With the dawning of the new year comes a new slate of cheap, easy-to-make reality programming to hold the networks over until February sweeps. Along with some returning favorites (The Apprentice, January 7; Nashville Star, January 11; American Idol, January 16), here are some new shows sure to entertain you as they debase dozens of fame-hungry Americans. Enjoy.
Grease: You're the One That I Want, Sunday January 7, 8 p.m., NBC
The producers of Dancing With the Stars and the folks behind this summer's Broadway Grease revival unite for this talent competition, in which America chooses the new Sandy and Danny from a legion of musical theater nerds. The hosts are Access Hollywoodmandroid Billy Bush and Brit TV personality Denise Van Outen, and the preview features Van Outen and some hoochies performing a dance club mix of "Look at Me, I'm Sandra Dee" while prancing about in black panties and bras. That's...not Grease. But the co-writer of the original musical is on board as a judge, so they can't bastardize it too bad. Dare we hope for cameos by Olivia Newton-John or Stockard Channing?
The Surreal Life Fame Games Sunday January 7, 9 p.m., VH1
Basically the Real World/Road Rules Challenge for washed-up celebs. Ten former Surreal Life cast members compete in grueling/debasing tasks. One by one they get picked off until only one wannabe remains to take home a $100,000 cash prize. The line-up includes ex-wrestler Chyna Doll, Emmanuel Lewis (the artist formerly known as Webster), porn stars Ron Jeremy and Andrea Lowell, musicians Pepa of Salt-N-Pepa and C.C. DeVille from Poison (both are really too good for this), Vanilla Ice, Baywatch babe Traci Bingham, and major crazy Brigitte Nielsen. Robin Leach hosts. Of course.
Shooting Sizemore Sunday, January 7, 10:30 p.m., VH1
Tom Sizemore is an actor who played minor roles in some major Hollywood flicks, like Saving Private Ryan and Black Hawk Down. But he's perhaps best known for being a human train wreck, as his years of drug and alcohol abuse have combined with other criminal charges (including stalking and abusing his ex-girlfriend, former Hollywood madam Heidi Fleiss) to pretty much destroy whatever acting career he had. At his lowest, Sizemore decided to start documenting his life via handheld camera. Now you, dear viewer, get to watch that footage, which features Sizemore while drugged out of his mind, attempting recovery, and basically wailing to the world about how awful his life has become. Shut up, Sizemore. And shame on you, VH1. As if Breaking Bonaducewasn't voyeuristic enough...
I Love New York Monday January 8, 9 p.m., VH1
As anyone who watched Flavor of Love knows, the reality TV contestant known as New York is the HBIC (head bitch in charge). Now, after the woman has been dumped by cartoonish rapper Flavor Flav on national television --- twice --- VH1 tries to right some of its karmic wrongs by giving her a Bachelorette-style show in which she chooses a potential mate from a dozen or so hunky suitors. It's unclear why any man would actually want New York (she is beautiful, but also insane), but I'm curious to see just how desperate for fame these "gentlemen callers" are. Bonus: New York's bat-crazy mom acts as her advisor!
Armed & Famous Wednesday, January 10, 8 p.m., CBS
And so it's come to this. Five "celebrities" apparently unable to get work anywhere else sign up to become sworn police officers in Muncie, Illinois. The troopers are Jason "Wee-Man" Acuna from Jackass, Jack Osbourne from The Osbournes, La Toya Jackson (oddly, no longer the black sheep of the Jackson clan), wrestler Trish Stratus, and Erik Estrada, no stranger to the badge after his stint as Ponch on seminal motorcycle cop show CHiPs. Find out what happens when La Toya Jackson pulls someone over for a broken tail light. Fascinating!