<p>&nbsp;Brent and Caite of 'The Amazing Race'</p>

 Brent and Caite of 'The Amazing Race'

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'The Amazing Race 16' Premiere -- 'Nanna is Kickin' Your Butt'

It's off to Chile for Phil Keoghan, the beauty queen, the 'Big Brother' couple and more

You don't have to be brainy to win on "The Amazing Race." In fact, if you look back over the show's 15 winners, only a few of those champions could be categorized as "smart." The best you can say about most of the winners, really, is that they were able to minimize intellectual blunders along the way. And sometimes you can't even say that.

Over the years, misread clues, misapplied maps, in-challenge counting blunders, word-puzzle cluelessness and other mental gaffes have done in far more teams than physical inadequacies or crippling phobias.

It's actually a key part of the show's dramatic tension for viewers. Most of us, sitting at home, have no clue how we'd perform if asked to eat 15 pounds of whale blubber or if we were forced to do a free-fall off of the pointy top of the CN Tower, but we can all feel confident that even with reduced sleep, a questionable diet and at the end of a 15-day adrenaline rush, we'd still be literate, we'd still be able to add digits, we'd still eventually be able to unscramble the most foreign of five-letter words in a few hours. We can feel equal or superior on that front, smacking our palms against our foreheads in frustration and glee.

Get ready for a lot of that in this current 16th season of "The Amazing Race," which seems to have ample potential to be the dumbest season of The Race ever, "The Amazing Race: All-Stupids" if you will. I'm guessing this crop of contestants will lead to a split in the viewership, because as tremendously fun as Sunday's (Feb. 14) premiere was, I can easily imagine this level of dunderheadedness getting exhausting in a hurry.

[More on the "Amazing Race" premiere after the break...]

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<p>&nbsp;Nina Dobrev of 'The Vampire Diaries'</p>

 Nina Dobrev of 'The Vampire Diaries'

Credit: The CW

Recap: 'The Vampire Diaries' - 'Fool Me Once'

Stefan and Damon get closer to opening the tomb and a discover in made

Big stuff goes down in Mystic Falls this week as our beloved “Vampire Diaries” leaves us with a doozy before going on hiatus (again!) until March. And while the “Will Elena turn into a vampire?” plot gets dropped with the quickness, it’s replaced with witchy happenings and emotional gestures and surprising turns galore, including the very best scene Katerina Graham’s been given all season. Read on!

[Full recap of Thursday's (Feb. 11) "The Vampire Diaries," titled "Fool Me Once," after the break...]

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<p>&nbsp;Anthony of 'Project Runway'</p>

 Anthony of 'Project Runway'

Credit: Lifetime

Recap: 'Project Runway' - 'Run For Cover'

One struggling designer rises – and a favorite falls

Okay, the promos for this episode look downright delicious. I mean, come on, they’re promising a friggin’ bloodbath on the runway! Is it too much to hope someone claws Mila’s catty old eyes out? I am breathless with excitement! This could be the best “PR” ever! Or, Lifetime could be yanking my chain. But they wouldn’t do that, would they?

[Full recap of Thursday (Feb. 11) night's "Project Runway" after the break...]

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<p>&nbsp;Amanda Kimmel of 'Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains'</p>

 Amanda Kimmel of 'Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains'

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains' Premiere - 'Slay Everyone, Trust No One'

Bones are broken, bikini tops are removed and an unlikely romance blooms on 'Survivor'

A pre-pre-credit proposal. Before we start Thursday's (Feb. 11) two-hour premiere of "Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains," I want to raise a thought: Would the competition be more fun if, instead of being divided into Tribes of "Heroes" and "Villains," 10 of each had been selected by the producers and the teams had been integrated with the contestants only knowing they were there for an All-Stars season? Then you could have seen clearly if the Hero approach or the Villain approach was superior. We could have reached a merge with all Villains! Or all Heroes! Either way, the game would have been head-to-head from the beginning. That's just my thought...

[Now, a full and no-doubt epic recap of "Heroes vs. Villains" premiere is after the break...]

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<p>&nbsp;'American Idol' Hollywood Week</p>

 'American Idol' Hollywood Week

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' - 'Hollywood Round #2'

It's the second night for Hollywood and Ellen, but would group singing bring the favorites down?

9:00 p.m. ET Last night was a pretty good "American Idol" episode, wasn't it? Some good singing, some strong instrument work and a solid debut for new judge Ellen DeGeneres. How would "American Idol" top that? How about Group Night!

[Click through for a full recap of Wednesday's (Feb. 10) "American Idol"...]

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<p>Evangeline Lilly's Kate takes center stage in the third hour of the final season of 'Lost,' entitled 'What Kate Does'</p>

Evangeline Lilly's Kate takes center stage in the third hour of the final season of 'Lost,' entitled 'What Kate Does'

Credit: ABC/Touchstone

Recap: 'Lost' 6.03 - 'What Kate Does' marks time, lays pipe

A few puzzle pieces are offered up, but not many

And, no, I don't mean "lays pipe" in the sexy fun-time way.  I mean it more in the "lots of exposition" way.

"Lost" has always had trouble following up their typically-impressive season openers.  It's just the mechanics of storytelling on television, I think, because they have all summer to figure out exactly how they plan to punch you in the face right out of the gate, and then they have to settle into the business of actually telling the story for the season, and that requires a shifting of gears.  This year is no exception, and 6.03 ends up moving a bunch of pieces around the chess board without advancing much of anything.  There are a few tidbits of note, but for the most part, this is all about getting things in order for bigger episodes ahead.

It's interesting that there is so much disagreement between "Lost" fans about what is happening so far this season.  I'm seeing a lot of speculation out there that the storyline that takes place back in Los Angeles is actually the future, after the storyline that takes place on the Island, and that they aren't alternate timelines at all, but the same timeline at two different points.

I vehemently disagree.

I don't believe for a second that the two timelines are going to remain separate, but I think they are running parallel at the moment.  What's going to happen later this year if my guess is correct is that some event is going to have to take place that pulls the two timelines into one, merging them.  Neither will be completely erased, and the events we're watching will have ramificiations in both timelines.  I don't think the "Lost" producers would be cruel enough to waste giant chunks of the running time this year with something they'll wipe out later with a simple, "But that didn't REALLY happen" sort of narrative double-back.  No way.

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<p>&nbsp;Ellen DeGeneres of 'American Idol</p>

 Ellen DeGeneres of 'American Idol

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' - 'Hollywood Round #1'

Ellen DeGeneres makes her 'Idol' debut as Hollywood Week begins

8:00 p.m. ET Welcome to the chaos of "American Idol" Hollywood Week and, most particularly, the debut of Ellen DeGeneres as permanent "American Idol" judge. 

8:01 p.m. I don't think I've ever done Hollywood Week as a live-blog, so this may be a mistake. There's much too much to process. We'll see how this goes and maybe I'll do something different tomorrow.

[Full recap of Tuesday's (Feb. 9) "American Idol" after the break...]

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<p>&nbsp;Robert Knepper of 'Heroes'</p>

 Robert Knepper of 'Heroes'

Credit: NBC

Recap: 'Heroes' - 'Brave New World'

Heroes descend from all corners of the globe to New York City, where Samuel plans to unveil himself to an unsuspecting world.

Did “Heroes” make the earth move under our feet in the season finale? Not especially, although there were a few nice moments sprinkled in here and there to remind us why we still watch the show at all. Did the climatic carnival battle disappoint? It was not a Kirby Plaza-esque disaster, but hardly a war worthy of a volume-ending episode. As for the hints of the next volume? Well, we’ll get to that at the end.

[Full recap of Monday's (Feb. 8) "Heroes" after the break...]

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<p>&nbsp;Annie Wersching of '24'</p>

 Annie Wersching of '24'

Credit: FOX

Recap: '24' Day 8 - '10 p.m. to 11 p.m'

As Jack and Vlad meet face to face, Hassan takes more extreme actions in the wake of his brother's betrayal.

Ouch. That’s all I have to say about tonight’s “24,” and not just because of that Tarantino-esque flash of gore about two-thirds of the way through the episode. No, primarily I’m in pain at the slow pace of the season so far. Political intrigue and the threat of nuclear armament having taking a back-seat to squirt gun fights between Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dumber. Sigh. Onto the “action”…

[Full recap of Monday's (Feb. 8) "24" after the break...]

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<p>&nbsp;Brandon Routh of 'Chuck'</p>

 Brandon Routh of 'Chuck'

Credit: NBC

Recap: 'Chuck' - 'Chuck vs. the Mask'

Chuck and Hannah and Sarah and Shaw spend quality time together at a museum

Dear "Chuck" fans...

We hope you enjoyed the season's first seven episodes. If you think about it, they were sort of a bonus, since the show wasn't supposed to come back at all and then it wasn't supposed to come back this soon. So we hope you won't get too offended by a little hiatus and we also hope you won't forget the show. Don't worry. We promise we'll advertise for "Chuck" occasionally during the Winter Olympics. Not as much as for "Parenthood" or the "triumphant" return of Jay Leno to "The Tonight Show," but we'll remind you that "Chuck" exists whenever there's a lull in the luging. Oh, who are we kidding? There's NEVER a lull in the luging.

And now, are you ready to CURL?!?!?

Love NBC, Your Official Home for the 2010 Winter Olympics

 

Yes, "Chuck" is about to take a couple weeks off for the pageantry and chilliness of Vancouver, but how fortuitous that the "Chuck" mini-hiatus arrived with "Chuck vs. the Mask," an episode that gave the strong impression that it was intended as a natural breathing spot within the arc of the first 13 episodes. "Chuck vs. the Mask" wasn't spectacularly cliffhanger-y, but it pushed the story to a couple emotional points that we've been building to for weeks.

[More chatter about "Chuck vs. the Mask" after the break...]

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