Saturday, January 7, 2012

News: Kathy Griffin Gets a Talk Show

Bravo to Debut Weekly Kathy Griffin Talk Show in the Spring

Kathy Griffin
[Bravo] greenlit Kathy, a one-hour weekly talk show hosted by two-time Emmy winner Kathy Griffin which will premiere this spring.

Unlike any other talk show, this will be the destination to get Griffin’s thoughts on everything pop culture as she rants on the week’s biggest headlines and tabloid gossip as well as feature stand-up routines, celebrity interviews and taped segments.

Preview: Would You Rather? with Graham Norton

Super-Thin Premise Doesn't Derail Graham Norton Game Show

Right after you watch the fab Brit talk show Graham Norton tonight, stay tuned on BBC America for the game show/talk show hybrid, Would You Rather? with Graham Norton (11pm).

The show's premise could not be thinner. Graham asks sorta-well-known celebrties like Stanley Tucci and Scott Adsit rhetorical questions like, "Would you rather lay a Faberge egg or throw up diamonds?" Silly? Yeah. But, somehow, funny, too.

Friday, January 6, 2012

5Qs on Friday: Suze Orman

Financial Guru Teaches OWN Viewers to be Money Smart

Suze Orman may be rich, smart and famous, but she's just like the rest of us. At least she used to be - she was a waitress making about $400 a week until she was 30 years old. We can think of her current riches as being, well, aspirational.

Suze has been doling out financial advice for decades, with numerous books like "The Money Class." She's had appearances on shows like Oprah and, for more than a decade, she has been hosting CNBC's The Suze Orman Show.

Suze spoke with TVFirstLook about her new show, America's Money Class with Suze Orman. The show debuts on OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network on Monday (Jan. 9) at 9pm.

TVFirstLook: You touch on the rough realities of the dismal economy while dishing out financial advice. How do you do that and keep the show entertaining?

Review: Downton Abbey

Glorious Second Season of the Incredible Downton Abbey
Michelle Dockery

When the multiple Emmy-winning Downton Abbey debuted last year, much of the joy of watching it came from discovering a new miniseries that was clearly on its way to becoming an award-winning epic. The joy of watching it also came from first meeting Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham (Hugh Bonneville), and his family.

Without the benefit of these new discoveries, the second season of Downton Abbey, incredibly, is only nominally less enchanting than its first season. (PBS - Sunday, 9pm).

Preview: Two Republican Debates in New Hampshire

Presidential Hopefuls Duke It Out Just Days Before Primary

Just four days before frontrunner Mitt Romney locks up another win in New Hampshire, the republican presidential hopefuls, including Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, are set to duke it out again.

ABC News and Yahoo! are hosting the first republican presidential debate since the Iowa caucuses and the last one (on primetime TV) before New Hampshire's 2012 primary. The ABC News Republican Debate New Hampshire airs Saturday at 9pm.

Meanwhile, NBC's Meet the Press and Facebook are joining up to host a Sunday morning debate at 9am.

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Review: Shameless

William H. Macy Series Kicks Off Season Two
Chicago Tribune
William H. Macy

It would be easy to write the series Shameless (Showtime - Sunday, 9pm) off as another cable TV excuse to show nudity, alcoholism, rampant drug use, petty theft, unlicensed day care, home growing, purse emptying, fiscally motivated courting, foster child exploitation, credit card fraud, murder by information omission, wife cheating, ice-cream-truck-based beer selling, Little League bookmaking and behind-the-back name calling. But to compile such a list is to get at the great, rowdy, often comic joy of this series.

Review: Portlandia

Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein Lovingly Mock the Portland Vibe
Washington Post

Portlandia (IFC - Friday, 10pm), which bears the imprimatur of Lorne Michaels, still suffers some of the same bad habits of improv comedy workshops and SNL, where sketches don’t end so much as they peter out or careen off a cliff, devolving into redundant babbling contests of the same catchphrase.
But Armisen and Brownstein more than make up for their flops with exuberance to spare.

Preview: House of Lies

Don Cheadles' Sexy New Showtime Comedy
USA Today
Don Cheadle

Scene 1, Episode 1 of Showtime's new comedy House of Lies: The stark naked Marty Kaan (Don Cheadle) wakes up next to his equally naked (except for her designer shoes), passed out ex-wife Monica (Dawn Olivieri).

It's the tip off that House of Lies, which premieres Sunday (10pm), fits the cable channel's popular and racy "show more" philosophy, and it's why Lies is sandwiched between Shameless and Californication, two other very successful, very sexy shows.

Preview: Fixing Pete

Brooke Burns and Valerie Harper Star in Hallmark Channel Movie
Brooke Burns

Fixing Pete (Hallmark Channel - Saturday, 9pm) - Ashley Boyd’s (Brooke Burns) career as a fashion editor is on the rise and her relationship with her boyfriend could not be more perfect. Conquering a handful of televised makeovers for women, Ashley has impressed her boss Nan (Valerie Harper) enough to earn her own column. However, there is a caveat: Ashley must write her first set of articles about making over a guy, something she has never done. 

Preview: Dog Whisperer

Dog Trainer Cesar Millan Whispers on a New Network
Dog Whisperer (Nat Geo Wild - Saturday, 8pm) is back bigger and bolder than ever, with unique stories and intense situations that once again put Cesar’s rehabilitation skills to the test. Watch as Cesar rehabilitates dogs and trains people to achieve a balanced and natural relationship between humans and their pets.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Preview: Project Runway All Stars

Isaac Mizrahi Brings Back Project Runway Also-Rans
Isaac Mizrahi

Project Runway is one of the most influential reality shows, and one of the best reality shows in TV history. Yet, its track record of spinoffs is dismal. Did you catch the just-completed Project Accessory? Exactly.

Even Project Runway knockoffs haven't fared well. Just ask Isaac Mizrahi. After Lifetime snatched Project Runway away from Bravo (in a messy legal battle in 2008), Isaac co-hosted The Fashion Show on Bravo.

Preview: Winter Wipeout

Silly Show Gets Sillier (and Funnier) with Snow

Once a fading unscripted show, Wipeout, where contestants jump on giant bouncy balls, got a whole lot of juice when it added some snow.

The result is Winter Wipeout (ABC, 8pm) hosted by John Anderson, John Henson and co-hosted now by Vanessa Lachey (where's Jill Wagner)? The new season kicks off tonight.

Review: Jersey Shore

Kill the Beast
New York Daily News

Watching the fifth-season premiere of MTV’s Jersey Shore (MTV, 10pm), I felt a little like a guy who has shown up a party just as the caterer is putting away the buffet. The event is still going, but it’s not quite the same, or filling.

Preview: Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai

Profile of a Nobel Prize Winner on Independent Lens

Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai (PBS,  10pm - check local listings) tells the story of Kenya’s Green Belt Movement, a grassroots organization encouraging rural women and families to plant trees in community groups, and follows Maathai, the movement’s founder and the first environmentalist and African woman to win the Nobel Prize.

Maathai discovered her life's work by reconnecting with the rural women with whom she had grown up. They told her they were walking long distances for firewood, and that clean water was scarce. The soil was disappearing from their fields and their children were suffering from malnutrition. “Well, why not plant trees?” she suggested.

Preview: Louder Than a Bomb

OWN Doc Shines a Light on Young Poets

Louder Than A Bomb (OWN, 9pm) chronicles four teams as they compete in the Chicago area teen poetry slam.

Hopeful and heartbreaking, the film captures the tempestuous lives of these young poets, exploring ways writing shapes their world, and vice versa. This is not just "high school poetry," this is language as a joyful release, irrepressibly talented teenagers obsessed with making words dance.

Preview: Customer (Dis)Service

Whatever Happened to Good Customer Service?

Customer (Dis)Service (CNBC, 9pm) takes viewers right to the heart of the new global battlefield, where the customer and the corporation are at war. Mass consumption is at an all-time high and customers have more options than ever before, raising consumer expectations to new heights.

Preview: Sebastian Maniscalco: What's Wrong with People?

Comedian Sebastian Maniscalco Performs

On What's Wrong with People (Showtime, 9:30pm) - the popular comedian and Tonight Show style correspondent brings his witheringly sarcastic take on modern behavior and decorum to this hilarious standup special.

Preview: The Making of The Iron Lady

Bio Channel Looks at Meryl Streep's New Movie
photo: The Weinstein Co.

The Making of The Iron Lady (Biography, 10:30pm) - A behind-the-scenes look at the upcoming theatrical release The Iron Lady, starring Meryl Streep. Streep portrays Margaret Thatcher, the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom who smashed through the barriers of gender and class to be heard in a male-dominated world.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

News: Celebrity Apprentice's Latest Celebs

Donald Trump's Apprentice Returns Next Month

Donald Trump, executive producer and star of Celebrity Apprentice, announced today the newest and largest-ever lineup of famous faces appearing on the fifth installment of the series, premiering Sunday, Feb. 12 at 9pm on NBC.

Review: Fatal Encounters

Chilling Real-Life Stories
Sarah Brady

The cable network Investigation Discovery has mastered the art of telling a certain type of story. The tales are true and quietly told, with ominous music in the background and haunting narration throughout.

Its latest series to hit the mark is Fatal Encounters (I.D., 10pm), a documentary series, with dramatic recreations, that would be easy to watch for long stretches.

Preview: Modern Family

Benjamin Bratt Returns as Manny's Dad

On Modern Family (ABC, 9pm), TV's most popular sitcom (or, depending on how you're counting, TV's No. 2 sitcom), Benjamin Bratt returns as Manny's dad. Meanwhile, Phil (Ty Burrell) kicks his hypochondria up to whole new level. Check out this preview.

Preview: Not My Mamma's Meals

Bobby Deen Takes the Butter Out
Bobby Deen, Paula Deen

On Not My Mamma's Meals (The Cooking Channel, 9pm), Bobby Deen takes his mother, Paula Deen's, recipes and transforms her Southern comfort food into lighter, lean, yet still delicious dishes. Each week, we'll follow Bobby as he tries to recreate one of his Mama's famous meals with healthy substitutes that cut down on calories and fat, but still deliver on taste.

Preview: Black Gold

Keeping the Oily Shirts Sweaty

truTV's Black Gold (10pm) has a pretty impressive pedigree, at least as far as reality shows go. It's from the crew behind huge reality hits Ice Road Truckers (History) and Deadliest Catch (Discovery Channel).

Preview: True Life Presents: On the Mat

MTV Doc Series Takes a Closer Look at H.S. Wrestling

True Life Presents: On the Mat (MTV, 10pm) - High School wrestling is like no other sport. Those who devote themselves to it often say a typical season falls somewhere in between torture and pure hell.

At Lake Stevens High, with seven Washington state championships under their belt, an incredibly demanding coach, and a student body that expects them to win state every year, and the pressure’s always on. Last year, the squad finished fourth – which was considered to be a disaster. This year, losing is not an option, so they’re kicking it up a notch and doing everything possible to reclaim their title.

Preview: Nova: Deadliest Volcanoes

Predicting When Volcanoes Will Blow

On Deadliest Volcanoes (PBS, 9pm - check local listings): Millions of people around the world live in the shadow of active volcanoes. Under constant threat of massive volcanic eruptions, their homes and their lives are daily at risk from these sleeping giants.

From Japan’s Mount Fuji to the "Sleeping Giant" submerged beneath Naples to the Yellowstone "supervolcano" in the United States, we will travel with scientists from around the world who are at work on these sites, attempting to discover how likely these volcanoes are to erupt, when it might happen, and exactly how deadly they could prove to be.

Preview: Dog the Bounty Hunter

Duane "Dog" Chapman and Family Kick Off Season Eight

Dog the Bounty Hunter - A&E, 10pm - Leland has to attend a Lamaze class before he can join the hunt--another Chapman is on the way. But when Dog starts to go after this accused jewelry thief without his fastest son, he learns that this fugitive puts the "R" in runner. Dog now knows that only Leland's fleet feet can catch this criminal. And when the fugitive is finally cornered, Leland is in for the fight of his life.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Preview: The Biggest Loser

The Biggest Loser's 13th Season Has a Twist
Dolvett Quince

Partners no more. On the 13th season of The Biggest Loser, premiering tonight on NBC at 8pm, the two-person teams, who arrive to lose weight together, end up competiting against one another for the $250,000 prize.

Hosted by Alison Sweeney, The Biggest Loser this season has competitors working out with trainers Bob Harper and Dolvett Quince.

Preview: Campus PD

It's Like Cops But with Puking Kids

Fox's Cops has been a TV staple for so long (decades) that it's easy to forget that it's still on TV and overlook it's huge impact on American TV. It was "reality TV" before there was such a thing.

One example of Cops' influence is Campus PD, a fun, silly but also captivating (and, if you're a parent), scary Cops-type show on G4. A new season kicks off tonight at 10pm.

Review: Work It

ABC's Predictably Unfunny New Sitcom
Chicago Sun-Times

Work It, premiering Tuesday (ABC, 8:30pm), is the latest in a series of freshman sitcoms about the supposed emasculation of today’s males: Last Man Standing, the short-lived Man Up and the even shorter-lived How To Be a Gentleman.

It stars Ben Koldyke (How I Met Your Mother) as Lee, the married father of a 14-year-old who’s keeping the cross-dressing details of his new job a secret from his wife, Connie. Amaury Nolasco (Prison Break) is Lee’s buddy Angel, who follows in Lee’s high-heeled footsteps and dresses as a woman to get a similar job with Big Pharma.

Review: Jane By Design

Cute Clothes and Cute Guys: What's Not to Like?

Here are some reasons to check out the [Jane By Design] premiere Tuesday night at 9pm (ABC Family).

The fashion: It's like a mini style parade. The catfights: Jane's journey to style stardom is not without a few bumps in the road -- and its biggest bump is named India (India de Beaufort)! The dudes: Let's be honest -- ABC Family has gotten male casting down to a science, so it should come as no surprise that every single guy on Jane is either ridiculously handsome or ridiculously charming. Or both. Usually both.

Preview: Frontline: Opium Brides

Girls Sacrificed for Drug Money

In Opium Brides, airing Tuesday, Jan. 3 at 10pm (PBS, check local listings), award-winning Afghan journalist Najibullah Quraishi takes viewers deep into the remote Afghan countryside to reveal the deadly bargain local farm families have been forced to make with drug smugglers in order to survive.

Watch Opium Brides Preview on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.

Preview: Jamie's American Road Trip

Brit Chef Jamie Oliver Hits the Road

Chef Jamie Oliver returns to BBC America with a new six-part series, Jamie’s American Road Trip (10pm). Jamie found an opportunity for the ultimate food trip in the United States.

It was a chance to explore places, ingredients, food culture and traditions. With the intent of unearthing the heart of great American food, getting past the junk and super-sized portions, Jamie set out on what he knew would be an inspiring trip. His instincts were right on. This epic journey takes the chef to the heart of America: its people, culture, music and most importantly, its food.

Preview: Celebrity Wife Swap

Sub-Celebs Try to Revive Dreadful Show

By this point, Gary Busey starring in a TV show virtually ensures that it's awful. The one-time respected actor has slumped in recent years to starring in reality TV trash like Celebrity Fit Club.

I haven't seen ABC's updated Wife SwapCelebrity Wife Swap (ABC, 9pm), but I'm just going to go out on a limb and say, It's probably terrible. Tonight, Gary Busey and scandal-plagued pastor Ted Haggard switch wives.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Review: It's a Brad, Brad World

Escapee from The Rachel Zoe Project Strikes Out on His Own
Brad Goreski

One of the very few aspects of Bravo's unwatchable The Rachel Zoe Project that made that exercise in vanity somewhat tolerable was Rachel's assistant, Brad Goreski. He's a fashionista whose No. 1 client has seemed to be himself.

That's changing in his own show, It's a Brad, Brad World, a fun but far-from-great reality show premiering tonight on Bravo (10pm).

Preview: HGTV Dream Home 2012

The HGTV Dream Home Giveaway

HGTV is giving one lucky viewer the chance to win a modern western ranch in picturesque Park City, Utah. This location is four seasons of total adventure - think fishing camp meets ski retreat with tons of 5-star luxury.

The winner of the 16th HGTV Dream Home 2012 (HGTV, 1pm) grand prize package will also win a 2012 GMC Terrain, five hundred thousand dollars in cash and every single item in the house. All it takes is one step inside and you'll be ready to move right in.

Preview: The Bachelor

Ben Flajnik Returns to The Bachelor with Head Held High

Recently rejected on The Bachelorette, bachelor Ben Flajnik now has his pick of two dozen crying, weeping, wailing women who want his, erm, rose. The Bachelor kicks off season 16 tonight (ABC, 8pm).

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Preview: National Hangover Day

Comedy Central Helps Ease in 2012

You don't need to be nursing a headache in order to enjoy a day of doing nothing.

Comedy Central provides plenty of reasons to stay in on Sunday - remote in handle, bottle of aspirin nearby. Case in point: a Futurama mini marathon and Mike Judge's 1999 ode to the cubicle, Office Space, with Ron Livingston and Jennifer Aniston.

Preview: Great Performances: From Vienna - The New Year's Celebration 2012

Julie Andrews Hosts Vienna Philharmonic's New Year's Celebration
Julie Andrews

Stage and screen legend Julie Andrews returns for the third time to host the merry annual New Year’s celebration with the Vienna Philharmonic, under the direction of Mariss Jansons from Vienna’s Musikverein. This is Jansons’ second time at the podium of this much cherished event. The famed Vienna Boys’ Choir will add their celestial voices to the gala.

From Vienna: The New Year’s Celebration 2012, featuring the infectious melodies of the Strauss Family and contemporaries, will air live Sunday, Jan. 1 at 2:30pm (PBS - check local listings).