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What to Watch: Weekend

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 17

[IMG:L]Real Time with Bill Maher – 11/10c on HBO

As Election Day nears, more and more left-wing A-listers are coming out of hibernation to commiserate with Bill Maher on HBO’s Real Time. Last week it was Oliver Stone, but he was partly there to promote W. and his interview was brief. Not the case for tonight’s episode, featuring the likes of Ben Affleck and Martin Short as roundtable guests. Affleck, who himself will make a fine politician-celeb some day, might be loath to surrender speaking time, but he’ll have to take an occasional breath–during which Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, the third roundtable guest, can sneak in a word or two.

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[IMG:L]Crash (Series Premiere) – 10/9c on Starz, Encore

Nobody gave Crash a shot at winning Best Picture three years ago, when it beat Brokeback Mountain and ruined Oscar pools everywhere, so can you really bet against it as a reincarnated TV series? OK, maybe you can, but tonight’s series premiere is definitely worth a look, if not for the similarly race-y storyline then at least for Paul Haggis’ attachment as one of countless producers. 

[IMG:L]Crusoe (Series Premiere) – 8/7c on NBC

It’s Lost–18th-century style! Philip Winchester (Flyboys) plays the title character in this adaptation of Daniel Defoe’s CliffsNotes-worthy novel about treasure, shipwreck and lost love. It’s a must-see for set-design enthusiasts and costume-design aficionados.

[IMG:L]Late Show with David Letterman – 11:35/10:35c on CBS

We’ve seen plenty of Tina Fey as Sarah Palin lately, and soon (Oct. 30) we’ll once again see her as Liz Lemon, but tonight we’re granted the rare treat of plain old Tina–which gives Letterman the opportunity to ask her about Sarah Palin and Liz Lemon! Also appearing on Late Show is impression dude Frank Caliendo, who’ll hopefully be willing to do his George W. Bush…and then promptly exit the stage.

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[IMG:L]True Hollywood Story: Oprah Winfrey – 8/7c on E!

If Oprah previously fancied her life story non-controversial, she’s in for quite a surprise tonight! She gets the True Hollywood Story treatment (or as I like to call it, The True-ish Hollywood Story), because E! could only get so much mileage out of that Heath Ledger THS before it had to move on. 

 

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SATURDAY, OCTOBER 18

[IMG:L]Saturday Night Live – 11:29/10:29c on NBC 

Josh Brolin hosts/plugs his new movie W. on tonight’s show. All well and good, but let’s be honest: Sarah Palin is the only person that matters right now when it comes to Saturday Night Live. There are just three SNL episodes remaining before the election, which means Tina Fey will parody Palin thrice more at most (Fey has said she’ll retire her Palin send-up following the election) and also that Palin herself will be making a cameo sooner rather than later, if there’s truth to the rampant rumors suggesting as much (and the “wink, wink” non-confirmations from both SNL and the Palin camp). Could tonight be the night that the real Palin and the fake Palin square off? Hard to say for sure, but at least there’s a reason to stay tuned past 11:35!

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[IMG:L]Hulk Hogan’s Celebrity Championship (Series Premiere) – 8/7c on CMT

In case you were wondering where “celebrities” go when they’re too small-time for Dancing with the Stars or even a VH1 faux-ality show, this is it–although Dennis Rodman and Co. probably would’ve said yes to any CMT series. On a separate note, CMT is now officially just as much “Country Music Television” as MTV is “Music Television.” How weird that MTV is CMT’s parent company!

[IMG:L]In the Valley of Elah (TV Debut) – 10/9c on Cinemax

Back when it came out in theaters, Paul Haggis’ Iraq War-related movie suffered the same unfortunate fate as its, er, comrades: It was ignored. But now that the glut of similarly themed films has died down, give Elah a fair shake and you’ll be treated to Tommy Lee Jones’ finest performance of 2007–yes, ahead of No Country for Old Men. If you don’t like it, there’s always SNL (see above) at 11:30. Sorry, I mean 11:29.

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SUNDAY, OCTOBER 19

[IMG:L]Entourage – 10/9c on HBO

A cash-strapped Vince (Adrian Grenier) does a photo shoot for Dolce & Gabbana, while Ari (Jeremy Piven) tries to a broker a deal at Allen Gray’s (Paul Ben-Victor) funeral so that Vince won’t ever have to suffer through such work again. In other words, the rough season of Entourage would appear to be continuing for at least one more episode, but it’s still the best option at 10 p.m. on Sundays (for non-NFL fans).

[IMG:L]Extreme Makeover: Home Edition – 8/7c on ABC 

Ty Pennington and his team of fixer-uppers set their sights on a North Carolina family’s home/daycare center, which has a mold problem. That’s it? Mold? ABC producers are really expecting viewers to shed tears over a fungus?!

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