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Published: Monday, 12/29/2008

Surprisingly good TV for viewers this week

BY ROB OWEN
BLOCK NEWS ALLIANCE
Brody Jenner stars in the new MTV series 'Bromance.' Brody Jenner stars in the new MTV series 'Bromance.'
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Usually the week between Christmas and New Year's is pretty dead in TV land. Not so much this year.

Networks are scheduling new programs, and not just the New Year's Eve specials, although those are among the new shows, too. Granted, much of what will air is reality show junk, but beggars can't be choosers.

Here are some of the TV offerings this week:

Bromance (9 tonight, MTV): Just as Paris Hilton searched for her best friend on an MTV series, famous-for-being-famous party boy Brody Jenner seeks a new guy to join his posse of friends.

The City (10 tonight, MTV): Whitney Port, a star of MTV's The Hills, gets a spin-off that moves her from Los Angeles to New York for a new job in the fashion industry.

Kennedy Center Honors (9 tomorrow, CBS): The 31st annual celebration honors Roger Daltrey, Morgan Freeman, George Jones, Barbra Streisand, Twyla Tharp, and Pete Townshend. Caroline Kennedy will host the telecast, taped earlier this month in Washington, for the sixth year.

Independent Lens: Operation Filmmaker (10 tomorrow, PBS): A mix of tragedy and farce coalesce in this real-life story of a 25-year-old Iraqi film student who works on the set of a Hollywood production in Prague. He's not prepared for the world outside Baghdad; the liberal filmmakers aren't prepared when he declares his love for President Bush.

I Love Lucy marathon: Episodes of the classic sitcom will air on TV Land from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday.

Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve (10 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. Wednesday, ABC): Will once again feature Ryan Seacrest. Musical guests slated to appear include the Jonas Brothers, Taylor Swift, Lionel Richie, Fall Out Boy, Jesse McCartney, Robin Thicke, Ne-Yo, and Natasha Beddingfield.

New Year's Eve Live (11 p.m. Wednesday, Fox): Spike Feresten and Mark Thompson (Hole in the Wall) host Fox's New Year's Eve show, which will feature a performance by American Idol season seven winner David Cook.

NBC's New Year's Eve With Carson Daly (10 p.m. and 11:35 p.m. Wednesday): Will feature musical guests Katy Perry and Ludacris, and T.I. Luke Russert, son of the late Tim Russert, will offer live reports from Times Square.

HGTV premieres: HGTV launches five new series on New Year's Day, including Dear Genevieve (1 and 1:30 p.m. Thursday), hosted by designer Genevieve Gorder (Trading Spaces), who will serve as "Dear Abby" of the design world, answering concerns from viewers as they tackle home design projects.

And economic crisis be damned, HGTV premieres a whopping four new real estate series Wednesday: The Unsellables (2 and 2:30 p.m.), Desperate to Buy (3 and 3:30 p.m.), Income Property (4 and 4:30 p.m.) and The Property Shop (10 p.m.).

Countdown to the Crown (10 p.m. Friday, TLC): All 52 Miss America contestants will become reality-show fodder when they take up residence in the Queen Mary in Long Beach, Calif. Gretchen Carlson (Fox and Friends) appears as a guest consultant.

The Miss America pageant will air live from Las Vegas at 8 p.m. Jan. 24 on TLC. Mario Lopez (Extra) returns as host.

Game Show in My Head (8 p.m. Saturday, CBS): Joe Rogan, last seen dishing out bugs for contestants to eat on Fear Factor, returns as host of this new hidden-camera game show from executive producer Ashton Kutcher.

Contestants are sent out into the city wearing an ear piece through which Rogan speaks instructions for "outrageous and often embarrassing tasks" they have to act out in public. If contestants don't perform all tasks as instructed, they can't win.

The Block News Alliance consists of The Blade and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Rob Owen is the TV editor for the Post-Gazette.

Contact him at: rowen@post-gazette.com



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