Reality shows, specials, miniseries |

Reality shows, specials, miniseries

The post-"Jersey Shore" MTV docu-series "Washington Heights" follows nine friends in the diverse Manhattan neighborhood of Washington Heights. It premieres Wednesday, Jan. 9, at 10 p.m. Illustrates TV-NEW (category e), by Emily Yahr (c) 2013, The Washington Post. Moved Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013. (MUST CREDIT: MTV)
The Washington Post | WASHINGTON POST

Reality shows, documentaries, miniseries, specials – there’s no shortage of new programming in the 2013 mid-season. Here’s a guide:


“An Amish Murder” (Lifetime at 9 p.m.): Original movie starring Neve Campbell as a woman who returns to her Amish home town to solve a string of murders.

“Best Funeral Ever” (TLC at 10): Worried that the idea of this pilot would seem insensitive in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., shooting, the network moved the show – about a Dallas-based funeral home that organizes unique, party-style funerals – to January.


“Deception” (NBC at 10): This drama is basically “Revenge”-lite, as a police officer goes undercover working for a wealthy-but-shady family when their daughter, a socialite and party girl, is found dead.

“Vanderpump Rules” (Bravo at 10): “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” star Lisa Vanderpump lands a spinoff, as she orders staff around at her West Hollywood restaurant.


“The Abolitionists: American Experience” (PBS at 9): This documentary tells the stories of Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, Angelina Grimke, Harriet Beecher Stowe and more.

“The Joe Schmo Show” (Spike at 10): Coming back after a long hiatus – the series debuted in September 2003 – this reality show features one guy who thinks he’s on a new reality show but is surrounded by actors in on the joke.

“Frontline: The Education of Michelle Rhee” (PBS at 10): Profiles the famous chancellor of Washington public schools during her tenure.


“Stars in Danger: The High Dive” (Fox at 8): Is diving with the stars the new dancing? Fox hopes so. Eight celebs compete in a competition and are mentored by veteran diving coaches.

“Washington Heights” (MTV at 10): And in the same vein, is Washington Heights the new Seaside Heights? MTV hopes so. The new post- “Jersey Shore” docu-series follows nine friends in the New York neighborhood.


“1600 Penn” (NBC at 9:30): This comedy, starring Bill Pullman as the president and Jenna Elfman as the first lady, shows what happens when a kooky family inherits the most famous house in the country.


“Banshee” (Cinemax at 10): An ex-con steals the identity of a Pennsylvania sheriff and continues his criminal ways as he is chased by gangsters he ripped off.

Sunday, Jan. 12

“Staten Island Law” (OWN at 9): Elura and Michele, best friends from Staten Island, run a mediation business together.

“Cyndi Lauper: Still So Unusual” (WE TV at 9) The pop singer gets a show that follows her at work and home.

Monday, Jan. 14

“The Carrie Diaries” (CW at 8): This “Sex and the City” prequel tries to take the place of the recently departed “Gossip Girl,” as it tracks 16-year-old Carrie Bradshaw’s adventures in New York.

“Continuum” (Syfy at 8): Rachel Nichols stars as a cop from the future in this drama, as a group of terrorists escape execution in 2077 by time traveling, and she must race to stop them.

“Pete Rose: Hits & Mrs.” (TLC at 10): Serious contender for best reality show title of 2013, this docu-series chronicles the life of the disgraced former baseball star and his new fiancee.

Tuesday, Jan. 15

“Pioneers of Television” (PBS at 8): Ryan Seacrest hosts a four-episode look at various aspects of television, from “Funny Ladies” (the first episode) to prime-time soaps, superheroes and miniseries.

“Second Generation Wayans” (BET at 10:30): Damien Dante Wayans and Craig Wayans try to live up to the expectations set by their famous relatives in this scripted comedy.

Thursday, Jan. 17

“King of Nerds” (TBS at 10): This competition series tries to find the biggest and best nerd of all, and will award them $100,000 for their efforts.

“Legit” (FX at 10:30): A potty-mouthed comedian from Australia tries to make it as a star in Los Angeles.

Saturday, Jan. 19

“Prosecuting Casey Anthony” (Lifetime at 8): You knew this was coming – Rob Lowe stars as Jeff Ashton, the Florida prosecutor who took on the trial of Casey Anthony, who was accused of murdering her toddler daughter, Caylee.

“Ripper Street” (BBC America at 9): A police officer who can’t get over the fact that he never caught the most notorious killer in London becomes in charge of investigating the most dangerous part of the city.

Sunday, Jan. 20

“Chasing the Saturdays” (E! at 10): This docu-series follows a British pop group ready to invade America with catchy tunes.

Monday, Jan. 21

“The Following” (Fox at 9): Fox has high hopes for this drama, in which Kevin Bacon stars as an ex-FBI agent who’s forced out of retirement when he needs to find a terrifying serial killer who can’t be caught.

Tuesday, Jan. 22

“The Taste” (ABC at 8): This cooking competition features celebrity chefs Anthony Bourdain, Nigella Lawson, Ludo Lefebvre and Brian Malarkey.

“Wild Things With Dominic Monaghan” (BBC at 10): What’s Monaghan of “Lost” up to these days? Just hosting a travel adventure series.

Wednesday, Jan. 23

“Big Rich Atlanta” (Style at 8): A spinoff of “Big Rich Texas” focuses on the social scene in metropolitan Georgia.

“Kimora: House of Fab” (Style at 9): The life of Kimora Lee Simmons is chronicled as she runs her fashion business.

Monday, Jan. 28

“Built” (Style at 9): Sometimes high-fashion male models have to multi-task – these men also work as home-repair contractors in a Manhattan company staffed only with construction workers who are also models.

Tuesday, Jan.29

“Henry Ford: American Experience” (PBS at 9): A documentary of the man who went from farm boy
to influential American innovator.

“Nikki & Sara Live” (MTV at 11): Comedians Nikki Glaser and Sara Schaefer host the weekly half-hour comedy show from Times Square in front of a live studio audience.

Wednesday, Jan. 30

“The Americans” (FX at 10): Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys star as two KGB spies in Washington in 1980s who pose as a regular married couple.

Thursday, Jan. 31

“Space Shuttle Columbia: Mission of Hope” (PBS at 9): This special airs in conjunction with the 10th anniversary of the disaster.

“Do No Harm”(NBC at 10): This drama centers on a highly respected neurosurgeon who has a Jekyll-and-Hyde personality thing going on.

Friday, Feb. 1

“Belle’s” (TV One at 10): The owner of a family-run soul food restaurant, a widower named William “Big
Bill” Cooper, deals with juggling
his business and his demanding family.

Monday, Feb. 4

“Monday Mornings” (TNT at 10): David E. Kelley’s latest show, based on Sanjay Gupta’s book, follows the medical staff at a hospital in Portland, Ore.

Friday, Feb. 8

“The Job” (CBS at 8): Produced by “Survivor’s” Mark Burnett, this series gives competitors a chance to win jobs at some of the most prestigious companies in the country.

“The Jenny McCarthy Show” (VH1 at 10:30): McCarthy talks about pop culture in a new weekly talk show.

Thursday, Feb.14

“Zero Hour” (ABC at 8): Anthony Edwards stars as the editor of Modern Skeptic Magazine, which is devoted to debunking conspiracies – but he’s forced to rethink everything he knows when his wife is mysteriously abducted from her antique clock store.

“Freakshow” (AMC at 9:30): This reality show follows former music producer Todd Ray as he and his family run museum on the Venice Beach, Calif., boardwalk that exhibits strange creatures and oddities.

“Immortalized” (AMC at 10): Well, it’s obviously time for a taxidermy reality show, as this series features people competing against each other in “one of the world’s oldest art forms.”

Tuesday, Feb. 19

“Cult” (CW at 9): An investigative journalist explores a disturbing
world when strange things start happening to rabid fans of a creepy TV show (including his younger brother).

“Silicon Valley: American Experience” (PBS at 8): This documentary looks back at the scientists who changed everything in a small area of California by setting up shop in rural Santa Clara County.

Friday, Feb. 22

“American Masters – Sister Rosetta Tharpe: The Godmother of Rock and Roll” (PBS at 9): Profiles the life and influence of Tharpe, the African American gospel singer who passed away in 1973.

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