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TV best bets with finales of ‘Survivor,’ ‘Burn Notice,’ ‘Leverage,’ a third ‘Robot Chicken’ Star Wars parody

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As Christmas draws near, TV viewership falls off and nostalgia sets in with many a classic Christmas movie and animated special popping up.

But there are still new shows to check out.

A pregnant Mariah Carey sings Christmas tunes on ABC Monday while Natalie Cole works with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir on GPB on Wednesday.

Three major reality shows close shop for the year: “The Biggest Loser” on NBC Tuesday, “Hell’s Kitchen” on Fox Wednesday and “Survivor” on CBS Sunday.

Two popular basic cable dramas are finishing up as well after brief forays in the late fall: USA’s “Burn Notice” Thursday and TNT’s “Leverage” on Sunday.

And Atlanta’s Adult Swim brings back a third parody edition of  “Robot Chicken” focused exclusively on Star Wars.

MONDAY

“How I Met Your Mother” 8 p.m. CBS — Alex Trebek makes a cameo.
“The Sing-Off” 8 p.m. NBC — The six final groups pick rock songs and guilty pleasures.
“Mariah Carey: Merry Christmas To You” 9 p.m. ABC — Carey sings from her second holiday album.
“Intervention” 9 p.m. A&E (10th season debut) — A woman battles drug addiction that began in her teen years.
“The  Closer” 9 p.m. TNT — The new chief has the team look at thefts at medical-pot dispensaries.
“Marry Me” 9 p.m. Lifetime (part 2 of mini-series) — Rae makes her pick from three suitors.
Two and a Half Men” 9 p.m. CBS — Charlie and Courtney split up.
Hawaii Five-O” 10 p.m. CBS — Chin Ho is abducted and an explosive device is strapped to his chest.

TUESDAY
“NCIS” 8 p.m. CBS — A missing Navy petty officer is the only witness in a murder trial.
Three Wise Women” 8 p.m. Hallmark — A guardian angel tries to convince a woman she’s about to marry the wrong man.
The Biggest Loser” 9 p.m. NBC (10th season finale) — Viewer votes determine the third finalist as the $250,000 winner is named.
Third Reich: The Rise” 9 p.m. History — The build up of Nazism in Germany is recalled. The second part featuring “The Fall” airs Wednesday night.
NCIS: Los Angeles” 9 p.m. CBS — Kensi takes a case personally when she bonds with a witness.
“The Good Wife” 10 p.m. CBS — Alicia tries to get a stay of execution for a death-row inmate.
“Auction Kings” 10 p.m. Discovery — Paul Brown’s team auctions off a samurai sword and a 1908 Louis Vuitton steamer trunk.

WEDNESDAY
“Human Target” 8 p.m. Fox — A client has amnesia, clearly a more common malady on TV than in real life.
“Christmas With the Mormon Tabernacle” 8 p.m. GPB — Natalie Cole and author David McCullough are guests.
Survivor” 8 p.m. CBS — Gritty, gutsy Jane, at age 56, will have a tough time making the final two because who wants to compete against her?
Criminal Minds” 9 p.m. CBS — A man, a day after getting paroled, murders someone. He must love prison!
Hell’s Kitchen” 9 p.m. Fox (eighth season finale) — Local gal Nona Sivley has a shot to win a job with Gordon Ramsay.
“Psych” 9 p.m. USA (special time) — Shawn dreams life like “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
Top Chef: All Stars” 10 p.m. Bravo — Two chefs go home tonight. Let’s hope Richard Blais is not one of them!

THURSDAY
The Big Bang Theory” 8 p.m. CBS — The guys need Penny’s new boyfriend to help them win a costume contest.
Brew Masters” 8 p.m. Discovery (first season finale) — Sam visits Egypt to resurrect a beer from the distant past.
“Gift of the Magi” 8 p.m. Hallmark — Newlyweds on limited budgets try to buy each other expensive Christmas gifts.
“Burn Notice” 9 p.m. USA (back-to-back episodes) — Brennan attempts to blackmail Michael into killing government agents, followed by the season four finale in which a tactical-assault team goes after his loved ones.
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” 10 p.m. FX (one-hour sixth season finale) — This special features stolen toys, naked elves and a nasty encounter with Santa Claus.
“The Peacemaker: L.A. Gang Wars” 10 p.m. A&E (new series) — Gang mediator Malik Spellman works South Central Los Angeles.
Funniest Commercials of the Year 2010” 10 p.m. TBS — Old Spice ad sensation Isaiah Mustafa hosts.

FRIDAY
“Christmas in Washington 2010” 8 p.m. TNT — Ellen DeGeneres hosts. Mariah Carey, Andrea Bocelli and Annie Lennox sing
Supernanny” 8 p.m. ABC — A 12-year-old’s rebellious streak is rubbing off on the younger kids.
Frosty the Snowman” 8:30 p.m. CBS — Sing the song, enjoy the old-school animation.
Modern Marvels” 9 p.m. History — Things still made in America are examined when so many products are imported.
I Get That a Lot” 9:30 p.m. CBS — Highlights from past episodes including Paris Hilton pumping gas.
Blais Off” 10 p.m. Science — Atlantan Richard Blais hosts a show in which he attempts to reengineer traditional dishes with help from science.
Sanctuary” 10 p.m. SyFy — The team goes to Tibet to find a hidden city.

WEEKEND

“Battle of the Bulbs” 9 p.m. Saturday Hallmark — Two neighbors get into a Christmas-decorating battle.
“Ricky Gervais: Out of England 2” 9 p.m. Saturday HBO — Topics include the recession, obesity and gay marriage.
“Saturday Night Live” 11:29 p.m. Saturday  NBC — Jeff Bridges hosts.
Survivor” 8 p.m. Sunday CBS (21st season finale) — Here ends one of the least scintillating “Survivor” seasons in recent years.
Leverage” 9 p.m. Sunday TNT (two-hour third season finale) — The team tries to track down long-time nemesis Damien Moreau .
Sarah Palin’s Alaska” 9 p.m. Sunday TLC — Sarah and Piper dogsled on a glacier.
The Real Housewives of Atlanta” 10 p.m. Sunday Bravo — Kandi scrambles to finish her album while Kim preps her act.
Bama Belles” 10 p.m. Sunday TLC (first season finale)— The ladies take a road trip to visit Amie’s son at college.
Robot Chicken: Star Wars Edition III” 11:30 p.m. Sunday Adult Swim— Zac Efron and Rachael Leigh Cook provide guest voices.

Join my Facebook fan page and Twitter.

By Rodney Ho, rho@ajc.com, AJCRadioTV blog

6 comments Add your comment

Rodney Ho Ho Ho

December 13th, 2010
2:09 pm

Are you in the Christmas spirit or trying to mimic T.V. Guide?

BryAnn

December 13th, 2010
2:41 pm

“A client has amnesia, clearly a more common malady on TV than in real life.”

as well as being abducted and having an explosive strapped to the chest.

chiss

December 13th, 2010
3:52 pm

most pumped for the sing-off tonight! season 2 here reminds me of jazz choir in high school, i miss those days. so good

TVboy

December 13th, 2010
7:45 pm

yes i love ’sing-off’. also watching ’survivor’

Traffic Headache

December 13th, 2010
7:46 pm

Frosty the Snowman: The sight of sweet little Karen crying over the puddle that was Frosty still puts a lump in the throat after 41 years.

Nutmeg

December 13th, 2010
11:08 pm

Aargh to The Sing Off. I want to give “The Sing-Off” judges a piece of her mind. Look, it’s like this. You have to account for degree of difficulty. Jerry Lawson & Talk of the Town, they’re a great sentimental favorite… but what they’re doing isn’t NEARLY as difficult as what some of the other groups are doing. That needs to be acknowledged! It is an elephant in the studio! Too early for Groove to head home.

I’m Team Backbeats all the way, though.