Conan

TBS, Mondays-Thursdays, 11 p.m. ET/PT |

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TALK

The failure of Conan O'Brien's Tonight Show left him adrift and troubled, the NBC debacle hanging from his neck like a dead albatross he could point to and joke about with mortified humor. Now he has resurfaced on TBS with a show that, not too surprisingly, looks a lot cheaper than Tonight. The spare set, featuring a ridiculous backdrop of a huge moonlit bay, seems cavernous and dwarfs the guests. But with time, Conan could be the success that his Tonight wasn't. The first few nights showed O'Brien settling in with his charmingly original humor, which is sophisticated yet twerpily silly. How can you not laugh at someone whose mock-leering euphemism for sex is "decorating the lady cake"? And there's his strangely funny sidekick, Andy Richter, who looks like a bank manager and barks out his comments. It's as if Ed McMahon were a squeak toy.

Human Target

FOX, Wednesdays, 8 p.m. ET/PT |

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ACTION

For its sophomore season, the action caper tweaks its hormonal makeup. Christopher Chance (Mark Valley), handsome daredevil and security expert, still depends on the backup of Winston and Guerrero (Chi McBride and Jackie Earle Haley), who have the politesse of pit bulls. But the team now includes a beautiful thief, Ames (Janet Montgomery), and the operation is funded by a gorgeous billionaire, Ilsa Pucci (Indira Varma). The interplay of the sexes has been used to better effect on other action vehicles-including FX's animated Archer-but the actresses lighten the tone, adding zip to a show that thrives on speed.

Desperate Housewives

ABC, Sundays, 9 p.m. ET/PT |

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DRAMA

Now in its seventh season, ABC's classic prime-time soap opera remains slickly watchable, but the momentum is seeping out. The old Housewives quartet-Bree, Gabrielle, Susan, Lynette-continue to be thrown into dilemmas that cause them to gasp, but lately induce me to yawn. It's not a great sign that villain Paul Young is back, played by Mark Moses with the irritability of a man battling crabgrass. Ugly Betty's Vanessa Williams, as a Manhattan exile who considers Wisteria Lane Hicksville, is an inspired addition, yet the show hasn't really exploited her haughty campiness. Maybe Michael Urie, her Betty match for cattiness, can be her lawn boy.

1 AMERICAN MUSIC AWARDS

SUN. 11/21 8 P.M. ABC

Rihanna kicks off the night. Katy Perry and Justin Bieber sing too.

2 TOP GEAR

SUN. 11/21 10 P.M. HISTORY

Cars at high speeds in all kinds of stunts-in short, hell on wheels. Series premiere.

3 HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER

MON. 11/22 8 P.M. CBS

In a Thanksgiving episode, Lost's Jorge Garcia plays a loser named "The Blitz."

4 GLEE

TUES. 11/23 8 P.M. FOX

Carol Burnett (left, with Jane Lynch) guest stars as Sue Sylvester's mother.

5 KUNG FU PANDA HOLIDAY SPECIAL

WED. 11/24 8:30 P.M. NBC

It's feast time for Po (Jack Black).

YOU HIT THE BIG 5-0 ON NOV. 23. HOW DOES IT FEEL?

I'm okay with it. As a kid I remember thinking, "Fifty, that's ancient!" Post-cancer, it's all good.

ANY BIG BIRTHDAY PLANS?

Friends are kidnapping me and we're going to an island. I want to feel the sand between my toes!

ARE YOU CELEBRATING ON GOOD MORNING AMERICA?

I'll be dancing with Maks [Chmerkovskiy] from Dancing with the Stars. As much as I don't like surprises on live TV, I love when life surprises me.

HOW'S YOUR HEALTH?

Good, knock on wood. It's been three years since I was diagnosed [with breast cancer]. I'm very grateful there have been no scares.

A BIGGEST LOSER MAKEOVER

Ada Wong is one of seven contestants who will get a new head-to-toe look on the Nov. 23 episode of the weight-loss competition.

Before Ada Wong stepped foot on the Biggest Loser ranch, the tech company consultant says, "I would only wear black. That was my whole closet." And when she mustered enough courage to RSVP yes to a special occasion, "I hated wearing dresses," says Wong, 28. "I would feel like a tub because there was no shape to my body." Not anymore: After dropping from 258 to 190 lbs. so far, Wong is now showing off her new silhouette in figure-flattering outfits thanks to this season's Biggest Loser makeover, which includes an updated do by celebrity stylist Ken Paves. "I feel a lot better in short sleeves because my arms are smaller," says the 5'6" San Jose, Calif., native, who went from a size 20 to a 12. "It's nice to be able to wear clothes and feel good about it."

ICE ICE-AND BABY!

The reality star, 40, tackles ABC's ice-skating competition on Nov. 22.

HOW'S TRAINING?

It's crazy: I'll go to the rink at 6:30 and be home by the time everything else in my life starts. I don't want to interrupt time with my baby [Bryn, 6 months] and my own show on Bravo.

ANY TRICKS FOR DOING WELL ON THE ICE?

Yoga helps a lot, because some of the moves that we do on skates, I can conceptualize them as yoga poses.

THINK YOU CAN WIN?

I wouldn't do it if I didn't. But I'm enjoying it so much, I'm not really thinking about that. It's very unlike me!

WHAT SKATER DID YOU LOVE GROWING UP?

Dorothy Hamill. I even had the haircut.

HOW'S BABY BRYN?

The best! All I need is a little love from the baby-and sleep-and I can do anything!

DO YOU MISS BEING ON REAL HOUSEWIVES OF NEW YORK?

There's so much less [tension]. As a Housewife, you would come home and talk about what this one said and what happened. That doesn't exist anymore, and it feels more peaceful.

If season 5 of Showtime's Dexter feels like one long anticlimax-well, it is. Season 4, a seamless arc that pitted serial killer Dexter (Michael C. Hall) against John Lithgow's monstrous psychopath, was so shatteringly good it all but upended the series. Now a widowed Dex is raising a baby while exorcising his grief and guilt through murder: Even for a killer with a nice streak, this m.o. is psychologically ludicrous. The acting is what keeps the show addictive-particularly good is Julia Stiles, a seriously disturbed woman rescued from a brutal death and now hunting for revenge.

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