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Archive for Monday, January 7, 2008

Will ‘Wars’ wear out ‘Dancing’?

January 7, 2008

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Scant weeks after the conclusion of "Dancing with the Stars," the spin-off series "Dance War: Bruno vs. Carrie Ann" (7 p.m., ABC) arrives. That's not good. The popular reality shows that retain their audiences appreciate the old adage "Absence makes the heart grow fonder." "American Idol" airs but once a year, to tremendous ratings.

Can two "Dancing with the Stars" judges carry their own show and engage viewers and contestants as leaders of their own performance teams? Or will viewers long for the days when they said (or in Bruno's case, shouted) a few words and held up a card with a number?

The most important thing about this new series is its timing. Airing a week before the debut of "American Idol," it hopes to hook as many viewers as possible before the arrival of Simon, Paula and Randy.

¢ "Medium" (9 p.m., NBC) enters a new season with new problems for network television's favorite psychic wife and mother. For starters, Allison's (Patricia Arquette) identity as a medium has been exposed, and she has lost her allies and protectors in the police department. Her husband, Joe, is applying for unemployment benefits and feeling generally useless.

But none of these conflicts get in the way of Allison's dream life. Soon after a young boy's kidnapping, she has a series of nocturnal visions that put her at the scene of the crime. With no one at the force to turn to, she contacts a private agency and offers her help.

This puts her in contact with a hard-boiled investigator, Cynthia Keener (Anjelica Huston), who projects a strange mixture of compassion, impatience and greed. Huston makes the best of this flinty character and will stick around for the next six episodes of "Medium."

Tonight's other highlights

¢ Ohio State and LSU meet in the BCS title game (6:30 p.m., Fox).

¢ "Antiques Roadshow" (7 p.m., PBS, check local listings) enters its 12th season, the first to be presented in high definition, from Baltimore, Md.

¢ Janel Moloney ("The West Wing") stars in the title role as the lover of killer Scott Peterson, who later helped convict him of killing his pregnant wife in the 2005 made-for-TV drama "Amber Frey: Witness for the Prosecution" (8 p.m., Lifetime).

¢ Discovery Health ups the ante on NBC's "Biggest Loser: Couples" gimmick with "National Body Challenge: Twins Edition" (7 p.m., Discovery Health) where obese twins tackle their girth together.

¢ D.L. Hughley hosts the 13th Annual Critics' Choice Awards (8 p.m., VH1), presented live.

Cult choice

A young doctor (James McAvoy) becomes part of Ugandan dictator Idi Amin's (Forest Whitaker) inner circle in the remarkable 2006 drama "The Last King of Scotland" (7 p.m., HBO).

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