Thursday, April 1 (NBC)
Series Debut: If you think The Biggest Loser is too weepy, sensitive and lacking in shrieking she-dude Jillian Michaels, you’ll love Jillian’s Fat-Ass Fight Club. The goal is still weight loss, but the method is different: Instead of endless confessionals about their tonnage intercut with sad workout footage and don’t-eat-that-cheese-injected-donut challenges, fatties battle to the death in front of Michaels—it’s like Gladiator, only waaay slower and flappier. The winning whale goes on to train with Michaels, but she’s allowed to personally kill any contestant she deems unworthy or “too sweaty.” The series coincides with the release of Michaels’ new workout DVD, Lose It or Die, Porky.
Thursday, April 1 (The CW)
Series Debut: The CW network has stumbled upon two ideas that work: Rich, obnoxious skanks and the ascot-hoarding girly-men who love/tolerate them (Gossip Girl, etc.), and good-lookin’ vampires and the lovelorn teenage girls who keep diaries about them (Vampire Diaries, duh). Together, these shows reel in nearly 5,000 viewers a week—how to take it to the next level? Would you believe vampires (including teen dreamboat Michael Chad Michaelson) attending an exclusive Manhattan prep school? Who are also models, even though they’re millionaire trust-funders who don’t need the money? Of course you would, CW demographic.
Thursday, April 1 (CBS)
Series Debut: The Only TV Column That Matters™ didn’t think the minds behind Undercover Boss would be capable of creating anything beyond a maudlin suckfest, but Secret CEO is a pleasant surprise. Instead of corporate heads infiltrating the working ranks and rooting out diligent sob-story drones who just need a pep talk and a new iron lung for Grandma back at the trailer park, Secret CEO looks at the other 95 percent of the worthless workforce. In the premiere episode, a CEO of The CW fires the entire Burbank branch for greenlighting Vampire Debutantes. Now this is good television!
Thursday, April 1 (Food Network)
Series Debut: From the creators of Ghost Hunters, Ghost Hunters International, Paranormal State, Paranormal Cops and Spook Pokers comes the Food Network’s first foray into Casper-baiting: Each week, paranormal expert Edward S. Rand III and celebrity cookbook author Giada De Laurentiis track down apparitions of dead chefs haunting famous restaurants, Mulder and Scully-style. First up, the duo investigate sightings of the ghost of a New Orleans short-order cook who, legend has it, was murdered by Guy Fieri in a scuffle over pork chops. Ghost Chefs precedes the debut of Nigella Lawson’s new chocolates-and-confections series, Nigella’s Fudge Tunnel.
Crack of Dawn
Thursday, April 1 (AMC)
Series Debut: It’s Breaking Bad meets Weeds meets Russets: Dawn Larson (Elisabeth Shue) is a stripper and single mom living on the bad side of Boise, Idaho. When the club where she works, The Shakin’ ’Taters, suddenly burns down, she scrambles to find another job to provide for her three boys—all blind and born with stumps instead of arms. When she can’t find employment, she and her fellow jobless stripper/best friend Au Chante (Soleil Moon Frye) turn to manufacturing and selling crack cocaine to overtime-driven potato pickers. This doesn’t sit well with Boise’s crack kingpin (Vanilla Ice, in his dramatic TV debut), who orders a hit on the women. Distraught, Dawn turns to her sheriff brother (Emilio Estevez) who, despite being estranged from Dawn for years after their father’s death from potato poisoning, decides to help her take on the local crack cartel. Crack of Dawn will run until May, at which time AMC’s even grittier Oxycontin Soldiers premieres.
More: April 1 DVD releases