The Real Housewives of D.C.

Bravo, Aug. 5, 9 p.m. ET |

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REALITY

At the start of Bravo's new addition to its great, gossip-generating franchise, one of the Washington, D.C., wives observes, "The currency here is proximity to power." These five women fall below the poverty line. In the premiere they fulfill the basic Housewives checklist: lots of clothes and catfighting. But they seem only weakly connected to the political movers and shakers who dominate the city's image-which makes them not only ludicrous, as Housewives enjoyably tend to be, but also rather pathetic. Michaele Salahi, who looks like the Stepford Ann Coulter, caused a scandal last year when she and her husband crashed a White House state dinner. What kind of proximity is that? Are any of the models in Lynda Erkiletian's local agency hired out to the Obama cabinet? Sorry, this one doesn't click.

Rubicon

AMC, Aug. 1, 8 p.m. ET/PT |

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DRAMA

James Badge Dale (HBO's The Pacific) stars in this new series, a conspiracy thriller with a tone unlike anything else on TV. Rubicon creeps along with the alert, cautious tread of a spider that's developed vertigo in its elaborate web. Once you adjust to its pace and the pieces click softly into place, you get caught up. Dale, a top-secret intelligence agent, stumbles on an immense shadow conspiracy when he notices a pattern in crossword puzzles. There's a second thread: Miranda Richardson as a widow stumped by her husband's suicide. What will connect them? Probably not a smoke monster. Challenging but engrossing.

1 DROP DEAD DIVA

SUN. 8/1 9 P.M.

LIFETIME

Jane (Brooke Elliott) represents a designer (Cybill Shepherd).

2 HUNG

SUN. 8/1 10 P.M.

HBO

Tanya (Jane Adams), the touchingly incompetent Detroit pimp, lands a key client for Ray.

3 SHAQ VS

TUES. 8/3 9:01 P.M.

ABC

The star athlete starts season 2 of his reality challenge by racing Dale Earnhardt Jr.

4 DARK BLUE

WED. 8/4 9 P.M.

TNT

Return of the drama starring Dylan McDermott, he of the killer good looks, as an undercover cop.

5 CRISS ANGEL MINDFREAK

WED. 8/4 10 P.M.

A&E

The illusionist dude starts his new season with an Evel Knievel superstunt.

The actress, 26, spent her Community hiatus filming her fourth season as perfectionist wife Trudy on Mad Men.

FOR WHICH ROLE ARE YOU MORE RECOGNIZED?

Probably Community's Annie. Because of the time period, it's easier for people to connect.

DID THEY MODEL ANNIE OR TRUDY AFTER YOU?

Our writers on Community find out funny stories from our past and incorporate them. The STD fair episode was a story from my life. I'm not gonna give more detail, but that was fun.

YOU CAN'T DISCUSS MAD MEN, RIGHT?

No, we're not allowed. But it's like Christmas morning every time the script arrives: You unwrap the manila envelope and literally gasp. Last season, when I got the script for the finale, my friend's sitting nearby, like, "What?" I'm like, "I can't tell you-but it's really good."

The deliriously silly third-season debut of Bravo's The Rachel Zoe Project (Aug. 3) plays like the dream of a fashionista with a high fever. We find the L.A. style maven beside herself at losing a member of her team. Having to submit to the unbearably stressful process of hiring a replacement brings the poor woman no closure. She is losing sleep over this! Then she has to round up dozens of dresses for Demi Moore to wear at a magazine shoot designed around oversize props, including a giant chair and a real giraffe. Demi is unfazed, while Zoe unravels. She's quite entertaining in her hell-or-high-water fabulousness.

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>1 DROP DEAD DIVA

SUN. 8/1 9 P.M.

LIFETIME

Jane (Brooke Elliott) represents a designer (Cybill Shepherd).

2 HUNG

SUN. 8/1 10 P.M.

HBO

Tanya (Jane Adams), the touchingly incompetent Detroit pimp, lands a key client for Ray.

3 SHAQ VS

TUES. 8/3 9:01 P.M.

ABC

The star athlete starts season 2 of his reality challenge by racing Dale Earnhardt Jr.

4 DARK BLUE

WED. 8/4 9 P.M.

TNT

Return of the drama starring Dylan McDermott, he of the killer good looks, as an undercover cop.

5 CRISS ANGEL MINDFREAK

WED. 8/4 10 P.M.

A&E

The illusionist dude starts his new season with an Evel Knievel superstunt.

>The actress, 26, spent her Community hiatus filming her fourth season as perfectionist wife Trudy on Mad Men.

FOR WHICH ROLE ARE YOU MORE RECOGNIZED?

Probably [Community's] Annie. Because of the time period, it's easier for people to connect.

DID THEY MODEL ANNIE OR TRUDY AFTER YOU?

Our writers on Community find out funny stories from our past and incorporate them. The STD fair episode was a story from my life. I'm not gonna give more detail, but that was fun.

YOU CAN'T DISCUSS MAD MEN, RIGHT?

No, we're not allowed. But it's like Christmas morning every time the script arrives: You unwrap the manila envelope and literally gasp. Last season, when I got the script for the finale, my friend's sitting nearby, like, "What?" I'm like, "I can't tell you—but it's really good."

>• The deliriously silly third-season debut of Bravo's The Rachel Zoe Project (Aug. 3) plays like the dream of a fashionista with a high fever. We find the L.A. style maven beside herself at losing a member of her team. Having to submit to the unbearably stressful process of hiring a replacement brings the poor woman no closure. She is losing sleep over this! Then she has to round up dozens of dresses for Demi Moore to wear at a magazine shoot designed around oversize props, including a giant chair and a real giraffe. Demi is unfazed, while Zoe unravels. She's quite entertaining in her hell-or-high-water fabulousness. [

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