What’s New in Television: March 2011

February sweeps are over which means we move into the television doldrums otherwise known as March.  So without further ado, it is time to take a look at some of the new offerings being served up by the networks this March.

“America’s Next Great Restaurant” – If you are a fan of ABC’s “Shark Tank” (also returning this month) and also happen to be hungry then “America’s Next Great Restaurant” might just be the show for you.  The show features cooks who believe they have the next big idea for a fast-casual restaurant.  The judges Bobby Flay, Curtis Stone, Lorena Garcia and Chipotle founder Steve Ells will not only choose which chefs have the best idea, they will also be providing that required start-up capital.  Along with “Celebrity Apprentice” NBC continues to throw away Sunday nights once football season is over.  “America’s Next Great Restaurant” airs on Sunday at 8/7 Central on NBC and debuts on March 6th.

“Breakout Kings” – Initially a pilot commission by FOX last year and left for dead when it was not picked up by that network, “Breakout Kings” was saved when A&E, who is in the midst of building up its stable of scripted television after last year’s successful launch of “The Glades.” The show follows an unconventional team of two U.S. Marshals and three inmates trying to catch an escaped fugitives.  The solid cast features the great Jimmi Simpson as one of the inmates.  Simpson, mostly known for his appearances on Broadway was guest starred in numerous shows including Psych.  “Breakout Kings” airs on Sunday at 10/9 Central on A&E and debuts on March 6th.

“Bear Woman” – Do I know what “Bear Woman” is about?  I do not.  Do I even care enough to find out?  I do not.  Did Animal Planet have me immediately when they titled this show “Bear Woman?”  They did.  The three part series airs on Thursday at 10/9 Central on Animal Planet and debuts on March 17th.

“The Pee-Wee Herman Show on Broadway” – Paul Reubens returned as his famous character Pee-Wee Herman in a new stage show in Los Angeles in January of last year.  Last fall the show moved to Broadway for ten weeks.  Pee-Wee will return to HBO, thirty years after his debut on the premium cable network in a taped version of the New York show.  “The Pee-Wee Herman Show on Broadway” airs on Saturday, March 19th at 10/9 Central on HBO.

“Body of Proof” – Aren’t medical examiners cool?  In possibly one of the stupidest back stories I have heard for a television character yet, neurosurgeon Megan Hunt (played by Dana Delany) gets divorced and loses custody of her son which then leads to her car wreck, which causes paresthesia.  This condition of course does not present itself until she is in the middle of surgery which accidentally results in her killing the patient.  Flash forward five years to find Dr. Hunt now a court medical expert.  Sadly “Body of Proof” represents ABC’s last ditch effort to actually have a freshman series this year go on to its sophomore season.  “Body of Proof” airs on Tuesday at 10/9 Central on ABC and debuts on March 29th.

“Mobbed” – There are few few absolute truths in life.  The most important one is that you can never have enough Howie Mandel in your life.  Apparently looking to fill the large hole in his life since the cancellation of “Deal or No Deal” Howie is back to host a one night special combining hidden cameras and flash mobs airing right after juggernaut American Idol.  Of course if the show does well, look for it to find its way onto next year’s FOX schedule.  Fun Fact: The network had planned to use the plum post-Idol slot to preview a new sketch-comedy show produced by Jamie Foxx; that series is still scheduled to air in June.  “Mobbed” airs on Thursday, March 31st at 9/8 Central on FOX.

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