Potts Picks: Today’s Best TV – February 1, 2012

(ALL TIMES ET)

8PM | FOX
American Idol
– Preliminary auditions move to Portland, Oregon. Five things about Portland: 1) The city’s nickname is The City of Roses; 2) The Simpsons papa Matt Groening is from Portland; 3) Also from Portland: Beverly Cleary, the author of the beloved Ramona Quimby and Henry and Ribsy books; 4) Home of Powell’s Books = 68,000 square feet of books; and 5) And, of course, it is the home of and inspiration for Portlandia.

8PM | CBS
Super Bowl’s Greatest Commercials
Boomer Esiason and Jillian Michaels co-host this look back at the all-time best SB commercials, and a look ahead at the best ones we’ll see this Sunday.

10PM | ID
Dark Minds
– Are the 2006 murders of Atlantic City prostitutes the evil handiwork of the same person who later killed prostitutes in Long Island?

10PM | MTV
Real World/Road Rules Challenge: Battle of the Exes
Wes is pining for Mandi, while one contestant gets wicked drunk and causes serious issues.

10PM | USA
Royal Pains
– Hank’s back probs lead Dr. Van Dyke to fill in for him.

10PM | BRAVO
Top Chef: Texas
Pee-wee Herman‘s the guest, and the chefs have to create “imaginative” pancakes he’ll love. Love so much that he wants to marry them.

Worth flipping to during commercials:
– Julian has a big case of the guilts on One Tree Hill (8PM, The CW);
– On Hot in Cleveland (10PM, TV Land), Elka talks about basketball with Baron Davis, while Susan Lucci visits Victoria.

And the late-night line-up:
Conan (11PM, TBS): Ringo Starr;
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (11PM, Comedy Central): Brad Pitt;
The Colbert Report (11:30PM, Comedy Central): Ameena Matthews;
The Late Show with David Letterman (11:35PM, CBS): Howard Stern;
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (11:35PM, NBC): Daniel Radcliffe;
Jimmy Kimmel Live (12:05AM, ABC): John Krasinski;
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (12:35AM, NBC): Tim Tebow;
The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (12:37AM, CBS): William Shatner;
Last Call with Carson Daly (1:35AM, NBC): Glenn Howerton.

Potts Picks: Today’s Best TV – January 31, 2012

(ALL TIMES ET)

10PM | FX
Justified
– When Boyd (Walton Goggins) met Ellstin Limehouse (Mykelti Williamson) … that’s but one of the highlights of tonight’s episode, “Harlan Roulette,” which also finds Raylan (Timothy Olyphant) dealing with a brutal local Oxy dealer and, in one of the most surprising, hilarious new TV bromances, prison bonding between Dickie Bennett (Jeremy Davies) and Dewey Crowe (Damon Herriman).

7PM | BRAVO
Inside the Actors Studio: George Clooney
– Cloons, as Tina Fey once jokingly referred to him, sits down with James Lipton for a special two-hour chat.

8PM | E!
E! True Hollywood Story: Demi Moore
– Well, there’s certainly no lack of scandalous info, especially with recent updates, for this one.

8PM | FOX
Glee
– It’s the Michael Jackson tribute episode everyone (by which I mean mostly the Glee cast) has been talking about.

9PM | FOX
New Girl
– Schmidt (Max Greenfield) is the scene stealer on this show, which is why I think the best part of this episode will be the subplot about why Schmidt’s shower towel is always damp …

9PM | WE
Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best?
– Three words: Joan Rivers … bong.

9PM | THE CW
Ringer
– The guilty pleasure drama is back, as Henry mourns his wife, Malcolm begins working for Andrew, Siobhan is shocked by how well Bridget is adapting to her new life and Bridget learns that one of Juliet’s friends is privy to one of Siobhan’s (many, many) secrets.

9:30PM | FOX
Raising Hope
– Burt’s gambling habit (which caused him to lose most of the fam’s belongings 20 years ago) rears its ugly head once again, and, this time, takes hold of his loved ones, too.

10PM | FOOD NETWORK
Chopped
– Cheese and clove candies are among the mystery ingredients when a group of international chefs compete for the $10K grand prize.

10PM | MTV
Teen Mom 2
– Ouch: Corey finds out Leah cheated on him just two weeks before their wedding.

10PM | TNT
Southland
– Ben is haunted by the mistakes he’s made recently.

10:30PM | COMEDY CENTRAL – SERIES PREMIERE
Key & Peele
– Is it the new Chappelle’s Show? Eh … that’s more the product of lazy reviewers. It’s not Chappelle’s Show … sample joke from the titular comedians, while discussing their interracial backgrounds: “We sound whiter than Mitt Romney in a snow storm.”  But there are some funny concepts, especially a premiere episode skit in which two married men (stars Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele) are deathly afraid of their wives, and take great pains to make sure the women don’t hear them lying to each other about how they stand up to their spouses.

Worth flipping to during commercials:
– It’s the 4th season premiere of Tosh.0 (10PM, Comedy Central);
– Tonight’s challenge involves a trampoline on The Biggest Loser (8PM, NBC);
– Daffy suspects Porky Pig is a murderer on The Looney Tunes Show (8:30PM, Cartoon Network);
Abby plans a bully-themed dance number that upsets Holly on Dance Moms (9PM, Lifetime);
– Back-to-back new Shipping Wars episodes on A&E (9 and 9:30PM);
– On the new reality series Sorority Girls (9PM, TLC), five U.S. sorority girls head to England to recruit new members;
– On the premiere of yet another reality series, Undercover Princes (10PM, TLC), bachelor princes from around the world move to England to try to find their mates;
– On White Collar (10PM, USA), Peter and Neal try to prevent a fancy hotel from being robbed.

And the late-night line-up:
Conan (11PM, TBS): Simon Helberg;
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (11PM, Comedy Central): Jonathan Macey;
The Colbert Report (11:30PM, Comedy Central): Bjork;
The Late Show with David Letterman (11:35PM, CBS): Stephen Merchant;
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (11:35PM, NBC): Mark Harmon and Michelle Obama;
Jimmy Kimmel Live (12:05AM, ABC): Martin Scorsese;
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (12:35AM, NBC): Jack McBrayer;
The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (12:37AM, CBS): Ringo Starr;
Last Call with Carson Daly (1:35AM, NBC): Rich Eisen.

Potts Picks: Today’s Best TV – January 30, 2012

(ALL TIMES ET)

8PM | SUNDANCE – 1ST SEASON FINALE
The Mortified Sessions
– In the first season finale, Breaking Bad Emmy winner Bryan Cranston talks about the free love days of his teenage and early twentysomething years, while Community star Danny Pudi talks about his relationship with his father, who he’s seen only a few times in his adult life. Here’s hoping this fantastic series gets the greenlight for a second season.

8PM | NBC
Fear Factor
– If the TMZ story is true (NBC wouldn’t confirm), this may officially be the grosses episode of Factor ever, as one of the stunts supposedly involves contestants drinking donkey semen. And urine. Go ahead, make all the jackass jokes you want.

8PM | THE CW
Gossip Girl
– Chuck continues to wig about Blaire’s impending wedding, while Georgina ups the stakes for everyone with her pot-stirring return.

8PM | FOX
House
– House gets into the blackmail biz when he tries to take advantage of Foreman’s relationship with a married woman.

8PM | ABC FAMILY
Pretty Little Liars
– Here comes (more) trouble: Hanna’s stepsister enrolls at school with the girls.

9PM | FOX
Alcatraz
– Rebecca is in a tricky position because of a bank robber from the past.

9PM | OWN
America’s Money Class With Suze Orman
Suze covers the value of gold, rules of investing and sussing out money you may not know you have.

9PM | BRAVO
Real Housewives of Beverly Hills
Reunion, Part 1 – In part one (of three), Andy Cohen and the gang revisit the infamous tea party and game night fights.

10PM | BRAVO
It’s a Brad, Brad World
Brad gets devastating news from his father.

11PM | BRAVO
Watch What Happens: Live
– And speaking of the aforementioned Brad Goreski, he and his Family Guy writer boyfriend Gary Janetti visit Andy in the Bravo clubhouse.

Worth flipping to during commercials:
– One of the women snags some alone time with Ben and then taunts the others about it at the rose ceremony on The Bachelor (8PM, ABC);
– On Heat Seekers (8PM, Food Network) Aaron and Roger taste the Naga Viper pepper, named the world’s hottest chili by the Guinness World Records people last year;
– On Disappeared (9PM, ID), unfolding the case of Jackie Markham, a Florida woman who’s been missing since 2000;
– Back-to-back new episodes of First Week In (9 and 10PM, Discovery);
Inside the NSA (9PM, NGC) gives viewers a rare look inside the National Security Agency, including the Threat Operations Center that protects the Defense Department from cyber attacks;
– This week’s four-episode marathon of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (9PM, Comedy Central) includes “The Gang Dances Their Asses Off,” with Charlie’s “Take My Breath Away” dance;
– A winner is chosen on the season 2 finale of Next Great Baker (9PM, TLC);
– It’s the season four premiere of RuPaul’s Drag Race (9PM, Logo);
– Back-to-back new Pawn Stars (10 and 10:30PM) on History.

And the late-night line-up:
Conan (11PM, TBS): Dale Earnhardt Jr.;
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (11PM, Comedy Central): Lou Dobbs;
The Colbert Report (11:30PM, Comedy Central): Laurence H. Tribe;
The Late Show with David Letterman (11:35PM, CBS): Jennifer Lopez;
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (11:35PM, NBC): Madonna and Chris Colfer;
Jimmy Kimmel Live (12:05AM, ABC): Marc Maron;
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (12:35AM, NBC): Glenn Close;
The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (12:37AM, CBS): Don Cheadle;
Last Call with Carson Daly (1:35AM, NBC): Nelson George and Tom Morello (REPEAT).

Potts Picks: The Weekend’s Best TV – January 28-29, 2012

(ALL TIMES ET)

9PM, SUN | HBO – SERIES PREMIERE
Luck
David Milch (Deadwood) + Dustin Hoffman + Dennis Farina + Nick Nolte + Michael Mann = a slowly developing, horse-racing track-set drama about Chester “Ace” Bernstein (Hoffman), who did a prison stint – in the name of protecting some friends of his? – and is now out and looking to get payback for those actions. Hoffman in a regular TV role should be enough to prove the show is at least worth checking out, and the other impressive names should be enough to make you give it at least a few episodes to pull you in, even if it doesn’t grab you – pun intended – right out of the gate.

8PM, SAT | LIFETIME
The Pregnancy Project
– Based on a true tale (and book), the movie unfolds the story of a top student who pretends to be pregnant to test how teen moms are really treated.

9PM, SAT | HBO
Namath
– The documentary follows the career of “Broadway Joe” Namath as NFL superstar and celebrity, including his Super Bowl III upset win and his 1985 induction into the NFL Hall of Fame … and that drunken 2003 incident with ESPN’s Suzy Kolber, who talks about the Namath come-on in the doc.

10PM, SAT | COMEDY CENTRAL
John Mulaney: New in Town
– The Saturday Night Live writer and producer (and co-creator of Stefon) talks about his days as a big drinker, his new girlfriend and his ongoing love of all things Law & Order.

8PM, SUN | TBS and TNT
18th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards
Mary Tyler Moore gets the Lifetime Achievement Award from her old TV hubby Dick Van Dyke, and the usual TV and movie suspects are up for top honors from their peers. Wish list of winners: Melissa McCarthy (for anything she’s ever nominated for, by the way), Breaking Bad, Bryan Cranston and Betty White.

8PM, SUN | FOOD NETWORK
Cupcake Wars
– What does an I Love Lucy cupcake look like? We will find out with tonight’s installment, in which the competitors try to win the chance to supply goodies for an event celebrating the 60th anniversary of the classic TV comedy.

8PM, SUN | VH1
Mob Wives
– While Drita continues to pursue her divorce, her BFF Carla continues to make a major enemy of Ramona. Meanwhile, VH1 follows the episode with the premiere of Mob Wives: The Sit Down, a new aftershow series, at 9.

8PM, SUN | FOX
The Simpsons
– Bart is one sorry Simpson when he and Milhouse get into a fight and he has to beg his BFF for forgiveness.

9PM, SUN | PBS
Downton Abbey
– Vera wreaks havoc on Bates and Anna, while Matthew and William are in a dangerous battle on the war front.

9PM, SUN | CBS
The Good Wife
– Will and Alicia’s relationship is a mystery no more.

9PM, SUN | BRAVO
Real Housewives of Atlanta
– The women arrive in Cape Town and, of course, the trip of a lifetime takes a back seat to the petty drama they could have (and will again) address back in the ATL.

9:30PM, SUN | VH1
The TRL Decade
Carson Daly, of course, is among those interviewed for this look back at the decade-long reign of TRL, the daily MTV series that was hugely influential not just in the music biz, but in its general pop culture impact. Remember Mariah Carey‘s crazy ice cream cart meltdown, for instance?

9 and 10PM, SUN | FOOD NETWORK – 1ST SEASON FINALE
Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off
– The two finalists in this cook-off series, one of the pleasant surprises among the network’s recent offerings, have to open their own restaurants to see who’ll win cash for charity.

Worth flipping to during commercials:
– A 24-hour marathon of the classic detective series Mannix (Sat., 6AM, Cloo) includes an early-career guest appearance by Diane Keaton;
Cesar helps former gang members rehab their doggies’ bad behaviors on Dog Whisperer (Sat., 8PM, Nat Geo Wild);
– The U.S. Figure Skating Championships (Sat., 9PM, NBC) air live from San Jose;
– On Who the (Bleep) Did I Marry (Sat., 9 and 9:30PM, ID), back-to-back episodes of one of the best-titled shows ever;
– On Til Debt Do Us Part (Sat., 10PM, CNBC), a woman who has taught her kids to lie about her spending is confronted by her partner;
Liam Neeson and Patrick Stewart guest on The Graham Norton Show (Sat., 10:15PM, BBCA);
– King Leopold is granted three wishes on Once Upon a Time (Sun., 8PM, ABC);
– Napoleon gets a job on a liger farm on the ‘toon series version of Napoleon Dynamite (Sun., 8:30PM, Fox);
– On Family Guy (Sun., 9PM, Fox), Stewie’s new pal has cancer, but his parents object to medical treatment because of their religious beliefs;
– A man is murdered and the investigation reveals that 1) he has 100 kids and 2) all of them are suspects, on CSI: Miami (Sun., 10PM, CBS);
– Marty takes Roscoe on a business trip to San Francisco on House of Lies (Sun., 10PM, Showtime).

Potts Picks: Today’s Best TV – January 27, 2012

(ALL TIMES ET)

8PM | NBC – SERIES FINALE
Chuck
– The two-hour finale finds Chuck Bartowski going back to his past and relying on all his friends and family members to help secure his future with Sarah, against the evil Nicholas Quinn. Yeah, not expecting a lot of surprises, but at least this once-favorite show got a full five seasons to do its nerdy thing.

8PM | ABC
Shark Tank
– There’s a mini-theme going on tonight’s Tank: one entrepreneur pitches a cat portrait business (really), while the show revisits last season’s potty-training for cats business.

9PM | FOX
Fringe
– Mystery after mystery: Peter tries to track down a girl with the power to see what will happen in the future.

9PM | SUNDANCE – 2ND SEASON FINALE
Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys
Brent attends his mother’s funeral, which, obviously, has a major impact on him.

9PM | PBS
Great Performances: Tony Bennett: Duets II
– The special documents the making of Bennett’s Duets II album including performance with Michael Buble, Norah Jones, Willie Nelson, Amy Winehouse and Lady Gaga.

9PM | DIY – 10TH SEASON PREMIERE
Man Caves
– Go ahead … make any of the numerous he-should-be-living-in-a-cave post-72-day marriage jokes, but Kardashian ex Kris Humphries gets a man cave bedroom and lounge in tonight’s episode.

10PM | IFC
Portlandia
– Michelle and Brendan believe education is the key to success, so they go all out to make sure their son gets one … at a fancy preschool.

10PM | STARZ – 2ND SEASON PREMIERE
Spartacus: Vengeance
– Now that the slaves are free, Spartacus begins to feel the full weight of his responsibility as their leader.

10:30PM | IFC
The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret
– Todd goes to drown his sorrows at a bar and gets caught up in a bachelorette party. Better than getting caught up in an episode of The Bachelorette, no?

Worth flipping to during commercials:
Gordo revisits some of the restaurants he’s helped (or has he?) in the past on Kitchen Nightmares (8PM, Fox);
– New America’s Most Wanted (9PM, Lifetime);
20/20 (10PM, ABC) unfolds the case of a real-life War of the Roses story, about a Connecticut man who kidnapped his ex-wife, held her hostage and burned down their beach home;
– It’s the fifth season finale of Deadly Women (10PM, ID);
– Back-to-back wedding planning events on Swanderosa (10 and 10:30PM, CMT).

And the late-night line-up:
The Late Show with David Letterman (11:35PM, CBS): Dolly Parton (REPEAT);
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (11:35PM, NBC): Barack Obama (REPEAT);
Jimmy Kimmel Live (12:05AM, ABC): Meryl Streep (REPEAT);
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (12:35AM, NBC): Daniel Radcliffe (REPEAT);
The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (12:37AM, CBS): Craig heads to the Moulin Rouge (REPEAT);
Last Call with Carson Daly (1:35AM, NBC): Lupe Fiasco (REPEAT).

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