The Bachelor

ABC, Jan. 3, 8 p.m. ET/PT |

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REALITY

Brad Womack, who notoriously spoiled season 11 of The Bachelor by not bestowing a final rose, returns for another go. The premiere delivers strange, juicy psychodrama. After undergoing therapy to make sense of his refusal to commit on national television, Womack is masochistically contrite. You get the impression he'd gladly be placed in the stocks while all the single women in America filed by and slapped him with corsages. The producers, in turn, seem determined to confound him with the most perverse candidates ever. One, a vampire enthusiast, flashes what appear to be fangs when she smiles. I hope the guy finds forgiveness and love. Until then, the squirm-factor is fun. If the previous installment was titled On the Wings of Love, this one's On the Thorns of Pain.

Jersey Shore

MTV, Jan. 6, 10 p.m. ET |

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REALITY

In a reality casting stroke of genius, the new season of Jersey Shore brings Snooki and company back to the Garden State's Seaside Heights-along with a fresh addition: Snooki's BFF Deena, who looks like Saturday Night Live's Nasim Pedrad under a wig of banana leaves. By the time the gang has picked out their beds and reacclimated to the old house-ooh, the duck phone!-Deena is either flirting outrageously or screaming at the top of her lungs. She's Danielle Staub's Mini-Me. By comparison, Snooki is the model of comportment: Her upper lip could be said to be as stiff as her hair. Welcome, Deena!

1 V

TUES. JAN. 4 9 P.M. ABC

Return of the sci-fi thriller starring gorgeous creature Morena Baccarin.

2 LIVE TO DANCE

TUES. JAN. 4 8 P.M. CBS

Paula Abdul is back to mentor a new dance competition.

3 PEOPLE'S CHOICE AWARDS

WED. JAN. 5 9 P.M. CBS

A shower of love! Queen Latifah hosts for the fifth time.

4 LAW & ORDER: SVU

WED. JAN. 5 9 P.M. NBC

Two new episodes of Christopher Meloni's cop hit. Dun-dun!

5 WIPEOUT

THURS. JAN. 6 8 P.M. ABC

A new season of extreme challenges that end with thunks and thuds.

The actor, 42, is a dad at home and on the ABC Family drama, which returns Jan. 3.

WHAT SEPARATES PRETTY FROM OTHER TEEN DRAMAS?

On some levels it's a guilty pleasure, but it's really smart. It reflects the world I knew as a teen much more than the shows that were on then.

HOW IS IT BEING A FIRST-TIME DAD TO 19-MONTH-OLD MABEL?

It's the greatest thing ever. She's got me wrapped around her finger pretty tight! I love to get up and make her breakfast.

DID MABEL SHARE IN YOUR WEDDING LAST SUMMER?

We had a father-daughter dance. My wife, Kim [Painter], danced with her father and Mabel danced with me. Then we all sang her a goodnight song and put her to bed. It was really lovely.

Southland, TNT's first-rate cop drama, is back Jan. 4. The gunfire is as noisy as on any other crime show, but the tone goes for hushed understatement. When a body turns up in a ceiling vent, it registers with that much more of a jolt. Regina King heads the solid ensemble. These folks are dutiful, proud and bone-tired.

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