In the Hot Seat: What to watch (or not) on TV talk shows the week of January 28
Monday, January 28
Watch: Get your possible Oscars-hosting sneak peek on "The View" when Seth McFarlane visits the show for the first time. And it's Bacon Day on "Rachael Ray" -- not just Kevin (of "The Following") but the actual meat, as Rachael cooks up bacon-wrapped meatloaf and BLT penne. (That last one sounds really delicious; are we crazy?) Jimmy Kimmel tries to match last week's Matt-Damon-derful success by talking to Jude Law. Katie Couric keeps it thematic after her Manti Te'o interview with an hour on "online love traps," while Leno gets the inside scoop on all the Super Bowl commercials from ad man Donny Deutsch.
Skip: We don't see anything that off-putting in the lineups, although those of you with "Girls" fatigue may want to take a pass on "Chelsea Lately" and Allison Williams.
Tuesday, January 29
Watch: Letterman's probably got the random guest combo of the week locked up with Sylvester Stallone and former VP Al Gore, although Fallon's on that case with Lucy "Elementary" Liu and Tommy "the former Mr. Mariah Carey" Mottola. The hilarious Melissa McCarthy is on "The Daily Show," and Kevin "Clerks" Smith visits Carson Daly.
Skip: Various Kardashians on "Jimmy Kimmel Live."
Wednesday, January 30
Watch: We love Jason Bateman, Alison Brie, and their shows ("Arrested Development" and "Mad Men"); Letterman's got 'em both. We love Bill Gates, too -- Windows aside, he's an awesome philanthropist now -- and he's talking to Stephen Colbert. "Live With Kelly & Michael" is home to a solid random guest combo, as Tootsie (Dustin Hoffman) and Felicity (Keri Russell of "The Americans") join the show, and the Mike Tyson/Michael Bolton double dip on "Jimmy Fallon" is even better.
Skip: It's probably perfectly good, but Rachael Ray's headline dish today, "Spanish Stewed Chicken Thighs," needs some help in the branding department.
Thursday, January 31
Watch: Rachael Ray is apparently trying to kill us this week; she and Reege are making apple-pie sundaes. Anyone else think that show maybe needs a workout segment? Not that "The Chew" is any better with today's focus on classic diner dishes, but it warms our Jersey hearts nonetheless. Don't know what's going on with "Occupy Conan"? Neither do we, but let's check it out -- along with Sexiest Man Alive Channing Tatum on Fallon, and author Matthew Guerrieri talking Beethoven's Fifth Symphony on "The Colbert Report." And check your local listings for the first part of Dr. Phil's two-part discussion with Ronaiah Tuiasasopo about the Manti Te'o hoax.
Skip: We just got that Lisa Loeb song out of our heads after like a decade, and now she's back on Leno.
Friday, February 1
Watch: The second part of Dr. Phil's Ronaiah Tuiasasopo interrogation airs today. Chef Jamika Pessoa heads to Anchor Bar Restaurant, the original Buffalo, NY home of the original buffalo wing, on "The Chew." Fallon scores another random guest pairing with Zosia Mamet and Andrea Bocelli. Joe Theismann talks football (we assume) with Craig Ferguson, although we really, really hope they don't show that footage of his leg, because it's horrible. And America's favorite mayor, Newark's Cory Booker, joins Eva Longoria on Bill Maher's show.
Skip: "The View" co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck's husband, ESPN analyst Tim, visits the show. Too much Hasselbeck, and probably too much Super Bowl if you're feeling overwhelmed by ancillary coverage.
Narrator extraordinaire Ron Howard discusses the new "Arrested Development" right here: