What's On This Week

SUNDAY, NOV. 4

NEW SEASON!

THE AMAZING RACE
8 P.M. | CBS
Viewers instantly recognized Viva Laughlin for the sad, drab showgirl it was and said no, so CBS is replacing it with Season 12 of this breathless, Emmy-winning reality race. Can you spot the Goth team, Kynt and Vyxsin? Subtle hint: Pink.

MONDAY, NOV. 5

RACHAEL RAY
TIMES MAY VARY | SYNDICATED
The five finalists in Ray's "So You Think You Can Cook?!" contest start the showdown of pots, pans and recipes. The winner is announced Nov. 26.

TUESDAY, NOV. 6

NEW SEASON!

THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF ORANGE COUNTY
10 P.M. | BRAVO
Back to the manicured yet tacky suburbs of Orange County. The premiere includes Lauri planning her wedding. She won't be doing it on the cheap.

HOUSE
9 P.M. | FOX
Dr. House treats a CIA agent with a deadly mystery malady, and the agency's reluctance to provide info makes the case even more frustrating.

WEDNESDAY, NOV. 7

CMA AWARDS
8 P.M. | ABC
For the 41st annual show, Jamie Foxx will pair up with Rascal Flatts for "She Goes All the Way" (which he also sings on the group's album Still Feels Good).

KITCHEN NIGHTMARES
9 P.M. | FOX
Chef Gordon Ramsay, so even of temper and steady of keel, will be tempted to scream and curse when he tries to simplify the menu at Sebastian's, a restaurant in Burbank.

THURSDAY, NOV. 8

30 ROCK
8:30 | NBC
For an episode about eco-issues—it's a green theme week for NBC's prime-time shows—the Emmy-winning sitcom has bagged an appearance by Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore.

SATURDAY, NOV. 10

BUNNYTOWN
11 A.M. | DISNEY
Sunny puppets hopping, singing, singing, hopping. What more do you need?

NBC, Wednesdays, 8 p.m. ET

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REALITY

World-famous mentalists Criss Angel and Uri Geller provide the critiques for an initial 10 psychic acts competing for $250,000. In the premiere these included a man who played Russian roulette with a staple gun to his temple—he kept pulling the trigger as if expecting nothing worse than a dent to his shiny dark hair. Another conducted a sort of telepathic tickling of Carmen Electra, which is probably a fantasy fetish for millions. None of this was as entertaining as the grand stunts Angel has performed on his own series, and I sometimes wondered if he were wishing he could just disappear from the show, leaving behind his bangs. Geller was a more courtly, diplomatic presence—just not very magical.

FOX, Fridays, 8 p.m. ET

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REALITY

The producers of American Idol have embarked on a new search, this time for a band worthy of a recording contract. The first week resulted in a dozen finalists, including kid rockers Light of Doom and an ear-catching, bluegrass-y group called the Clark Brothers. The show could stand to kick it up a few amps—the premiere felt like a pickup roster for a stadium benefit concert. (Idol's focus on solo singers makes for sharper, bigger drama.) Of the three judges, the best is drummer and onetime Prince protégée Sheila E., who speaks to the contestants in a soothing, chilled-out coo. If Paula Abdul wants a life coach, she's it.

Not since Desperate Housewives' Mary Alice Young has there been a narrator as drippingly arch as the title character of the CW's Gossip Girl. (The off-camera voice is Kristen Bell, right.) Here are a few snarky gems from this jaded observer of Manhattan's rich young party set. Share with poor friends!

ON AMBITION "Upper East Side queens aren't born at the top. They climb their way up in heels, no matter who they have to tread on to do it."

ON GUEST LISTS "A party isn't a party until someone crashes [it]."

ON SILVER SPOONS "There's plenty of upside to being the spawn of the fabulously wealthy, but the downside? Supersuccessful parents expect nothing less from their offspring."

ON MOMMY DEAREST "In every girl's life there comes a moment when she realizes ... her mother might be more messed up than she is."

ON VOGUEING "The rules for a model the day of a photo shoot are similar to those of a patient presurgery: no food or drink 12 hours prior, wear comfortable clothing and make sure your affairs are in order."

ON APPEARANCES "Yes, they can be deceiving. But most of the time, what you see is what you get."

Just 15 when his father was paralyzed in a riding accident, Matthew Reeve, eldest son of actor Christopher Reeve, learned early how life can change in an instant. In Hope in Motion, available on DVD, he documents the ups and downs as his dad fought to regain the use of his arms and legs. "He never gave up," says Reeve, 27, who filmed the family (his stepmother Dana, sister Alexandra, 23, and half-brother Will, 15) over a three-year period before his dad's death in 2004. (Dana died nearly 17 months later.) Although the actor's activism kept him in the public eye, "nothing has ever gone into this much detail or just let him show his feelings," Reeve says of the film. Part of the proceeds from sales benefit the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation.