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The Globe and Mail

Seven days of television: July 1 to July 7

A select viewing guide to the next seven days of television

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MONDAY JULY 1 Siberia (NBC, 10 p.m.) And you thought the reality-TV well had run dry? Debuting tonight, this new unscripted series from Oscar-nominated producer Michael Ohoven drops unwitting people into one of the most unforgiving regions on the planet. The series was filmed primarily in the remote Siberian territory of Tunguska and in tonight’s opener the 16 contestants are airlifted in via helicopter with little more than the clothes on their backs. The watch-factor stems from the unavoidable fact that in order to survive the elements, the participants are forced to bond together at the same time they’re competing for the cash prize. Clever, no?

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TUESDAY JULY 2 Extreme Weight Loss (ABC, 8 p.m.) Formerly known as Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition, this inspirational series returned last month and has been earning solid ratings, which likely speaks to the fact that people are more body-conscious in the summer-viewing season. In tonight’s new episode, trainer-host Chris Powell works with a married couple determined to get fit and healthy. After 12 years of marriage, Jason has watched his weight balloon to 362 pounds. His wife Rachel, meanwhile, is fully devoted to their five-year-old twins but can never find time to exercise, which in part explains her starting weight of 290 pounds. The program follows the couple over their yearlong weight-loss journey and get out the handerkchiefs for the final weigh-in.

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WEDNESDAY JULY 3 The American Baking Competition (CBS, Global, 9 p.m.) Still one of very few U.S. network shows airing fresh episodes, this sharp cooking competition based on a British series has become Wednesday night’s sweetest viewing option. The original format assembled 10 amateur foodies in the same test kitchen, where their high-calorie creations were judged by food-TV personalities Marcela Valladolid and Paul Hollywood. Now they are six and the competition heats up in tonight’s new episode that puts them through a three-round baking ritual that will end with two of them packing up their mixing bowls and going home. The highlight: The fantastically fussy contestant Brian actually puts aside his mean-spirited nature to help out a fellow baker!

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THURSDAY JULY 4 The Walking Dead (AMC, 8 p.m.) Arguably the hottest show on television these days, this series based on the bestselling graphic novel has made the zombie a very fashionable figure in American culture. AMC rewinds the show to its very beginning this week starting with tonight’s original pilot in which the rural sheriff Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) awakens from a coma to discover that the entire planet has been overrun by the recently-deceased–who have a decided taste for human flesh. While searching aimlessly for his wife and son, Rick is taken in by the brusque survivalist Morgan (Lennie James) and his own son. Note: If you’re already a Walking Dead convert, the show returns for season four this October.

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FRIDAY JULY 5 Randy to the Rescue (TLC, 10 p.m.) It looks like Randy Fenoli is here to stay. Since launching last summer, this series starring the fabulous bridal guru has registered huge ratings for TLC, which naturally sanctioned a second season. The format features Randy running all over the U.S. on his fashion rescue missions for nervous brides-to-be. In tonight’s new episode, he rolls into Savannah, Georgia, and is immediately helping distraught southern belles prepare for their big day. A bride-to-be named Brandi is feeling guilty for shopping for her wedding dress without her sick mom, while Brittnee is struggling to find the right frock fit after losing 60 pounds. Ladies, you are in good hands.

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SATURDAY JULY 6 Batman (YTV, 8 p.m.) Long before Christian Bale’s moody interpretation of The Dark Knight, there was the Tim Burton vision. Released with grand fanfare to theaters way back in 1989, this version casts Michael Keaton as the caped crusader who turned to crimefighting after his parents were brutally murdered before his eyes. The central villain is, of course, The Joker, played with scene-chewing glee by Jack Nicholson, who launches his plan to take over Gotham City by distributing a line of booby-trapped cosmetics. Along the way, Batman’s alter ego Bruce Wayne falls for the dishy reporter Vicki Vale (Kim Basinger) and everybody boogies to the score by Prince.

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SUNDAY JULY 7 The Fall (Bravo!, 9 p.m.) Finally, Inspector Lewis has some crime-solving competition on Sunday nights. This British-Irish coproduction is set in Belfast and casts former X-Files fixture Gillian Anderson as the no-nonsense Detective Superintendent Stella Gibson, who is called in when the local police are unable to solve a series of grisly murders. In tonight’s opener, she begins her investigation by positing the obvious question: Why is the killer only attacking young professional women? Make us proud, Scully.

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