American Idol might not be quite the force it once was, but it still provides a promotional opportunity like nothing else on television. 24 did not become a true success until it began airing following Idol, and House became a hit via the same strategy. Last May, Fox went so far as to air the pilot of Glee several months ahead of its official debut, simply to take advantage of the Idol lead-in. Now, the network is trying this strategy again with the action series Human Target, which premiered this past Sunday and shows up this week post-Idol on Wednesday at 9 p.m. (it moves to 8 p.m. next week).
Based on a graphic novel, Human Target stars Fringe veteran Mark Valley as Christopher Chance, a super-bodyguard who is assigned only the toughest clients. The series will proceed on two tracks, as there will be "assignments of the week" along with an overarching backstory for Chance. Wednesday, Chance is assigned to protect his client from an assassin aboard a passenger plane, even though he has never met the client. Just look for the guy trying to set fire to his underwear.
Also this week:
Monday: Chuck (NBC, 8 p.m.): This series has barely gotten a renewal after its first two seasons, but now with NBC in sudden need of scripted programming, its future is looking brighter than ever. This week, Chuck (Zachary Levi) finds himself in the unaccustomed mentor role when Captain Awesome is somehow mistaken for a spy, and needs to be taught how to behave.
Tuesday: The Bad Girls Club (Oxygen, 10 p.m.): Amber becomes infuriated when Flo announces that it's time she had a lesbian affair. I thought that was a mandatory part of the casting process already. Also, the girls attend a photo shoot, and a former cast member drops by to create drama.
Thursday: The Deep End (ABC, 8 p.m.): I'm thrilled to see the debut of this series, as it means that the endless promos for it might now finally cease. Five young attorneys begin their careers at a high powered firm in a series that aims to bring a Grey's Anatomy approach to the law. The best known names in the cast include Billy Zane, Broadway stalwart Norbert Leo Butz, and Mehcad Brooks, last seen shirtless a lot on True Blood.
Friday: Hope for Haiti (Various channels, 8 p.m.): All the major broadcast networks will simulcast this two-hour telethon to benefit the victims of the January 12 earthquake in Haiti. Anderson Cooper, George Clooney, and Wyclef Jean will host, with entertainment coming both New York and Los Angeles.
Saturday: U.S. Figure Skating Championships: Ladies Free Skate (NBC, 9 p.m.): We're just three weeks away from the start of the Winter Olympics, so it's time to start reacquainting ourselves with the stars of figure skating. The women's (girl's?) national championship in Spokane also determines spots on the Olympic team. Have Tonya Harding's whereabouts been accounted for?
Sunday: Frank the Entertainer in a Basement Affair (VH1, 8 p.m.): I thought VH1 was done with these dating shows after last year's tragedy? Perhaps they figured serial contestant "The Entertainer" is such a total buffoon that he couldn't possibly be associated with anything but farce. This week, the basement-dwelling dweeb brings the remaining women together for a bikini softball game.