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TV: Five shows worth watching tonight: March 21

A select viewing guide for Thursday, March 21

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REALITY Income Property (HGTV, 7 and 9 p.m.) Recently expanded to an hour, this popular Canadian series revolves around the savvy real-estate investor and professional contractor Scott McGivillvray, a handsome chap who lends his expertise to people looking to convert empty spaces in their homes into rentable properties. Tonight, he counsels Stephanie and Elyse, a cop-and-paramedic couple that have chosen real estate as their investment of choice. Step one: Finding the best income property to invest in their future together.

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REALITY Wife Swap (ABC, 8 p.m.) Not to be confused with Celebrity Wife Swap (that airs Tuesdays, by the way), the original entry in the franchise returns tonight for a seventh season. As in the regular series and the celebrity edition, the show requires matriarchs from two drastically different domiciles to switch places for a week-long reality-TV experiment. In tonight’s season opener, we meet Marissa, a Las Vegas mother of one who still hits the infamous Strip most nights of the week. And in this corner, we have Angela, a devoutly religious woman living in rural Michigan with her husband and six kids. The fun begins when the party girl is forced to do farm chores and the church lady gets her first glimpse of Vegas sleaze.

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DRAMA Beauty and the Beast (Showcase, 9 p.m.) Still drawing impressive ratings south of the border, this fanciful drama from The CW was inspired by the eighties series of the same name, which in turn was inspired by the centuries-old fairy tale. For this incarnation, ex-Smallville regular Kristin Kreuk plays Catherine Chandler, a NYPD cop haunted by the image of witnessing her mother’s murder years before. That same tragic night, her life was saved by a swift-moving beastie, which turns out to be a brooding medic named Vincent (Jay Ryan), still prowling the streets of New York. Naturally, the cop and the creature become a kickass crime-fighting duo, but for how long? In tonight’s new episode, Catherine’s partner Tess (Nina Lisandrello) comes close to uncovering their secret while Vincent is sidelined with a hairball!

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DRAMA Scandal (ABC, Citytv, 10 p.m.) Remember this show? Now in its second season, this smart political drama from Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes was one of last season’s few breakout hits. The premise revolves entirely around the fictional character of Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington), a former White House communications director now running her own company dealing with potentially disastrous situations for famous clients. Olivia and her team of PR specialists are scrambling to defuse a typically complicated scenario: The duplicitous President Grant (Tony Goldwyn) has made clear his choice for a new Supreme Court Justice, but that person is currently involved in a torrid affair with Olivia’s newest client, the high-powered CEO Sarah, played by Lisa Edelstein, formerly of House. At least no White House interns factor into the story.

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MOVIE Compulsion (TCM, 8 p.m. ET; 5 p.m. PT) More than loosely based on the infamous “thrill-kill” murder trial of Leopold and Loeb, this 1959 crime drama has become a cult-cinema favourite in recent years. Set in twenties-era Chicago, the story follows the privileged law students Judd (Dean Stockwell) and Artie (Bradford Dillman), who believe their classmates to be intellectually inferior. To test their self-proclaimed genius, the pair decide to commit the “perfect crime,” which results in the kidnapping and murder of a young boy on his way home from school. While the Chicago police scour the city in search of the killer, Artie and Judd are immensely pleased with pulling off the crime–until they realize they left Judd’s eyeglasses at the murder scene. The great Orson Welles steals the show as the pair’s defense attorney.

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