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Archive for Monday, March 19, 2012

‘Dancing’ presents new card

March 19, 2012

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‘‘Dancing With the Stars” (7 p.m., ABC) returns for its 14th season. And for the first time, it’s facing serious competition from NBC. “The Voice” (7 p.m.) has not only become the most popular series on Monday night, it has even topped “American Idol” in audience size. While still popular, “Dancing” saw its ratings decline last fall, an indication that viewers have seen this routine one too many times before.

A tedious, hype-driven machine, “Dancing” boils down to typecasting — make that archetype-casting. This season, the “NFL star of a certain vintage” category is filled by Donald Driver of the Green Bay Packers. Looking for the youngish Disney star? Roshon Fegan (“Shake it Up!”) fills the bill. Is there a venerable star certain to garner sympathetic cheers? Was Gladys Knight a Pip? How about a funny gal with weight issues ready to rhumba in Kirstie Alley’s footsteps? Paging Sherri Shepherd. Is there a legendary female athlete ready to show she’s still in shape? Martina Navratilova will follow Monica Seles as a tennis star eager to do the paso doble.

Urkel himself (Jaleel White) joins a “Dancing” nerd herd that stretches back to Tucker Carlson, Kenny Mayne and Steve Wozniak. There’s also pop star Gavin DeGraw, actress Melissa Gilbert, opera singer Katherine Jenkins, Mexican TV star William Levy, soap regular Jack Wagner and TV anchor Maria Menounos.

‘‘Castle” (9 p.m., ABC) gets into the act with a story about a murder on a popular television dancing competition. Is “Castle” hyping “Dancing,” or is it the other way around? That’s the mystery.

• Speaking of advertising above all, “Mad Men” returns this Sunday! Look for Mrs. Draper No. 1 (January Jones) on tonight’s “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” (11:35 p.m., NBC) with Jeffrey Tambor and Eric Church.

Tonight’s other highlights

• Love is blind on “House” (7 p.m., Fox).

• “21 Jump Street” star Johnny Depp was cast as the titular bad boy in “Cry-Baby” (7 p.m., Ovation), director John Waters’ 1990 homage to rock ’n’ roll musicals. The only film to star Polly Bergen and Iggy Pop!

• A serial killer from 1963 has distinctive taste in music on “Alcatraz” (8 p.m., Fox).

• McGarrett’s sister faces drug charges on “Hawaii Five-O” (9 p.m., CBS).

• The team presents the work-in-progress to prospective investors on “Smash” (9 p.m., NBC).

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