Sunday, April 13th
2014 MTV Movie Awards, live awards show from 9 to 11pm on MTV
– He’s hosted the Emmys, the White House Correspondents Dinner, and numerous late—night shows, but this will mark Conan O’Brien’s first crack at the MTV Movie Awards. He wasn’t their first choice, though. ”They offered it to Charlie Rose first,” O’Brien says. ”But he insisted that his walnut table be paid scale, so they had a feud.” Yet the show must go on (the rental deposit is nonrefundable), so O’Brien will preside as stars like Shailene Woodley, Cameron Diaz, and Zac Efron present the Golden Popcorns. As usual, the nominees list pits awards faves (“12 Years a Slave”, “American Hustle”) against demo-friendly fare (“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”). So does ol’ Coco know his Finnicks from his Peetas? ”I’ve started listening to music and watching film that was made after 1992,” he says. ”I had a whole monologue that was just references to The Goonies, because I thought that’s what all the kids were excited about.”
America’s Best Cook, series premiere at 9pm on Food Network
– In this new six-episode series hosted by Ted Allen, Food Network takes home cooks out of their kitchens and into the most intense arena to see who is the best home cook in America. Four Food Network stars — Cat Cora, Alex Guarnaschelli, Michael Symon and Tyler Florence — representing four different regions of the country will choose two home cooks to compete on their team and battle through a succession of ever-more-difficult challenges. Coaches will dedicate themselves to developing their team and mentoring their cooks — because if their cooks go home, so do they. Everything is on line in the search to find America’s Best Cook!
Years of Living Dangerously, series premiere at 10pm on Showtime
– This groundbreaking documentary event series explores the human impact of climate change. From the damage wrought by Hurricane Sandy to the upheaval caused by drought in the Middle East, Years of Living Dangerously combines the blockbuster storytelling styles of top Hollywood movie makers with the reporting expertise of Hollywood’s brightest stars and today’s most respected journalists.
The Bletchley Circle, season premiere at 10pm on PBS
– With an extraordinary flair for code breaking and razor-sharp intelligence skills, four seemingly ordinary women become the unlikely investigators of a string of grisly murders in this original thriller, set against the backdrop of post-war London. It’s 1951 and Susan, played by two-time BAFTA award-winner Anna Maxwell Martin, Millie (Rachael Stirling, Women in Love), Lucy (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art graduate Sophie Rundle) and Jean (Julie Graham, William & Mary, Survivors) have returned to post-war domesticity, modestly setting aside the part they played in the Allied victory. Their brilliant work at top security HQ Bletchley Park helped crack the codes used by the German military, producing crucial intelligence that shortened the war.
Mad Men, season premiere at 10pm on AMC
– Set in 1960s New York, the sexy, stylized and provocative AMC drama Mad Men follows the lives of the ruthlessly competitive men and women of Madison Avenue advertising, an ego-driven world where key players make an art of the sell. The series revolves around the conflicted world of Don Draper (Hamm), the biggest ad man (and ladies man) in the business, and his colleagues at the Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce Advertising Agency. As Don makes the plays in the boardroom and the bedroom, he struggles to stay a step ahead of the rapidly changing times and the young executives nipping at his heels. The series also depicts authentically the roles of men and women in this era while exploring the true human nature beneath the guise of 1960s traditional family values.
Monday, April 14th
Bam’s Bad Ass Game Show, series premiere at 10:30pm on TBS
– Each week on Bam’s Bad Ass Game Show, competitors vie for $10,000 by facing off against one another in incredibly demented, potentially dangerous and occasionally painful challenges. The loser of each challenge is eliminated until there’s only one contestant left standing to take home the cash prize. Helping design and demonstrate the various challenges are Bam’s friends and cohorts, who occasionally wind up worse off than any of the contestants.
Tuesday, April 15th
Celebrity Wife Swap, season premiere at 9pm on ABC
– The mothers in two celebrity families with vastly diverse values switch homes (but not bedrooms) – embarking on a journey like no other and revealing the various ways some controversial celebrities live their lives.
Awkward, season premiere at 10pm on MTV
– This series takes an irreverent look at the conflict, chaos and humor that defines teenage life through the eyes of 15-year-old Jenna Hamilton, whose life begins to change when a simple accident becomes an epic misunderstanding and is blown way out of proportion. Narrated in the first-person voice of Jenna’s blog posts, “Awkward.” captures the humor within the struggles and experiences everyone can relate to from their formative years. The series picks up in the aftermath of the accident as she must deal with a new not-so-fun stigma, while at the same time managing the other daily drama that comes with being a teenager. From a secret relationship with a popular guy, to being undermined by a mean girl, and parents who just don’t get it – Jenna’s misfortune will eventually serve as the catalyst for amazing change, but it’s not without some missteps and mishaps along the way.
Fargo, series premiere at 10pm on FX
– An original adaptation of the Academy Award-winning feature film, Fargo features an all-new “true crime” story and follows a new case and new characters, all entrenched in the trademark humor, murder and “Minnesota nice” that made the film an enduring classic. Oscar-winner Billy Bob Thornton stars as “Lorne Malvo,” a rootless, manipulative man who meets and forever changes the life of small town insurance salesman “Lester Nygaard,” played by BAFTA Award winner and Emmy-nominated Martin Freeman. Colin Hanks plays Duluth Police Deputy “Gus Grimly,” a single dad who must choose between his own personal safety and his duty as a policeman when he comes face-to-face with a killer. Allison Tolman also stars as “Molly Solverson,” an ambitious Bemidji deputy.
Wednesday, April 16th
Unusually Thicke, series premiere at 10pm on TV
Alan Thicke, one of Hollywood’s most famous TV dads, stars in Unusually Thicke, an original reality sitcom. Not even seven seasons as Dr. Jason Seaver on Growing Pains could prepare Alan Thicke to be the patriarch of his own real-life modern family. Between his beautiful, spicy and much-younger wife Tanya, and his dry-witted, often opinionated teen son Carter, Alan has his work cut out for him – in a series that follows the daily drama and humor that happens in their everyday lives.
Jobs That Don’t Suck, series premiere at 11:30pm on MTV2
– MTV2’s brand new, half-hour comedy series is designed to help you find your dream job, by revealing how people – just like you – found theirs. Each week Andrew Schulz, Eddie Huang and Nessa hilariously guide viewers through the innovative ways that young Americans are getting rich by doing what they love. Viewers will meet millionaires, entrepreneurs, inventors, app developers, YouTube sensations, CEOs and even a few teenagers who have killer jobs, as they all reveal the secrets to their success.
Saturday, April 19th
Orphan Black, season premiere at 9pm on BBC America
– Season two of BBC America’s dramatic conspiracy thriller, Orphan Black, hits the ground running with Sarah (Golden Globe nominee Tatiana Maslany, Parks and Recreation) in a desperate race to find her missing daughter Kira (Skyler Wexler) – a wild pursuit that brings her head-to-head with ruthless pro-clone, Rachel (Maslany). This season also rejoins Sarah’s clone sisters Alison (Maslany) and Cosima (Maslany) as they struggle to keep their clone world a secret and pick up the pieces of their broken lives – all while dealing with the harsh reality that no one around them can be trusted.
Billy Crystal 700 Sundays, comedy special from 9 to 11pm on HBO
– Billy Crystal’s Broadway smash tells his life story and introduces the many colorful members of his extended family, all within the framework of the 700 Sundays he spent with his beloved father, who died when the comedian was 15. In person, his voices and impressions are a time machine transporting live audiences to the Long Island of his youth. But the transition to TV makes it a less intimate and compelling experience. There’s no doubting Crystal’s passion or comic versatility. However, on the small screen Sundays feels like Old Timers Night and his Mr. Saturday Night schtick could be slapped with a PG-64 rating.