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August 2009 Archives

"CMA Music Festival" Country's Night to Rock" (7 p.m., WLS-Channel 7): Brooks and Dunn -- together! -- Taylor Swift, Brad Paisley, Kenny Chesney, Reba McEntire, Julianna Houghs, the Judds, Sugarland . . .

"Eloise at the Plaza" (7 p.m., Disney): A precocious blond growing up in a hotel, before the Hilton sisters ruined the idea.

"Greek" (8 p.m., ABC Family): Season three begins, and promos promise some sort of hazing ritual involving men running around campus in their underwear.

"Youth Knows No Pain" (8 p.m., HBO): A plastic surgeon's son pokes around in the $60 billion anti-aging industry.

"Weeds" (9 p.m., Showtime): The season finale. Already.

"Dance Your Ass Off" (9 p.m., Oxygen): The final weigh-in! One dancer will win $100,000 as compensation for their missing posterior.

"Ultimate Cake Off" (9 p.m., TLC): Tonight's theme: pirates! How long before there's a Cake Channel?

If the wig-pulling antics of "The Housewives of Atlanta" have you in despair, take heart: You have officially squandered away the summer, and will now be rewarded with new fall television.

There's one good sign that we're in for some quality programming. The critically gushed-over "Lost" has a habit of killing off characters and ignoring subplots, which gives some excellent actors plenty of extra time. Watch for "Lost" alums in much the same way you might search for clues about Claire's unexplained disappearance. (But don't look for Claire herself; Emilie de Raven bypassed TV altogether to film a romance with Robert Pattinson.)

Sonya Walger (Desmond's true love Penny) loses her accent to star in "FlashForward" as a puzzled surgeon, and she'll be joined by former castmate Dominic Monaghan (tragic Charlie). Things don't look good for Elizabeth Mitchell's character Juliet, who was in "Lost's" last season finale, seeing as she has a large part in the remake of "V." Ian Somerhalder (sweet Boone) goes to the dark side as a vampire - and not the nice kind - on "The Vampire Diaries."

There are some interesting alumni from the lauded "Mad Men," too. If you can't place Kelsey Grammer's raspy-voiced wife on "Hank," picture her in a bouffant flip, tied to the bed by Don Draper. Yep! That's Melinda McGraw. And Pete Campbell's prim wife Trudy (Alison Brie) moonlights as a rehabbed Adderall addict in the comedy "Community."

Which brings us to Joel McHale, the sharp, snarky host of "The Soup." This season, he stretches himself to play the sharp, snarky reprobate of "Community." He is irresistible.

In the months ahead, familiar faces reinvent themselves with a fair amount of success -- and a few flamboyant flops. (I'm looking at you, Jenna Elfman.)
OK, now. TiVo's at the ready?


"25th Anniversary of Wrestlemania" (8 p.m., WMAQ-Channel 5): Mickey Rourke weighs in, with highlights of matches in Houston: Shawn Michaels vs. the Undertaker and Triple H vs. Randy Orton.

"It's Me or the Dog" (8 p.m., Animal Planet): Dealing with an energetic Labradoodle.

"Jimmy Kimmel's Big Night of Stars" (9 p.m., WLS-Channel 7): A rerun of the 2008 special, with appearances by Salma Hayek, Tracy Morgan, Michael Phelps, Jon Hamm, Barbara Walters, Kobe Bryant and Martin Short.

"Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" (9 p.m., WCIU-Channel 26): Spend your evening with Boris Karloff and Svengoolie.

"Michael Jackson: Our Icon" (9 p.m., BET): With footage from his 2007 photo shoot for Ebony magazine.


"Daytime Emmy Awards" (7 p.m., WGN-Channel 9): Vanessa Williams hosts, and "Sesame Street" earns a Lifetime Achievement Award. Go "Bold and the Beautiful"!

"Tool Academy 2" (8 p.m., VH1): A new batch of bad boyfriends enter a 30-day program to abandon their toolish ways. Last year, the participants were lured there by promises of a "Mr. Awesome" pageant.

"Futurama" (9 p.m., Comedy): Now in movie length! Leela (Katey Sagal) becomes an eco-activist protesting an intergalactic miniature golf course.

"High Plains Invaders" (9 p.m., SyFy): James Marsters stars as an Old West cowboy who fights voracious alien bugs. It's a love story.

"True Blood" (9:45 p.m., HBO): Evan Rachel Wood joins the toothy gang as 1,100-year-old vampire Queen Sophie-Ann. She researched the role by dating Marilyn Manson.

"The Kennedys: American Experience" (2 p.m., WTTW-Channel 11): From Joe through to the late Teddy. We all mourn in our own ways.

"Today" (7 a.m., WMAQ-Channel 5): Miley Cyrus in a performance that will almost certainly cause controversy.

"Dominick Dunne's Power, Privilege & Justice" (2 p.m., truTV): A 13-hour marathon of the show about murder and money, in honor of the late crime voyeur. Among the subjects: Claus von Bulow, Andrew Cunanan, the Menendez brothers, and Brach's candy heiress Helen Brach.

"Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie" (7 p.m., Disney): Alex (Selena Gomez) goes on a family vacation to the Caribbean, wishes her parents never met, and supernatural hilarity ensues.

"Psych" (9 p.m., USA): Ray Wise guest stars as a teacher who fears a
student's suicide was the work of the devil. Ironically, Wise usually specializes in playing the devil -- or some sort of politician. Draw your own conclusions.

"Pickles n' Cookies" (2:40 p.m., Channel 38.2): Peter Lagershausen, a local 11-year-old, made an animated film that was chosen by qubo to be remastered, complete with professional voiceover talent. You can say that you've been a fan of the auteur from way back.

"Battle of the High School Musicals: Guys 'N' Divas" (7:30 p.m., Showtime): Two schools in southern Indiana have an intense rivalry as they compete for a spot in the International Thespian Festival, where student musical productions often cost tens of thousands of dollars. "Hoosiers" for the theater crowd.

"Rob Dyrdek's Fantasy Factory" (8 p.m., MTV): The champion skateboarder is back for a new season It's sort of like the Make a Wish Foundation, without the kids. It's followed by a block of MTV fan favorites: "Bully Beatdown" (8:30 p.m.), "Nitro Circus" (9 p.m.) and "Pranked" (9:30 p.m.).

"America's Got Talent" (7 p.m., WMAQ-Channel 5): Reba McEntire, who knows from talent, is a special guest.

"Crash Course" (8 p.m., WLS-Channel 7): Orlando Jones and Dan Cortese host this race show, which includes "car bowling" and backward drag racing. Kids, wear your helmets.

"Great Performances: Harlem in Montmartre" (8 p.m., WTTW-Channel 11): After World War I, many black U.S. veterans stayed in Europe rather than return to segregation. S. Epatha Merkerson tells the story of the jazz age in Paris.

"Dinner: Impossible" (9 p.m., Food): A gourmet dinner for 250 at Gurnee's Great America? Seafood hotdogs, mmmm. The Sun-Times' Mike Thomas wrote about tonight's episode in the Food section.

"Holidate" (9 p.m., Soap): Chicago's "sophisticated yet adventurous" Patrycja swaps dating pools with former NFL cheerleader Brittney from Charlotte. Bring home a yummy Southern gentleman, Patrycja!

"America's Got Talent" (8 p.m., WMAQ-Channel 5): Chicago's FootworKINGz earned the "judges' decision" spot last week, and moved on to the semifinal round. Root for the home team!

"Big Brother 11" (8 p.m., WBBM-Channel 2): Sunday night, we were treated to a "sexy gardener" montage starring Chicago's own Jeff. Will he win? Root for the home hunk!

"Shaq Vs." (8 p.m., WLS-Channel 7): The big man teams with Todd Rogers and takes on volleyball stars Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh at Hermosa Beach. Then Serena gives him a glimpse into the athletic female psyche.

"Frankie & Neffe" (9:30 p.m., BET): Keyshia Cole's mother and oldest sister, who stole scenes on "The Way It Is," have now earned their own reality series, in the fine tradition of the gratuitous Kardashians.

"Sprout's Wiggly Waffle" (5 a.m., WTTW-Channel 11): Australia's equivalent to the Beatles launch a three-hour programming block, and encourage kids to send in pictures and suggestions via

"The Fresh Beat Band" (Noon, Nickelodeon): Four happy shiny teenagers give the Wiggles a run for their money by going after the much desired preschool demographic.

"The Soup Presents: The Best Clips of '09 So Far" (10 p.m., E!): Just in case you missed the first half of the year in embarrassing TV moments, Joel McHale recaps.

"The Rachel Zoe Project" (10 p.m., Bravo): The new season kicks off with the Golden Globes. Question: For a woman who's supposed to be on top of fashion, why does her strung-out hippie look never change?

"Dating in the Dark" (9 p.m., WLS-Channel 7): How do the blind daters mark the season finale? By going through each other's luggage.


"Fab Five: The Texas Cheerleader Scandal" (7 p.m., Lifetime): Well, you and I know there's more than one, but let's not quibble with the title. Jenna Dewan - the new Mrs. Channing Tatum - plays a schoolteacher who's on the wrong end of the spirit stick.

"Bring It On: All Or Nothing" (8 p.m., E!): "Heroes'" Hayden Panettiere needs some street cred to impress head cheerleader Solange Knowles-Smith (Beyonce's less blessed sister).

"All Jacked Up" (8:30 p.m., CMTV): C. Thomas Howell - I love you, Ponyboy! - hosts this new series about everything from ostrich races to robotic dinosaurs to jet-powered outhouses.

"The People Under the Stairs" (10 p.m., WCIU-Channel 26): Svengoolie is your tour guide for the open house of Wes Craven's 1991 creeptacular.

"I Saw What You Did" (1 a.m., Me-TV): And this is why it's a bad idea to make prank calls, kiddies. The 1965 thriller stars Joan Crawford.


"What Would Brian Boitano Make?" (Noon, Food): In each episode, the iconic figure skater invites people over to his home to indulge in dishes like Chicken Paella Burgers, Pear and Almond Crostata, and Bourbon Bacon Apple Tarts.

"60 Minutes" (7 p.m., WBBM-Channel 2): A tribute to the late Don Hewitt.

"My Shocking Story" (8 p.m., TLC): The world's tallest woman and tallest man hold a summit.

"Miss Universe" (9 p.m., WMAQ-Channel 5): Who will be the next paragon of femininity and virtue? With appearances from Flo Rida, Kelly Rowland, and the highly anticipated Heidi Montag.

"Patton Oswalt: My Weakness Is Strong" (10 p.m., Comedy Central): The comic - also known as the voice of Remy in "Ratatouille" - performs his latest album.

9 p.m., Lifetime

In the Lifetime movie "Acceptance," Joan Cusack plays a St. John-clad, permanently clenched mom who wants her daughter to choose a college based on 1) academic excellence and 2) spousal potential. Not necessarily in that order.

In real life, Cusack was a lot luckier. Her father had more idealistic expectations of her academic career. "I remember my dad, who was awesome, saying to me, 'If you really want to act your whole life, you should go to college first,'" says Cusack. "He said I should learn about all the other wonderful things in the world and have great professors."

Her father, a documentary filmmaker who died in 2003, had to put off his own college adventures to fight in World War II. He enrolled at age 21. "He was a great lover of 18th century poetry, for some reason," says Cusack. "Who knows why. But he really appreciated college, and he wanted his kids to have that experience."

The Lifetime movie is a satiric look at how twisted the college application process can be. "It's about when ambition and competitiveness - those American ideals - get in the way of shaping true character," says Cusack.

Maybe it's the power of the title, but every time I think about "Glee" I get giddy. We were introduced to the Fox series in May, after an episode of "American Idol," and it was obvious from the start that we were confronted with something no less than magical.

It's the holy grail of primetime: A TV musical that works.

Oh, many have tried to combine musical numbers and mainstream TV. "Eli Stone" and George Michael - a noble effort. "Viva Laughlin" - a gamble that didn't pay off. "Cop Rock" - the less said, the better.

(I can't resist. Just one flashback. Remember when "Cop Rock" had a lineup of Hispanic suspects sing, "We're the local color with the coppertone skin / And you treat us like we're guilty of some terrible sin"?)

By contrast, "Glee" is pure joy to watch. Is there anything more uplifting than watching a group of teenage misfits belting out "Don't Stop Believin'"?

"Ghostbusters" (8 p.m., AMC): Can someone explain to me why the 'Busters smoke so much in this movie? Is it symbolic of something? Or do they just like smoking?

"Jockeys" (9 p.m., Animal Planet): If you couldn't get enough of the fast jockey lifestyle, you're in luck: They've expanded the half-hour episodes to an hour this season.

"Ugly Betty" (9 p.m., WLS-Channel 7): Get in the mood for the new season by brushing up with a series of "enhanced" reruns. Tonight, Baby William is kidnapped - and on-screen facts give clues, background, and of course an explanation of who the heck Baby William is.

"Monk" (9 p.m., USA): Tony Shalhoub's Monk investigates a UFO sighting. Let the probing begin!

"Psych" (10 p.m., USA): If you love Simon Baker on "The Mentalist," you must check out Dule Hill and James Roday.

"Project Runway: All-Star Challenge" (7 p.m., Lifetime): Nicole Kidman guest-stars on the two-hour special that reunites Uli Herzner, Mychael Knight, Sweet P, Chris March, Daniel Vosovic, Jeffrey Sebelia, Korto Momolu, and my favorite, Santino Rice.

"Models of the Runway" (10 p.m., Lifetime): Let's not forget that while the designers are sewing their little hearts out, their models are also competing, for a $25,000 prize and a fashion spread in Marie Claire. The designers may be cranky, but these girls are hungry.

"How to Be a Basterd: Inside the New Film by Quentin Tarantino" (9 p.m., This TV, Channel 26.4): I could listen to Quentin rant all day.

"The Real Housewives of Atlanta" (9 p.m., Bravo): This supersized episode has it all: Sheree attending a bodybuilding event; NeNe at the salon; Kandi and AJ taking their engagement picture; a King Tut cocktail party.

As the legal battle over the rights to "Project Runway" was waged, Season Six's contestants found themselves cooling their high heels for about a year. But now the show, which moved to L.A., is finally at home on Lifetime and airing at 9 p.m. Thursday.

The wait may have been worth it for Ra'mon-Lawrence Coleman, a designer who is clearly ahead of his time. If he had his way, all men would follow his example of wearing man brooches and shorts with calf socks. "It's already happening," he insists. "You see men rolling up their pants with higher socks. And the great thing about doing runway is that you can create a fantasy, take it a bit furthur than the everyday interpretation. Maybe a brooch could be reinterpreted into a tie clip."

Born and raised in Bronzeville, he has a unique background for "Project Runway": He left medical school, where he was training to be a neurosurgeon, to enroll in the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he switched to studying performance art and fashion. Since then, Coleman, 31, has worked for Target and Kohl's and moved to Minneapolis. Right now he's getting ready to show his own label, Ra'mon-Lawrence, at New York's Fashion Week.

"Big Brother 11" (8 p.m., WBBM-Channel 2): One of the contestants has left the house, although it hasn't been definitively established whether it was voluntary or an eviction with extreme prejudice. Let's go to the footage!

"Secret Lives of Women" (9 p.m., WE): The new season starts with an attention-grabber: mothers of murderers.

"Saving Grace" (9 p.m., TNT): Get your Holly Hunter while you can. It's been announced that the show will end after next summer.

"Masters of Reception" (9 p.m., TLC): Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos produced this show about New Jersey's Frungillo family, who have a catering business that's served everyone from Frank Sinatra to the Pope. (Frank was a better tipper.)

"House of Jazmin" (9:30 p.m., MTV): This new series breaks from the tradition of filming himbos and bimbettes as they do nothing. Instead, we follow the burgeoning career of 20-year-old fashion designer Jazmin Whitley.

On "Good Morning America," the cast for next season's "Dancing With the Stars" was announced. The biggest surprise? Former Republican Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who is not known for his cha-cha.

Also hoofing it:

Donny Osmond
Macy Gray
Aaron Carter
Melissa Joan Hart
Debi Mazar
Ashley Hamilton
Joanna Krupa
Kathy Ireland
Kelly Osbourne
Mark Dacascos
Chuck Liddell
Louie Vito
Natalie Coughlin
Michael Irvin

There must be some mathemtical formula involved in casting the show, although I can't figure out what it is. Maybe Melissa Joan Hart got the spot usually reserved for "90210" alums? I do know that Tori Spelling's husband was hoping to make the cut and didn't. Is there anything more humiliating than being rejected by "Dancing With the Stars"?

The ninth season of the hit ABC show premieres Sept. 21.

"Good Morning America" (7 a.m., WLS-Channel 7): The contestants for next season's "Dancing With the Stars" will be announced before 9. Tori Spelling's husband is rumored to be in the running. Might I suggest her mother Candy, as well?

"E! News" (6 p.m., E!): I feel dirty just telling you this, but Jon Gosselin's girlfriend - this is the one who's the daughter of the doctor who gave Kate her tummy tuck - confides in Giuliana Rancic about whether she's ever had a lesbian affair. Sample quote: "I'm not some fame whore."

"Glenn Martin, D.D.S." (7 p.m., Nickelodeon): Please do not mistake this for an actual recommendation.

"Dating in the Dark" (8 p.m., WLS-Channel 7): What can you surmise about a guy by looking at his car? An alternative to the "What's your hot dog topping" approach to dating.

'Glenn Martin, DDS'
Two stars
7 p.m. Monday, Nick

When I learned that Michael Eisner created this stop-animation series, and that the voices of Kevin Nealon, Catherine O'Hara and Judy Greer would be involved, I confess that I raised my expectations. Besides, what's funnier than a dentist traveling the country in an RV with a giant toothbrush on top?

And then I learned that one of the recurring jokes would be about a dog's oversized anus. I'm not sure my expectations will ever recover.


"House Husbands of Hollywood" (8 p.m., Fox Reality): If you do not watch this show, I will have failed.

"Deadly Mantis" (9 p.m., WCIU-Channel 26): Svengoolie has added "Svensurround" to the tender story of a prehistoric giant praying mantis who attacks America.

"The Car" (1 .m., Me-TV): James Brolin takes on an evil car - is it a phantom, a demon, or the devil himself? Other notable castmembers: Ronny Cox, Melody Thomas Scott (the long beleaguered Nikki on "The Young and the Restless") and Kim Richards (Paris Hilton's aunt!).


"Mad Men" (9 p.m., AMC): The three-and-a-half-star start of season three includes a look at Don Draper's origins.

"My Antonio" (Sabato Jr. matchmaker show) on VH1 Those of you who were hoping Antonio Banderas was back on the market - sorry. Antonio Sabato Jr. and his mother are on the hunt for the next Mrs. Underwear Model.

"Kourtney and Khloe Take Miami" (8 p.m., E!): The news that Kourtney Kardashian is unexpectedly pregnant makes the show a bit more intriguing. Will there be footage of the day she forgot to take her pill?

"Reality Hell" (9:45 p.m., E!): An update on the enjoyable "Joe Schmo Show," except each week a different person will be competing on a reality show that turns out to be scripted and populated with actors. How is that different from the traditional reality show again?

"High Seas Heroes: Fighting Back Pirates" (7 p.m., TLC): Revisiting the April incident when a captain was taken hostage by Somali pirates.

'Mad Men'
Three and a half stars
10 p.m. Monday, AMC

"Mad Men" is already legendary -- a critical smash. We rave about the unsentimental reassessment of an idealized era. We swoon over the vintage clothes, the decorating details. The direction! The acting! Even the opening sequence is can't-miss. "Mad Men" makes us want to invent another type of award, just so we can give it to them.

Now, at the beginning of the third season, we must acknowledge the real secret of its success: Don Draper is the coolest TV character of all time.

In the first episode, we witness Don's super powers. All he does is sit there, and women shamelessly throw themselves at him. He oozes mystery. He's brilliant. He has it all - money, respect, the perfect family - but we never doubt that he finds it completely meaningless. He is appealingly tortured, tragic.

"Neil Diamond: Hot August Night: NYC" (7 p.m., WBBM-Channel 2): Footage from recent concerts, as well as a trip to his hometown. He's even better than the tribute bands.

"Mental" (7 p.m., WFLD-Channel 32): The two-hour season finale. Dr. Jack reasons with a man who believes himself to be a werewolf. He must be mentally disturbed -- who wants to be a werewolf in summer?

"DeGrassi goes Hollywood" (7 p.m., The N): In their first feature-length movie, the gang seeks stardom by competing for a role in the next Jason Mewes movie. Mewes, of course, is the Kevin Smith regular who had heroin FedExed to his hotel while he was promoting "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back."

"Send It On" (7:30 p.m., Disney): Miley Cyrus, the Jonas Brothers, Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato sing for Disney's "Friends for Change: Project Green." Presumably, there will be no pole dancing.

"Big Brother 11" (7 p.m., WBBM-Channel 2): Head of Household Chima has vowed to "ruin the live show" if anyone messes with her nominations. But Chicago's Jeff has the power of Coup d'Etat, even if he can't pronounce it. I'm rooting for an upset, and a meltdown.

"Into the Pride" (7 p.m. Thursday, Animal Planet): Dave Salmoni has a very cool title on his business cards - "large predator expert" - and spent six months in the Namibian bush, trying to help "problem lions" adapt to humans.

"Police Women of Broward County" (8 p.m., TLC): Empowerment and righteousness, without ever leaving the couch.

"The Real Housewives of Atlanta" (9 p.m., Bravo): In an episode titled "Unbeweavable," the ladies trash each other and attend a wig party. Irresistible.

Letterman vs. Conan

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Let me make this clear: I have never hosted a talk show. Does this make me less qualified to judge talk-show hosts than, say, in alphabetical order, Tyra Banks, Carson Daly, Tony Danza, Zach Galifianakis, Tom Green, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Magic Johnson, Sharon Osbourne, Jerry Springer or Steve Wilkos?

Yes. Conceded.

But this historic Letterman-O'Brien showdown -- the brutal Fight for Late Night -- cannot be ignored. CBS chief Nina Tassler couldn't help gloating that "Late Show With David Letterman" is closing the ratings gap with "The Tonight Show." Remember in June, a week after Conan O'Brien's "Tonight" debut, when NBC formally announced that he was "the new king of late night"?

"It seemed a little bit premature," Tassler said with a laugh during a meeting with critics last week. Even NBC's late-night boss, Rick Ludwin, had to agree.

"Truth Be Told" (8 p.m., TLC): True confessions, with topics such as "I have an embarrassing medical condition" and "I'm obsessed with my pet." First up: "I'm a hoarder."

"Man vs. Wild" (8 p.m., Discovery): Bear Grylls is back for a fourth season. Coming up: he tangles with a frozen waterfall and hunts wild reindeer. Seems like it would make a nice Christmas special.

"Live From Lincoln Center: Joshua Bell and the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra" (8 p.m., WTTW-Channel 11): The Grammy-winning violinist marks the 200th anniversary of Haydn's death and Mendelssohn's birth.

"Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" (7 p.m., WLS-Channel 7): Lauren Conrad - "Hills" alum, fledgling designer, successful novelist - will be competing. Lifeline expert? No, mercifully, it's not Audrina Patridge. Cokie Roberts will be advising.

"America's Got Talent" (8 p.m., WMAQ-Channel 5): Ten of the top 40 perform. Keep an eye out for Chicago dance troupe FootworKINGz. (Their creative capitalization, not mine.)

"NYC Prep" (8 p.m., Bravo): Season finale! The spoiled socialites plan a charity event, which is "win/win," says heartthrob Sebastian. "It shows off my sensitive side to girls, which increases my chances." UNICEF would love this guy.

"Daddy's Girls" (9 p.m., MTV): The Rev. Run's daughters Angela and Vanessa return for the second season, on their own in Los Angeles. I can tell you that there is helium-inhaling ahead.

"Rescue Me" (10 p.m., FX): More of the fabulous Maura Tierney as the rapacious Kelly, who comments on Denis Leary's resemblance to Ron Howard. He does kind of look like him.

Caught up on "Psych" over the weekend and loved it. Does Dule Hill have any Emmys? I rank him up there with Kevin Dillon as a comedic genius.

At any rate, seems like strange timing to have two such good faux-psychic-helping-the-police shows on the air... What's your preference? Does anyone watch both, or is it the kind of situation where you must choose?

Click Here to take survey

"Today" (7 a.m., WMAQ-Channel 5): She says. Meredith Vieira has Kate Gosselin's first interview since her husband decided to search for his lost 20s.

"E! News" (6 p.m., E!): He says. Jon Gosselin confides in Giuliana Rancic about what it's like to be in America's doghouse. The first of two nights. Bonus: Ryan Seacrest talks with the other woman - well, one of the other women - scandal sheet Method reporter Kate Major.

"Witless Protection" (7:15 p.m., Showtime 2): Larry the Cable Guy and an FBI witness (Ivana Milicevic) tussle with "crooked federal agents, quack doctors and Chicago high society." How could it miss?

"Jon & Kate Plus 8" (8 p.m., TLC): Might as well make a day of it.

"The Nine Lives of Marion Barry" (8 p.m., HBO): Local politicians could learn a few things.

'Shark Tank'
One star
8 p.m. Sunday, WLS-Channel 7

The legendary Mark Burnett is the reality producer who brought us "Survivor," "The Apprentice," "The Restaurant," "The Casino," "Rock Star," "The Contender," "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?" and "My Dad Is Better Than Your Dad."

He has officially run out of ideas.

There are so many things I hate about his new show, "In the Shark Tank," that I started numbering them just to calm down. Where to start?

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"Dirty Sexy Money" (9 p.m., WLS-Channel 7): Goodbye, decadent Darlings! It's the last episode for the soapy sizzler. Oddly, it follows "Finding Nemo."

"George Lopez: Tall, Dark and Chicano" (9 p.m., HBO): In his second HBO solo special, Lopez tells funny stories, live!

"Face the Ace" (8 p.m., WMAQ-Channel 5): A Chicago poker player tries for the $1 million.

"iCarly: iFight Shelby Marx" (7 p.m., Nickelodeon): During her webcast, Carly (Miranda Cosgrove) challenges a martial arts expert to a fight. She takes Carly up on it -- and then things get personal. If that's not enough tween violence for you, you can play iKickButt at


"Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" (7 p.m., WLS-Channel 7): Regis is back, and he's not afraid to ask the tough questions.

"There Goes the Neighborhood" (8 p.m., WBBM-Channel 2): Eight families and longtime friends are walled in and cut off from electricity. This is not going to be good for proprety values. My review is at

"Shark Tank" (8 p.m., WLS-Channel 7): Mark Burnett, the producer of "Survivor," brings us this reality show, which is set in an enormous fishtank. Will it sink or swim? My review is in the Sunday paper's entertainment section.

"The Comedy Central Roast" (9 p.m., Comedy Central): Joan Rivers is the honoree, with appearances by Tom Arnold, Carl Reiner, Kathy Griffin and more.

"Jesse James Is a Dead Man" (9 p.m., Spike): He's set himself on fire, outrun the police, and driven through a minefield. For the season finale, he goes for the land speed record for a hydrogen-powered vehicle. I bet his wife worries.

"Monk" (8 p.m., USA): The beginning of the eighth and final season. Will we finally find out who killed Monk's wife? Good news: Sharona (Bitty Schram) returns for a guest appearance sometime this season.

"Chefs vs. City" (9 p.m., Food): This new series is being billed as "the ultimate foodie tour." In each episode, two chefs challenge two local foodies to find the city's most extreme eating spots. First up? Las Vegas.

"Psych" (9 p.m., USA): A fake psychic who helps the police? Give them this, they were doing it before you ever heard of "The Mentalist." Tonight, Cary Elwes ("The Princess Bride," "The Crush") guest-stars.

"Gown Crazy" (9 p.m., TLC): Aw! They gave Johnathan Kayne Gillaspie[all cq] "Project Runway 3" his own show! The pageant gown tries to claw his way to the top, but Oklahoma weather gets in the way.

"So You Think You Can Dance" (7 p.m., WFLD-Channel 32): Season finale. Don't watch passively - at least tap your foot now and then.

"Mamma Mia!" (7 p.m., HBO Comedy): The cable premiere of Meryl Streep in spangled bell bottoms.

"Royal Pains" (9 p.m., USA): A cute "concierge doctor" who practices in the Hamptons = the perfect summer show.

"Bollywood Musical" (9 p.m., IFC): Chris Kattan stars as himself in a three-part "musical event" scripted comedy as he tries to become India's leading leading man. The best part: Keanu Reeves is in it!

"Live From the Artists Den" (9 p.m., WTTW-Channel 11): Alanis Morissette in concert. There's always the chance she'll perform her interpretation of "My Humps."

"Extreme Waterparks" (9 p.m., Travel): Believe me, it's better than actually lining up behind scantily clad, wet Midwesterners clutching inner tubes.

Thumbnail image for u757cover.jpgOur love-hate relationship with the "Bachelor" franchise has taken another hit. Trophy fiancé Ed Swiderski has been sullied by allegations that he carried on with not one, but two Chicago women after he proposed to Jillian Harris on "The Bachelorette."

Whether or not Ed is guilty of love in the third degree, one thing is becoming clear: "The Bachelor's" ewww factor now outweighs its awww factor.

"I feel gross, used and completely violated," Lindsey Johnson confided to Us magazine in its upcoming issue, claiming that Ed slept with her eight days after the proposal. The cover story: "Bachelorette Betrayed!"

Viewers, increasingly, feel the same way.

"America's Got Talent" (8 p.m., WMAQ-Channel 5): Hubby Nick Cannon has been standing up for Mariah Carey in Eminem's war of the words, and now Mariah returns the favor by performing - live -- her new single, "Obsessed," on his show. It's the celebrity equivalent of being romantic.

"So You Think You Can Dance" (8 p.m., WFLD-Channel 32): The first part of the two-night finale, broadcast from Hollywood's Kodak Theater.

"Giuliana & Bill" (8 p.m., Style): First Apprentice Bill Rancic and wife Giuliana, a host on E!, most into their new Chicago home.

"Make My Day" (9:30 p.m., TV Land): Deserving people unwittingly get their best day ever in this new hidden-camera series, which is kind of like a more positive "Punk'd." Tonight: A good guy gets to bowl with "The Sopranos'" Vincent Pastore.

It doesn't look like Joan Rivers, 76, will be retiring anytime soon. The reigning Celebrity Apprentice has a new show premiering tonight on TVLand - "How Did You Get So Rich?" - and her Comedy Central roast airs Sunday night.

There won't be room for shuffleboard in her schedule for some time.

"I've always worked like a horse with blinders on," says Rivers on the phone from New York. "All I care about is being relevant. I read my papers, go out on the stage. I work every night somewhere."

Chicago is the first place she made a living doing what she loved, and she hasn't looked back since. "I come out of Second City, you know, and that taught me, say what you think. God bless the Chicago audiences. That was the first place I said what I thought, and they said, 'Yeah!'"

Among the things that viewers were hoping to see on last night's new "Jon & Kate Plus 8" episodes:

*Jon's girlfriend Deanna.

*Jon's girlfriend Hailey.

*Jon's latest girlfriend, the tabloid reporter.

*We would even have settled for Kate shaving her head, or attacking paparazzi with an umbrella.

What viewers actually saw:

*Jon and Kate briefly bickering about yet another shameless freebie - a completely remodeled kitchen where their already to-die-for kitchen was. Things got particularly heated about the under-the-counter refrigerator.

That's as juicy as it got.

"Sugarland: Live on the Inside" (7 p.m., WLS-Channel 7): Today's trivia? Twenty cameras were used in the making of this "cinematic postcard" from the country duo's tour.

"Real Chance of Love 2" (8 p.m., VH1): Last season, the brother "Stallionaires" were unable to find their lifemates. (Real's relationship with Cornfed, sadly, didn't make it.) Here we go again.

"The Magic of Audrey" (9 p.m, WTTW-Channel 11): A documentary about cinema's saint, Audrey Hepburn. The fashions! The men! The charitable causes!

"Jon & Kate Plus 8" (8 p.m., TLC): Unbelievably, the show's title hasn't yet changed to "Kate Gosselin: Humiliated Single Mom." In two new episodes, Kate struggles with kitchen renovation, building tents and making fire.

"Big Brother 11" (8 p.m., WBBM-Channel 2): Last week, the man dressed as a giant banana was voted out. I'm hoping that this week, the Lydia-Jessie-Natalie love triangle will get even nastier.

"Sharkbite Summer" (8 p.m., Discovery): We continue to celebrate SHARK WEEK! with this special about the summer of 2001.

"Scrubs" (8:30 p.m., WLS-Channel 7): Remember the episode that seemed to be the finale, but then turned out not to be? This is a rerun of that one.

"Addicted to Beauty" (10 p.m., Oxygen): This show was originally supposed to be about the owners of a fancy spa/surgery center -- a socialite and her surgeon husband. But then they got divorced. So now it's a show about Dianne York-Goldman trying to start a new spa.

'Defying Gravity'Three stars
8 p.m. Sunday, WLS-Channel 7

Executive producers James Parriott ("Grey's Anatomy") and Michael Edelstein ("Desperate Housewives") are marketing this new series as "'Grey's Anatomy' in space." (Because, really, one would want to watch "'Desperate Housewives' in space"?)

The concept is that it's the year 2052, and eight astronauts from five different countries are about to embark on a six-year mission to visit seven of the planets in our solar system. First stop: Venus.

"Defying Gravity" mixes the sci-fi with a randy dose of soap romance. There are flashbacks to training and other missions, which are reminiscent of "The Right Stuff" and "Top Gun," and the mission is straight out of "Star Trek." There's an intriguing element of "Lost" in the series, too, which may keep waffling viewers on board: Not all the astronauts know that there's a mysterious entity called "it" or "Beta" that seems to be calling the shots behind the scenes. Is it a sinister computer? An Alf-like alien? Christopher Walken with a bucket on his head? I have a feeling we won't be finding out anytime soon.


"Face the Ace" (8 p.m., WMAQ-Channel 5): Steve Schirripa - "The Sopranos'" Bobby Baccalieri - continues to diversify by hosting this new poker reality series. You can see him on "The Secret Life of the American Teenager," too.

"Mrs. Washington Goes to Smith" (8 p.m., Hallmark): College roommate assignments can be a nightmare, but can you imagine sharing a bunk with Cybill Shepherd? Let's hope she's not going for an advanced medieval studies degree.

"Assault in the Ring" (9 p.m., HBO): Boxing can be even more brutal than you imagined. This documentary revisits the 1983 scandal that ended one boxer's career and landed another in prison.


"Defying Gravity" (8 p.m., WLS-Channel 7): Is this new astronaut soap closer to "Lost" or "Lost in Space"? My review is in the Sunday paper. Hint: It's from the creators of "Grey's Anatomy."

"Megan Wants a Millionaire" (8 p.m., VH1): We all do, honey. The "Rock of Love: Charm School" alum graduates to her own reality series. Possible suitors include a gentleman nicknamed "Big Dog" ($1.1 million) and "The Plumber" ($2.5 million).

"Blood in the Water" (8 p.m., Discovery): IT'S SHARK WEEK! Dip your toes in with this dramatization of the 1916 tragedy when five people were torn up by sharks at the Jersey Shore. Warning: Do not watch this and "Assault in the Ring" the same weekend. Pace yourself.

"Legally Blondes" (7 p.m., ABC Family): The DVD came out in April, but smart girls waited for the television premiere.

"The Next Food Network Star" (8 p.m., Food): Who? Who? Finally, the suspense will be over.


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