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The X Factor, Sons of Anarchy, Derek; must-sees for the week of Sept. 8

- September 8th, 2013

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Bill Harris’ TV must-sees for the week of Sept. 8

1 The X Factor
Third-season debut: Simon Cowell and Demi Lovato are back as judges, but Britney Spears and L.A. Reid are out, replaced by Kelly Rowland and Paulina Rubio. Will this show ever work?
When: Wednesday on Fox and CTV Two

2 Sons of Anarchy
Season-six debut: Having taken extreme measures with regard to Clay (Ron Perlman), the leadership of Jax (Charlie Hunnam) is uncontested. I’ll bet you a Harley it doesn’t last.
When: Tuesday on Super Channel

3 Breaking Bad
Only four episodes to go. This one is titled To’hajiilee, which is a Navajo reservation in New Mexico. Creator Vince Gilligan has hinted that this will be a big episode for quirky Lydia (Laura Fraser).
When: Sunday on AMC

4 Mistresses
First-season finale: April (Rochelle Aytes) makes a decision about the men in her life – it’s about time – while Elizabeth (Penelope Ann Miller) and Karen (Yunjin Kim) have a showdown.
When: Monday on ABC, CTV

5 The Million Second Quiz
Debut: Hosted by Ryan Seacrest, this is a live competition with contestants partaking in head-to-head trivia matches. Airs 10 times over 11 nights. That’s a lot.
When: Monday on NBC, City

6 Derek
Debut: Having already aired on TV in Britain, this stars Ricky Gervais as a naïve and intelligence-challenged worker in a home for the elderly. A second season has been ordered in the U.K.
When: Thursday on Netflix

7 So You Think You Can Dance
Tenth-season finale: A new champion is awarded the Golden Boot (not really) in front of judges Nigel Lythgoe and Mary Murphy, as well as host Cat Deeley.
When: Tuesday on Fox, CTV

8 MasterChef
Fourth-season finale: A new king of cooking is crowned before hard-to-please judges Gordon Ramsay, Joe Bastianich and Graham Elliot. First prize is getting away from those guys.
When: Wednesday on Fox, CTV

9 Graceland
First-season finale: The high-strung housemates – played by Daniel Sunjata, Aaron Tveit, Vanessa Ferlito, Brandon Jay McLaren, Manny Montana and Serinda Swan – unite to save one of their own.
When: Thursday on Bravo

10 The Newsroom
Election-night coverage moves forward, while Sloan (Olivia Munn) is upset that her book was auctioned with a forged signature. Hey, glass half full, it could have been a forged cheque.
When: Sunday on HBO Canada

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

Chaz Bono is Degrassi’s Simon Cowell in a battle of the bands

- November 22nd, 2012

Chaz Bono on Degrassi

Degrassi is adding a little “Chaz-matazz” to its lineup this week.

The long-running Canadian teen-targeted series, which is airing on Much in its current incarnation, has back-to-back new episodes – titled Tonight, Tonight, parts one and two – on Friday, Nov. 23. In the second episode, none other than Chaz Bono guest-stars as himself.

Bono, of course, is the only child of iconic showbiz duo Sonny & Cher. Bono was born a girl – Chastity – but underwent female-to-male gender transition a few years ago.

In Degrassi, Bono not only serves as a judge in a “battle of the bands” (wonder if anyone sings I Got You Babe?), but also is involved in the story line with transgender character Adam Torres, played by Gemini Award winner Jordan Todosey.

And you probably thought the odds were low that you’d ever see another acting “Chaz” after Chazz Palminteri. Wrong.

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

Cowell on Spears: “Sweet as a lemon.”

- July 23rd, 2012

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BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – Simon Cowell says Britney Spears is “as sweet as a lemon.”

Clips from the new season of The X Factor feature Spears saying things such as “You can’t destroy that song,” “Predictable,” and “Bad to the bone,” when addressing presumably crushed contestants.

But Spears, of course, has a different take on Cowell’s fruit-focused evaluation.

“In everyday life I’m just very honest person,” Spears said. “It’s just based on who I am.”

Well, all four members of The X Factor’s season-two judging team – Spears, Cowell, Demi Lovato and L.A. Reid (pictured left to right above) – appeared via satellite at the Television Critics Association tour Monday. If first impressions mean anything, it’s going to be a very intriguing conversation when the second season of the show debuts Sept. 12 on Fox and CTV.

“It’s different from anything I’ve ever done,” Spears said. “I’ve done eight tours. I’ve been in the music industry for a while. But I’m glad to be on a show where I can give something back and help someone achieve their dreams.”

Being on these types of shows isn’t bad for the careers of the judges either, nudge nudge, wink wink.

“That’s not my intention,” Spears said. “It’s just purely the fact I love the show.”

Lovato was described by Cowell as a “brat” both on Monday and a few weeks ago when he visited CTV in Toronto. Lovato has battled an eating disorder and she was asked if that gives her a unique perspective on young aspiring talent.

“I definitely take that into consideration when I judge,” Lovato said. “My little sister is in the industry and I worry about her all the time.

“You can’t prevent anyone from going down the wrong road. If they’re going to have an eating disorder, they’re going to have an eating disorder. I don’t think fame has a lot to do with it. I think it adds some pressure and sometimes it makes the problem a little bit worse.

“But for me, I had been struggling with those issues beforehand. Unless you’re in a good place when you start working, I think it’s kind of inevitable for these things to happen.”

Pretty insightful for someone who’s 19.

“We needed someone younger, because I’m in my 30s,” quipped Cowell, 52.

There has been quite a revolving door lately with judges on singing competition shows. Mariah Carey officially joined American Idol on Monday.

“I’m happy for her, I like Mariah,” Cowell said. “She’s sweet. But I think she’s going to find it difficult to say no.”

For Spears and Lovato that won’t be a problem.

When Cowell accused Spears of being “mean,” Lovato jumped in and said, “We’re going to gang up on you now. You’re going to have two girls.”

“I’ve had it,” Cowell snapped back. It took a few seconds for the double-meaning to kick in and laughter filled the room.

“Who’s ready for the next season of The X factor?” a smiling Lovato added.

Everyone.

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv