about the new duo, Dave, not so much.

10PM | NBC
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
– Creepy: Kevin Pollack and Fisher Stevens guest star as an actress is sexually assaulted during a theater performance, and the audience thinks it’s all a part of the act.

10PM | MTV
Real World/Road Rules Challenge: The Battle of the Exes Launch Special
– Challenge vet Kenny Santucci hosts this preview of the Jan. 25 Challenge season, in which former BFs and GFs are reunited, whether they like it or not, to try to win the $300,000 grand prize.

10PM | FOOD NETWORK
Restaurant: Impossible
Chef Robert performs his makeover magic on a California bistro whose owners are more than $2 million in debt.

10PM | ABC
Revenge
– From ABC’s official description of tonight’s episode: “a stunning revelation is unveiled and becomes a game changer for Emily and the Graysons.” This may be the best primetime soap since the Allison/Billy/Amanda and Brenda/Dylan/Kelly days of Melrose Place and Beverly Hills 90210.

Worth flipping to during commercials:
– On Suburgatory (8:30PM, ABC), Tessa thinks the new boy at school is gay, but he’s really an undercover cop (yes, just like Johnny Depp on 21 Jump Street);
Adam Richman kicks off Amazing Eats (9 and 9:30PM, Travel), in which he travels the country to track down favorites like the best pork dishes and the best burgers;
– It’s the 8th season premiere of Ghost Hunters (9PM, Syfy);
– It’s the season two premiere of Face Off (10PM, Syfy), the reality competition series for aspiring makeup/special effects movie artists;
Joel McHale and the gang serve up another bowl of The Soup (10PM, E!);
– On Toddlers & Tiaras (10PM, TLC), the contestants include feuding sisters and a little girl coached by a drag queen;
– And on Top Chef: Texas (10PM, Bravo), it’s restaurant wars week!

And the late-night line-up:
Conan (11PM, TBS): Jack McBrayer;
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (11PM, Comedy Central): Senator Jim DeMint;
The Colbert Report (11:30PM, Comedy Central): George Stephanopoulas;
The Late Show with David Letterman (11:35PM, CBS): Dolly Parton;
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (11:35PM, NBC): Liam Neeson;
Jimmy Kimmel Live (12:05AM, ABC): Woody Harrelson and Yvonne Strahovski;
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (12:35AM, NBC): Robin Thicke, Donnie Wahlberg and Rosie O’Donnell;
The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (12:37AM, CBS): Adam Goldberg;
Last Call with Carson Daly (1:35AM, NBC): The Airborne Toxic Event.

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