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The Globe and Mail

Seven Days of Television: July 8 to July 14

A select viewing guide to the next seven days of television

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MONDAY JULY 8 Get Out Alive with Bear Grylls (NBC, Global, 9 p.m.) Welcome back, Bear Grylls. Best known for his stint helming the reality series Man vs. Wild, the rakish ex-military man hosts this new reality series booked for an eight-week summer run. Merging elements of The Amazing Race and Survivor , the format transports ten two-person teams to the rugged climes of New Zealand’s South Island. The mission: Survive the harsh conditions while journeying around the region as a group. One team gets booted off per episode and the last pair standing collect a cool $500,000. And where is Bear while all this survivalist activity is going on? Standing in the wings looking handsome.

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TUESDAY JULY 9 Storage Wars: New York (A&E, 9 p.m.) Formerly known for nature documentaries and Biography, A&E carries on its march toward becoming the scavenger-show network. The channel struck ratings gold with the original Storage Wars, followed by Storage Wars: Texas and this Big Apple edition, which begins its second season tonight. In keeping with the franchise, the program follows a group of junk-jockeys looking to turn a quick profit by buying the contents of unclaimed storage lockers sight unseen. And such drama! In tonight’s opener, the normally canny picker Joe P. misses out on a steal of a deal because his hearing aids malfunction while the young upstarts Chris and Tad score a locker-full of fireworks, which may or may not still be usable. It’s a living.

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WEDNESDAY JULY 10 Camp (NBC, Global, 10 p.m.) Full marks to Rachel Griffiths for versatility. Following her roles on a grim cable drama (Six Feet Under) and a turgid primetime soap (Brothers & Sisters), the talented Aussie actress returns in this new summer comedy series with solid potential. In the setup, Griffiths is cast as Mackenzie “Mack” Granger, the owner-director of foundering Little Otter Family Camp. While trying to keep the ramshackle cash-strapped camp afloat, Mack has to deal with her sleazy ex-husband Roger (Rodger Corser) and the presence of their 15-year-old son Buzz (Charles Grounds) as a counselor-in-training. Meanwhile, all the campers are running amok and getting fish hooks stuck in their noses. Ah, summer nights.


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THURSDAY JULY 11 Hollywood Game Night (NBC, CTV, 10 p.m.) The strangest TV concepts surface in the good old summertime. Slated for an off-season tryout, this new series is inspired by the famously fabulous house parties put on by former Will & Grace mainstay Sean Hayes, who also serves as executive producer. Hosted by Glee’s Jane Lynch, the show’s format gives each of two contestants a team of three celebrities, followed a series of cocktail-party parlor games that will result in one player taking home $25,000. Stars tapped for the first episode include former Friends fixtures Matthew Perry and Lisa Kudrow, along with Kristen Bell, Alyson Hannigan and Canada’s own Martin Short. Work is work.

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FRIDAY JULY 12 Sharknado (Space, 9 p.m.) If you watch only one movie this weekend, make it this one. Hailing from the U.S. cable channel SyFy, the original story posits the bizarre scenario of a massive tornado superstorm that has sucked up millions of man-eating sharks from the ocean and is bearing down on an unsuspecting Los Angeles. And the only people capable of stopping the ravenous storm from devouring the entire city? Former married couple April and Fin, played by tabloid temptress Tara Reid and former Beverly Hills, 90210 regular Ian Ziering. So cheesy it’s brilliant.

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SATURDAY JULY 13 The Big Decision (CBC, 8 p.m.) When your foundering business needs help, you either go to the bank or a rich person. Spinning off the popularity of Dragon’s Den, this reality series follows Dragons Arlene Dickinson and Jim Treliving on their selfless fiduciary rescue missions. The format features either Arlene or Jim going into the books and behind the scenes of two struggling businesses, one of which will be deemed worthy of his financial assistance. Tonight, Jim travels to Windsor, Ontario, where the software company Radix Controls is in desperate need of investment to keep its doors open. Next, he’s in St. Thomas, Ontario, where a piglet-birthing farm is still trying to recover and rebuild from a devastating 2007 fire.

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SUNDAY JULY 14 The Newsroom (HBO Canada, 10 p.m.) Back tonight for a second season, this drama from former West Wing creator Aaron Sorkin typically packs more dialogue into a single hour than any other show on television. The premise revolves around Jeff Daniels as the fictional cable news anchor Will McAvoy, with added support from Emily Mortimer as his producer/ex-lover Mackenzie and Sam Waterston as news division president Charlie Skinner. The storytelling method depicts the fantastically earnest news hounds responding to real-life news events and the second season opens in early 2012 with coverage of the Tea Party phenomenon and the buildup to the U.S. political primaries. Marcia Gay-Harden joins the cast as a network lawyer airlifted in to complicate Will’s existence.

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