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The Globe and Mail

Seven Days of Television: December 9 to December 15

A select viewing guide to the next seven days of television

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MONDAY DECEMBER 9 The Great Christmas Light Fight (ABC, 8 p.m.) Some people simply go wacky decorating their homes this time of year, so why not a reality-TV competition? Hyped as “the first Christmas lights competition of its kind for television,” this new show pits nitwits against ninnies in a corny decorating contest. In each outing, four families are given 21 days to transform their drab bungalows and country homes into glittering neon palaces with gingerbread men and waving Santas and all manner of other tacky holiday-season stereotypes. In each episode, the winning family will be awarded $50,000, which should hopefully cover their electric bill for competing on the program.

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TUESDAY DECEMBER 10 The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show (CBS, Global, 10 p.m.) Hubba-hubba. By now a CBS holiday staple, this annual hourlong commercial may be the closest an American network ever gets to showing nudity. As in years past, the program is presented as a glitzy New York event for hip people, but of course everyone is there to scope the reed-thin, dead-eyed supermodels like Alessandra Ambrosio, Adriana Lima clomp up and down the runway. Wedged in between the knickers (so to speak) are performances from Fall Out Boy and Taylor Swift.

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WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 11 Pregnant Behind Bars (TLC, 8 p.m.) This new two-part series is being broadcast as a pilot but if ratings are healthy, count on it moving into regular TLC rotation. The unscripted format follows the miserable daily existence at Chicago’s Cook County Jail, where an estimated 75 women give birth every year. As might be expected, these are some tough ladies. Some are gang members, others are battling drug addictions but each one claims she wants to make a better life for her unborn child. In tonight’s first half, meet Jamie, already a mother of four and pregnant again and Tanya, who is pleading with jail authorities for house arrest in order to prep for the birth of her son. Another episode follows.

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THURSDAY DECEMBER 12 The Crazy Ones (CBS, Citytv, 8 p.m.) Yay or nay on this rookie sitcom? U.S. ratings for the rookie sitcom starring former film fixture Robin Williams as a zany advertising hotshot were huge the first few weeks but have more recently dropped down to more reasonable numbers. Either way, CBS has extended a full-season order to the series and don’t be surprised if its’ one of the first shows renewed by the network. Tonight, Williams’ character Simon has to placate his staff when forced to give an internship to the bratty daughter (ex-Disney kid Ashley Tisdale) of an important client.

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FRIDAY DECEMBER 13 Hawaii Five-O (CBS, Global, 9 p.m.) Still going strong in its third season, this update of the seventies series by the same name has successfully survived a shift from Monday to Friday night and even an hour-earlier timeslot. Give credit to the solid portrayal of Five-O crime squad boss Steve McGarrett by Alex O’Loughlin and the occasional appearance of former Battlestar Galactica regular Grace Park in a swimsuit. In tonight’s new show, the Five-O has to reopen decades-old evidence to investigate a murder committed within the internment camps of Oahu during the Second World War.

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SATURDAY DECEMBER 14 White Christmas (AMC, 7 p.m. and 9:45 p.m.) Be honest: It really wouldn’t be Christmas if you didn’t sit through this holiday chestnut at least once. The 1954 film casts Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye as Bob and Phil, two genial ex-GIs who pick up their careers as nightclub entertainers following the Second World War. Enter the sassy sister act of Judy and Betty (Vera-Ellen and Rosemary Clooney, George’s aunt), with whom the wiseacre duo become instantly smitten. And on a whim and a prayer, all four head off to a failing Vermont inn owned by the boys’ old commanding officer, played by Dean Jagger. Note: Der Bingle doesn’t croon the title song until the closing scene.

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SUNDAY DECEMBER 15 You’ve Got Mail (Bravo, 10 p.m.) The late Nora Ephron wasn’t especially prolific, but that only made us appreciate her sharp wit all the more. Ephron directed this 1998 romantic comedy and co-wrote the script with her sister Delia and it’s worth watching again just for those great stretches of Ephronesque dialogue. Tom Hanks plays Joe and Meg Ryan plays Kathleen, who coincidentally own bookstores on the same street on New York’s Upper West Side. While leading separate lives, they meet in an online chat room (this was 1998, remember) and pretty soon they’re revealing innermost secrets and feelings to each other in a ceaseless email conversation. The problem: Joe’s merciless big-chain bookstore conglomerate is on the verge of taking over Kathleen’s quaint little book shop.

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