It’s a common fall ritual to gear up for brand new shows, as networks premiere some of their biggest hits during the season of change. But winter television has grown a mind of its own, debuting some of the hottest shows during January and February. The list of innovative shows grabbing our attention spans the realms of reality, drama, comedy and musical. Plus, there’s a handful of returning favorites.
While our San Diego climate might not feel like the rest of the world’s iced-over winter, any excuse to stay in and cuddle is warmly welcomed. Set the TiVo, embrace the comfy pants, and tune in to the new TV line-up.
Discover ten of our favorite picks for 2012 winter television
Project Runway All-Stars— premieres Jan. 5th at 9pm on Lifetime
The former Project Runway runners-up are back the game, getting a second chance at competing for ultimate fashion honor. Unlike the past seasons, this time the designers will face a new set of critics from Isaac Mizrahi, Georgina Chapman, and new host Angela Lindvall. Marie Claire Editor-in-Chief Joanna Coles will be filling Tim Gunn’s shoes. Returning however, will be the big personalities and creative minds from past seasons including Anthony Williams, Austin Scarlett, and Kenley Collins.
The Bachelor— premiered Jan. 2nd at 9pm on ABC
Season 7 Bachelorette runner-up Ben Flajnik gets another chance at finding love on Season 16 of the Bachelor. Let the awkward dates, catty girls, and dramatic rose ceremonies begin! As 25 potential future wives vie for Ben’s affections, tensions rise between the hopeless romantics. Full of tears, dirty looks, and plans of sabotage, it’s a season of reality love not to be missed.
It’s a Brad, Brad World— premiered Jan. 2nd at 10pm on Bravo
The very own Brad Goreski of The Rachel Zoe Project returns with his own spin-off, bringing the bananas back to late-night reality TV. Fans will watch as Brad begins to build his own business as a stylist to the stars. The show documents Brad’s launch into his own career, as well as delving into the details of his personal life, all while finding an assistant, styling shoots and juggling celebrity personalities.
30 Rock—premieres Jan. 12th at 8pm on NBC
Back for its 6th season, fans are eager to reconnect with the next steps in Liz Lemon’s tumultuous and uproarious life. The first few episodes of the new season promise guest appearances by Will Arnett and Kelsey Grammar, and a new love interest for Liz played by X-men star James Marsden. This season is said to be Alec Baldwin’s last, so 30-rockers are urged to savor every last moment with the cast.
House of Lies— premieres Jan. 8th at 10pm on Showtime
This dark comedy featuring a team of consultants calls upon an all-star cast to make consulting something to laugh about. Starring Don Cheadle, Kristen Bell, Ben Schwartz and Josh Lawson, the show has been described as “sophisticated dirty,” and is based on a memoir by the same name. Don Cheadle’s fast-talking, ruthless demeanor makes the show one of the most anticipated of the season, as engaging as it is witty.
Are You There, Chelsea?—premieres Jan. 11th at 8:30pm on NBC
The new series created by talk-show host Chelsea Handler is based on her best-selling book about a group of twenty-something crass ladies living in New Jersey. While the book Are you There Vodka, it’s Me Chelsea based its storylines on Handler’s early career, the show will star Laura Prepon and use Handler only as a supporting role. Viewers can expect Handler’s crude-humor in the form of a weekly scripted installment.
Smash— premieres Feb. 6th at 10pm on NBC
Musical theatre-loving fans should buckle up for the new behind-the-scenes drama of a team preparing an ambitious Broadway musical on the life of Marilyn Monroe. This show is already pegged to be a hit, mixing sex appeal and musical elements slightly more dark and complex than Glee. Smash will feature lead and former American Idol contestant Katherine McPhee, as well as a cast including Debra Messing, Megan Hilty, Christian Borle, Jack Davenport, Anjelica Huston, Brian D'Arcy James, Jaime Ceperoand Raza Jaffrey, with guest stars Nick Jonas and Bernadette Peters already lined up and Steven Spielberg as one of its executive producers.
Angry Boys— premiered Jan. 1st at 10pm on HBO
Australian actor Chris Lilley of Summer Heights High takes on a role examining what it’s like to be a 21st-century male, playing multiple oddball characters in a brand-new mockumentary. The much-anticipated show is causing heads to turn as viewers are thrilled to see the next Chris Lilley project. Lilley’s multiple characters include S.mouse, an American rapper; Jen, a manipulative Japanese mother; Blake Oakfield, a champion surfer; Ruth "Gran" Sims, a guard at a juvenile detention facility; and her grandchildren, South Australian twins Daniel and Nathan Sims.
Celebrity Wife Swap— premiered Jan. 3rd at 9pm on ABC
While Wife Swap has long captivated America with the social experiment of interchanging two opposite ends of the marital spectrum for a few days, Celebrity Wife Swap takes it to a whole new level. The premiere episode swapped up Tracey Gold with Carnie Wilson; the season to follow will follow the swaps of Gary Busey, Flavor Flav, Dee Snider, Niecey Nash, Tina Yothers and Antonio Sabato Jr. and more.
Betty White’s Off Their Rockers— premieres Jan. 16th at 9:30pm on NBC
It’s the Pun’kd of the elderly, starring the one and only classically comical Betty White as host and conductor of antics on the all-new reality show. The hidden-camera concept turns senior citizens into full-time pranksters, following seven seniors who prank younger people with White helping to conspire. More so, the show proves that 89-year old Betty White is here to stay.
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