Coming soon: 'Masterchef,' '18 to Life,' 'Plain Jane' and more

Monday, 26 July 2010 12:00 AM Written by 

Coverage from the Television Critics Association summer press tour in Beverly Hills begins this week so in advance of that, after the jump we'll have an early look at a few upcoming prime-time premieres. ...

"Breakthrough with Tony Robbins" (8 p.m. Tuesday, NBC): An inspirational docu-series starring Robbins, who helps a person or family overcome a challenge each week. In the premiere it's the story of a husband who was paralyzed at his wedding reception when he jumped into a pool and broke his neck. It's emotionally manipulative but uplifting programming.

3shot-horz_0227.rc.a"Masterchef" (9 p.m. Tuesday, Fox): Rather than a focus on competing professional chefs, this latest food prep competition series featuring host Gordon Ramsay is looking for amateur chefs to crown "Masterchef." None of the contestants hails from Pennsylvania but one of the judges is Joe Bastianich (pictured at left, center), son of Lidia Bastianich, best known locally for Lidia's restaurant in the Strip. Ramsay lets loose with his tough critiques ("Arrogant chefs are like blonds in Hollywood," he tells one cocky contestant) but he's less of a screamer -- at least in the premiere episode.

"Plain Jane" (9 p.m. Wednesday, The CW): British fashion expert Louise Roe helps "ordinary, awkward, forgettable" young women make themselves over and build their confidence so they can nab their man. In the premiere Roe torments a woman with a fear of snails by putting a $1,000 gift card in a bowl full of snails, forcing her to grab the gift card to use to begin her makeover."I just want you to feel empowered," Roe says, justifying the cruel task. And that's before she disparages everything in the woman's closet. This show is absolutely skippable.

"Shark Week" (begins 9 p.m. Sunday, Discovery): This year's week of all things "Jaws" begins with "Ultimate Air Jaws" (9 p.m. Sunday) and continues with "Into the Shark Bite" (10 p.m. Sunday) and additional new and repeat shark shows through the week.

"18 to Life" (9 and 9:30 p.m. Aug. 3, The CW): Next door neighbors Tom (Michael Seater) and Jessie (Stacey Farber) get married at 18 after Jessie dares Tom to propose to her. The "Dharma & Greg"-like parents initially react predictably -- Tom's conservative parents are upset' Jessies hippie parents are cool with it -- in this gentle, intermittently entertaining Canadian import.

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