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On TV this week, Jan. 17-21

Steven Tyler and J.Lo on Idol: It’s either the best idea in the show’s history, or the worst.


Steven Tyler and J.Lo on Idol: It’s either the best idea in the show’s history, or the worst.

On TV this week


SERIES PREMIERE Heavy, 10 p.m., A&E For some reason, the so-called Arts & Entertainment network is featuring a show about people who are morbidly obese. Maybe they've been sitting around watching too many episodes of Hoarders and Intervention.

SERIES PREMIERE Harry's Law, 10 p.m., NBC It's a David E. Kelley joint starring Kathy Bates as a lawyer who gets downsized and then opens her own firm. See what they did there? Her name's Harriet, see, so it's a woman named Harry, and she deals with the law. So clever.

Tabatha's Salon Takeover, 10:15 p.m., Bravo Just so we get this clear, if your entire staff rebels and refuses to work, you no longer have a salon to take over. You just have an empty room with a lot of sinks and hair dryers.


SEASON PREMIERE White Collar, 10 p.m., USA Tim DeKay and Neal Caffrey are back to catch more con artists and counterfeiters, but thanks to the evening news, it's like they never left.

Medieval Fight Book, 10 p.m., NatGeo Nerds use a 15th-century manuscript about warfare in the Middle Ages to recreate how you would have killed people way back then. It likely involved swords, arrows, fire or throwing something unpleasant on them.

SEASON FINALE Glory Daze, 10 p.m., TBS How can this be the end of the season already? We're only at midterms. TV years are more confusing than the new zodiac.


SEASON PREMIERE American Idol, 8 p.m., Fox It's time to see if Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez can keep this ship afloat, or if Simon Cowell's departure is the iceberg that's gonna sink this lumbering Titanic of a series. More bad news: Ryan Seacrest and Randy Jackson are returning.

Top Chef, 10 p.m., Bravo It's time for Restaurant Wars, during which at least one chef showcases how they are totally inept and shouldn't be working in food service, while at least one shows they're much better at customer service than cooking. Also, Anthony Bourdain returns to try and find the cleverest turn of phrase while insulting the contestants at the same time.

SERIES PREMIERE Retired at 35, 10:30 p.m., TV Land A high-powered executive quits his job to move in with his folks in a Florida retirement community. The creators of this show are so clueless — those places only accept people older than 55.


Wipeout, 8 p.m., ABC The show introduces a new obstacle, Winter Wonder Planks. When do the iron maidens and live-fire obstacles show up?

A President to Remember: In the Company of John F. Kennedy, 9:30 p.m., HBO Commemorate the 50th anniversary of the JFK inauguration with Alec Baldwin reminding all of us how so many people were afraid a Catholic president would be taking orders from the pope. Sounds silly now, doesn't it? Yeah, America loves to overreact about nothing, all right.

SERIES PREMIERE Fairly Legal, 10 p.m., USA It seems someone heard us complain about too many lawyer shows on TV, so the solution is to have a series about a former lawyer now working as a mediator. Hey, if it never reaches a courtroom, it can't be called a courtroom drama, can it?


Supernanny, 8 p.m., ABC I-ro-ny: Noun. 1. The use of words to convey a meaning that is the opposite of its literal intention. 2. An outcome of events contrary to what was expected. 3. A parenting educator having screaming brats who need a British nanny to show them what's what.

SEASON PREMIERE Kitchen Nightmares, 8 p.m., Fox At some point, you'd think Gordon Ramsay would just pull some of these people aside and explain to them that, hey, running a restaurant isn't for everyone.

SERIES PREMIERE Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, 10 p.m., Starz Because Andy Whitfield is being treated for cancer, the second season of Spartacus: Blood and Sand is being delayed. No worries, though, since they've made this six-part prequel set before Spartacus arrives. Don't worry, it's just as violent.

— Joshua Gillin [email protected]

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On TV this week, Jan. 17-21 01/16/11 [Last modified: Sunday, January 16, 2011 5:57pm]
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