What to Watch on TV This Week

A quick and dirty rundown of what to watch: Mike Huckabee’s new show, Grey’s latest lesbian plot, and Gwyneth Paltrow’s PBS travel show.

Francois Durand

SUNDAYMike Huckabee is landing some seriously A-list limousine liberals on Huckabee, his FOX News talk show. Last week was Bill Maher, and tonight he’s got Oliver Stone parsing the accuracy of his Bush biopic, W. We fully expect a Huckabee-Sarandon in-the-octogon deathmatch before Sweeps ends. (8 and 11 p.m.)

More liberal candy can be found on the CW’s 4Real, in which musicians M.I.A. and Mos Def journey to Liberia to meet with child-rights leader Kimmie Weeks and President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. A female prez? Insanity! (5 p.m.)

PBS brings the smarts with To the Contrary, which explores women’s issues under an Obama administration and the effects of TV sex on teenage pregnancy. Also on PBA eat tapas with odd-couple Gwyneth Paltrow and Mario Batali as they meander across Spain in fancy convertibles in their travel show Spain…On the Road Again. (check local listings)

You’ll want to chase that with something low-cal, like The Girls Next Door on E! Hugh Hefner, 82 and still perving, searches for the 55th Playmate of the Year. With Holly dating Criss Angel and Kendra engaged to Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Hank Baskett, this little piece of bubble-gum-and-tit bliss can’t last much longer. (10 pm)

MONDAYIt’s ‘80s Day on Gossip Girl. Not only does Cyndi Lauper make an appearance (please, God, let it be better than when she sang on The View), but Wallace Shawn ( The Princess Bride) shows up as Blaire’s mom’s new love interest. Bitchy, beautiful Blaire is one of the only reasons left to watch GG (along with Chuck “Motherchucker” Bass) and Wallace Shawn is Wallace flippin’ Shawn. The camp factor is inconceivable! (8 p.m.)

Fresh from the wilds of Fashion Week, Mary-Kate Olsen will appear on Monday’s Samantha Who? as a troubled twentysomething doing court-ordered community service. Heh. (9:30 p.m. )

TUESDAYSarah Drew, who played Kitty Romano on Mad Men, is guesting on the CW’s Privileged as the long lost BFF of enchanting lead Joanna Garcia. The show is based on Zoey Dean’s bestselling book How to Teach Filthy Rich Girls, and though it’s got less sex and longer hemlines than Gossip Girl, it’s surprisingly alluring. (9 p.m.)

Find a friend at PBS on NOVA’s Alien From Earth, which explores “the 2003 discovery of 18,000-year-old remains of hobbit-sized people on the Indonesian island of Flores.” (8 p.m.) Followed by Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story. (9 p.m.)


Braid Paisley and Carrie Underwood host the 42nd annual CMA Awards on ABC. Performances by Kenny Chesney, Sugarland, Taylor Swift and…Kid Rock? (He does eat at Waffle House.) And, yes, be still your beating hearts: Miley Cyrus and her poppy will present an award. (8 p.m.)

Steve Carell’s on The Tonight Show. (NBC, 11:35 p.m.) And on The Late Late Show, Celebrity Rehab’s Dr. Drew Pinksky will hopefully serve some steaming hot dish about Gary Busey, who, incidentally, gives the best Google Image search ever. (CBS, 12:35 p.m.)

THURSDAYAccording to at least one posted lineup, Bill O’Reilly will be on The Daily Show! (11 p.m.)

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Jennifer Aniston and her perfect hair will guest-star on 30 Rock. But what we’re really looking forward to? Appearances by Harry Anderson, Markie Post and Charlie Robinson. It’s the cast from of Night Court, y’all! (NBC, 9:30 p.m.)

Last Thursday marked the surprise departure of actress Brook Smith from Grey’s Anatomy. The feisty, gorgeous, real-sized blond played cardiac whiz Dr. Erica Hahn, who had just become one-half of the show’s first lesbian couple. Smith has said she got the impression that her axing came from the suits upstairs, not from show creator Shonda Rhimes. But Rhimes has since said that the popular lesbian couple’s “magic and chemistry” just wasn’t there. Which would be fine, except that this week introduces two skinnier, more conventionally attractive women, one of whom, Melissa George, is skin, bones, blonde, and apparently the show’s new lesbian character, who “takes anything—whatever walks in front of her,” as George put it. So just to recap: not necessarily a homophobic decision, but possibly a women-with-curves-phobic decision. The other new (also svelte) Grey’s addition: Mary McDonnell, whose Battlestar Galactica character currently has cancer, and who makes her entrance as a famous cardiac surgeon with Asperger’s. Which probably means no sex…at least in her first episode. (9 p.m.)

FRIDAYThank you thank you thank you, ABC, for greenlighting Super-Manny. The super spinoff, starring Chicago-based child therapist Mike Ruggles, premieres tonight. (9 p.m.)

SATURDAYFresh from providing commentary on the U.S. election, Ricky Gervais is all over HBO with his new comedy special, Ricky Gervais: Out of England, premiering Saturday. Taped live last summer at Madison Square Garden, the original Office boss tackles such “issues as fund-raising, fame, nursery rhymes, Nazis, moronic friends and obesity.” (9 p.m.)

The delicious Paul Rudd will host Saturday Night Live, along with musical guest Beyonce. Don’t expect to see any Sarah Palin impersonations, at least not by Tina Fey, who promised Oprah she’s "packing up her wig.” (NBC, 11:30 p.m.)

And finally, If you’ve always thought that all The Man Show needed to push it into epochal greatness was more metal, then tune in to VH1 Classics tonight for the premiere of That Metal Show, which mixes “the best of The View with Headbangers' Ball." (Seriously, that’s what the press release says.) First guest: Dee Snider of Twisted Sister. We are THERE. (11 p.m.)

Nicole Ankowski has lived in Ohio, Oakland, and on the high plains of South Dakota, but is now proud to call Brooklyn home. She wrote for alternative weekly papers in the first two states, and tried to learn Lakota in the last. (The vowels can be tricky.) She just earned her MFA in Creative Writing and has been published in Beeswax literary journal. She is unable to resist good writing or bad TV.