The same, but different, is not always better. Cesar Millan’s new series “Leader of the Pack” (9 p.m., Nat Geo Wild) is nothing more, or less, than the mirror image of “Dog Whisperer.” Instead of visiting with the owners of untrainable pets, Millan auditions three potential owners for a slightly troublesome dog languishing unclaimed in a pound or shelter.
Seen in the most charitable light, “Pack” celebrates animal adoption by making it more selective. Every week, two out of three families will be turned down in their efforts to bring a pound dog home. Like a nightclub with a velvet rope and a scary bouncer, exclusivity breeds desire and popularity.
But all the good intentions in the world can’t make a fairly dull show exciting, or explain why a story with about 20 minutes of action goes on for an hour.
• In other critter-related programming news, “The Incredible Dr. Pol” (8 p.m., Nat Geo Wild) returns for a third season, following a wildlife veterinarian treating everything from expectant cattle to a dog exposed to too much homegrown marijuana.
• “Pit Boss” (8 p.m., Animal Planet) also begins a new season, followed by an episode of “Pit Bulls and Parolees” (9 p.m., Animal Planet).
• The Green Bay Packers host the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Wild-Card Game (7 p.m., NBC).
• Constantine reaches out to his son on “The Mob Doctor” (8 p.m., Fox).
• A couple hires the gang to commemorate their divorce on “Wedding Band” (9 p.m., TBS).
• Folks dieting five days into the new year can take vicarious pleasure in “101 Fast Foods That Changed the World” (9 p.m., H2).
• Tom Cruise, Hugh Jackman, Billy Crystal, John Bishop, Paul Hollywood, Mary Berry and Pink appear on “The Graham Norton Show” (9 p.m., BBC America).
• Louis C.K. hosts “Saturday Night Live” (10:30 p.m., NBC), featuring musical guest Fun.
Malcolm McDowell guest-stars on “The Mentalist” (7 p.m., CBS) ... Two helpings of “Cops” (7 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Fox) ... On three helpings of “Once Upon a Time” (ABC): a rude awakening (7 p.m.), Belle’s ultimatum (8 p.m.), up a beanstalk without a clue (9 p.m.) ... Two helpings of “48 Hours Mystery” (8 p.m. and 9 p.m., CBS).