It's been a pretty good season for The Amazing Race, which has taken advantage of the revitalized 60 Minutes to post decent ratings in one of the tougher time slots on television. The thirteenth edition of the round-the-world jaunt ends Sunday (CBS, approximately 8 PM) with the teams trying to get from Moscow to Portland, Ore., not the sort of itinerary that your average airline employee works out every day. Predictions? Season-long dominators rarely win on this show, which is bad news for Nick and Starr. Total boobs usually only get so far, which probably spells doom for Andrew and Dan. That leaves mother/son team Toni and Dallas, and Ken and Tina, who I keep forgetting are on the show. Look for Ken/Tina to win, Nick/Starr to come in a close second, Toni/Dallas to finish third, and Andrew/Dan to turn up in Zambia somehow.
Also this week:
Monday: Privileged (CW, 9 PM): This series, unhyped even by the standards of the CW, has gotten some attention from critics who have been surprised to find that it isn't instantly disposable. The network is giving it a special Monday tryout after Gossip Girl in an attempt to build the audience that has so far been lacking. Megan (Joanna Garcia) is faced with a decision to ground Rose, while also wondering if her new relationship can survive a curveball.
Tuesday: According to Jim (ABC, 9 PM and 9:30 PM): And Sarah Connor thought she had trouble killing off terminators. The persistence of this sitcom--this is Season Eight--has become of the great running jokes in television history. Two episodes air tonight: at 9, Jim uses guilt to get the older kids to perform chores; at 9:30, Cheryl has difficulty coping when her sister moves away.
Wednesday: Secret Millionaire (Fox, 8 PM): It's not a good sign when a new series provokes the question "Did they call another writers' strike and forget to tell me?" This show takes rich people and immerses them in a community where they labor amongst struggling working class folks. In the end, the do-gooders reveal themselves and award $100,000 to someone deemed most deserving.
Thursday: Barbara Walters Special (ABC, 10 PM): It's time for the ten most fascinating people of the year, according to the grande dame of TV interviewing. Michael Phelps, Will Smith, Rush Limbaugh, Tom Cruise, Tina Fey, and Miley Cyrus are the names that have already been revealed. My pick for #1 would be that girl in Kanye West's video for "Flashing Lights," but Baba may have decided to go in another direction.
Friday: Ghost Whisperer (CBS, 8 PM): This series has always seemed to me to be just another Friday night placeholder, but it has received its most attention ever with the recent storyline making Melinda (Jennifer Love Hewitt) a widow, to the extent anyone can ever be widowed on a show about the dead. This week, Melinda discovers a secret surrounding a girl who has been missing for twelve years.
Saturday: Dancing With Dogs (Animal Planet, 9 PM) : Because I am imbued with the spirit of the season, I'm not going to make any of the obvious jokes regarding the title of this show, though I invite all of you to use your own wicked imaginations. The show is exactly what it sounds like: choreographers training dogs for a dance contest. I bet the bulldog has four left feet.