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The Globe and Mail

Seven Days of Television: February 24 to March 2

A select viewing guide to the next seven days of television

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MONDAY FEBRUARY 24 Gerry Dee: The Substitute (CBC, 8 p.m.) Now that the Sochi Winter Games are over, CBC can go back to its original mandate: Making Canadians watch programs starring former substitute-teacher-turned-comedy-star Gerry Dee! In this one-off special, the affable Dee returns to his educational roots by posing as a bizarre substitute teacher at a real school, while hidden cameras film the results. The special is followed by a very special episode of Dee’s sitcom Mr. D, in which his teacher character has to choose between his school duties or getting his priceless Team Canada sweater autographed by hockey legend Paul Henderson. Not much of a choice, really.

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TUESDAY FEBRUARY 25 Mind Games (ABC, Citytv, 10 p.m.) Now that ABC has already pulled the plug on the midseason entry Killer Women, what do we get in its place? This new show, starring Christian Slater as Ross, a recently released-from-prison con artist, and Steve Zahn as his bipolar but brilliant brother, Clark. With no other career opportunities, the brothers open up their own agency to assist people with unusual predicaments. In tonight’s opener, the pair come to the rescue of a young mother whose son’s life-saving surgery is being blocked by an evil health-insurance provider.

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WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 26 Bear Grylls: Escape from Hell (Discovery, 8 p.m.) Welcome back, Bear Grylls. Following several series (Man Vs. Wild, Get Out Alive, Worst Case Scenario) focusing exclusively on the rugged Brit roughing it in various bushes, the no-frills survivalist plays host in this new program recounting true-life tales of heroism. In tonight’s series opener, Bear heads to Canada’s Pacific Coast mountains to re-enact the experiences of survivors who became trapped in the region and lived to tell about it.

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THURSDAY FEBRUARY 27 The Big Bang Theory (CBS, CTV, 8 p.m.) Still the most-watched half hour on Canadian television, this low-concept sitcom keeps pulling in the viewers by keeping things the same. Now in its seventh season, the show still focuses on the friendship between four super-smart nerds, at least half of whom have a female partner. In tonight’s new outing, Wolowitz (Simon Helberg) entertains an offer to go back into space, much to the displeasure of spouse Bernadette (Melissa Rauch). And when Leonard (Johnny Galecki) buys a dining-room table, it inexplicably causes roomie Sheldon (Jim Parsons) to reevaluate his purpose in life. Bazinga!

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FRIDAY FEBRUARY 28 Private Lives of Nashville Wives (CMT, 9 p.m.) Who says the housewives of Beverly Hills and Atlanta have the franchise on bad behaviour and big hair? Hailing from the U.S. cable outlet TNT, this new reality series follows a handful of women trying to make their name in the country-music mecca. Among them: Singer Sarah Davidson, whose marriage to successful country star Dallas Davidson has proven more hindrance than help in launching her own career; and Erika Page White, a former soap opera star now desperate to get back into the spotlight – any spotlight.

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SATURDAY MARCH 1 In The Heat of the Night (TCM, 8 p.m.) To prep for Sunday night’s big Oscars broadcast, watch this gritty crime drama that collected five Academy Awards in 1967, including Best Picture. Directed by Canada’s own Norman Jewison, the story casts Sidney Poitier as Virgil Tibbs, a smooth Philadelphia detective with the bad luck of getting stuck in a small Mississippi town right after a prominent citizen is murdered. The late Rod Steiger earned a Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal of the redneck sheriff who begrudgingly enlists Virgil’s help in tracking down the killer.

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SUNDAY MARCH 2 The Oscars (ABC, CTV, 8 p.m.) It’s Hooray for Hollywood time again. Hosted for the second time by Ellen DeGeneres, the film industry’s annual award fete should get more TV viewers this year, if only because it’s likely more people saw the movies. As in Oscars past, the primary reason for sitting through the three-hour-plus broadcast stems from competition within each self-contained movie category. Will Oscars opt for the real-life stories depicted in The Wolf of Wall Street or 12 Years a Slave or the fantasy scenarios of Gravity and Her? Will the Best Supporting Actor trophy go to Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club) or Jonah Hill (Wolf of Wall Street) or remarkable newcomer Barhad Abdi for Captain Phillips? And will the resurrected stories about the personal life of writer-director Woody Allen doom the Best Actress chances of Blue Jasmine star Cate Blanchett? Let the Oscar pools begin.

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