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The Globe and Mail

Seven Days of Television: January 20 to January 26

A select viewing guide to the next seven days of television

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MONDAY JANUARY 20 MasterChef Canada (CTV, 8 p.m.) Let the cooking games commence. This homegrown version of the hit international franchise launches tonight to a hungry TV audience. The format adheres closely to the Fox version helmed by Gordon Ramsay and profiles 50 of Canada’s top amateur chefs vying for the lofty MasterChef title (and a hefty $100,000 grand prize). As per the original series, the chefs will be forced to compete in a series of unique challenges and their dishes will be critiqued by Canadian culinary experts Michael Bonacini, Alvin Leung and Claudio Aprile. Based on advance clips, the harsh comments begin early.

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TUESDAY JANUARY 21 American Masters: Salinger (PBS, 9 p.m.) Who was the man behind The Catcher in the Rye? Ten years in the making, this profile of famously reclusive author J.D. Salinger, who passed away in 2010, sheds new light on the man considered one of the most influential writers of his generation. Filmmaker Shane Salerno rewinds the key events in Salinger’s eventful life and times, including the impact of World War II on his writing and his many relationships with much younger women. For perspective purposes, the film includes interviews with more than 150 subjects, ranging from notable authors E.L. Doctorow and Gore Vidal to screen thespians Philip Seymour Hoffman and John Cusack. Then and now, Salinger was a literary original.

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WEDNESDAY JANUARY 22 Wahlburgers (A&E, 10:30 p.m.) It’s good to be a Wahlberg these days. Debuting tonight, this new reality series boasts the fleeting participation of acting brothers Mark Wahlberg (Lone Survivor) and Donnie Wahlberg (Blue Bloods), but spends more time with their older brother Paul, who is the driving force behind the launch of the fast-food restaurant Wahlburgers in their hometown of Boston. The most watchable member of the clan is their eightysomething mother Alma, who still plays the brothers off each other in their respective bids to become her “favourite.”

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THURSDAY JANUARY 23 Rake (Fox, Global, 9 p.m.) Based on a popular Australian TV drama, this new series hands the capable Greg Kinnear the best acting role of his career. The Oscar-nominated Kinnear dives into the role of Keegan Deane, a sharp criminal defense attorney beset by all manner of personal demons, among them a serious gambling addiction and a harridan ex-wife (Miranda Otto). In tonight’s series opener, Keegan agrees to enter a guilty plea for a convicted serial killer (Peter Stormare) in hopes of generating some quick publicity for his law practice. Instead, he gets into a battle of wills with the mayor of Los Angeles.

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FRIDAY JANUARY 24 Shark Tank (ABC, CTV Two, 9 p.m.) Still pulling remarkable ratings in its fifth season, this search for the next great American entrepreneur benefits immeasurably from the presence of Dragon’s Den fixtures Robert Herjavec and Kevin O’Leary on the judging panel. In any given episode, Herjavec provides shrewd business sense and O’Leary sticks to his standard contrarian stance, which is actually pretty funny when applied to naïve Americans. Tonight, a Utah mom tries to kick-start her concept for stylish baby shoes and a man pitches the panel on his great big idea for a pill that can be used in place of food. Also on the Sharks panel: Mark Cuban, Lori Greiner and Daymond John.

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SATURDAY JANUARY 25 Jaws (TCM, 8 p.m. ET) Filmed on a modest budget of $9-million, this 1975 thriller directed by Steven Spielberg earned more than a half-billion dollars in its original box-office run. Based on the bestseller by Peter Benchley, the story involves a massive great white shark attacking beachgoers on the fictional summer resort town of Amity Island. The local citizenry’s solution is to send out police chief Martin Brody (Roy Scheider), along with the crusty old sea dog Quint (Robert Shaw) and hippie-oceanographer Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) on a ramshackle fishing boat to capture and kill the beast. Even with the big rubber shark, it’s still a pretty scary ride.

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SUNDAY JANUARY 26 The Curse of Oak Island (History, 9 p.m.) Meet Marty and Rick Lagina. Originally from Kingsford, Michigan, the brothers are convinced that there is buried treasure somewhere on Oak Island, located on the south shore of Nova Scotia. The tricky part: People have been searching for the booty for the past several decades and found nothing. Launching tonight, this new series chronicles the painstaking efforts of Marty and Rick to locate the treasure. Toward that end, tonight’s opener introduces them to Oak Island locals Dan and Dave Blankenship, a father-and-son team that have likewise been searching for the treasure since the early sixties.

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