"Cheer Perfection"

 "Cheer Perfection"

Credit: TLC

'Toddlers & Tiaras' to return plus a peek at the season finale

'Cheer Perfection' also picks up an order for 8 more episodes

TLC has renewed "Toddlers & Tiaras" for a sixth season as well as ordered an additional eight, one-hour episodes of "Cheer Perfection." Both series are slated to return summer 2013.

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Charles Esten in "Nashville"

 "Nashville"

Credit: ABC

Interview: Charles Esten of "Nashville" says why he's fighting for Deacon's sobriety

The former improv star says acting and singing aren't that different

As Deacon Claybourne on "Nashville," Charles Esten plays a talented musician with a troubled past, a conflicted relationship with both female stars of the show (Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere) and a history of addiction. In real life, Esten is also a singer/songwriter, but fortunately he doesn't share Deacon's angst. I spoke to the actor at this winter's TCAs, and found the former "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" improv artist and onetime Buddy Holly (for the London production of  "Buddy") to be country-cool and thrilled to be putting his real-life songwriting skills to use. 

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"Top Chef"

 "Top Chef"

Credit: Bravo

'Top Chef' will cook up season 11 and kicks off nationwide try-outs

The popular Bravo show wants you... if you can really cook

Foodies, rejoice! Bravo has announced that "Top Chef" will be returning for an eleventh season. Open calls for chefs interested in competing in the high-stakes culinary competition series will be held in cities across the country starting on February 11th. Additional information and downloadable applications can be found at www.bravotv.com/casting. 

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"The Bachelor"

 "The Bachelor"

Credit: ABC

'The Bachelor' recap: It's part two of Tierra's power play for Sean

The second half of Monday's crazy-thon brings out the medics again

I'm not quite sure why this has to be a two-night, very special event, but here we are again with "The Bachelor." I'm trying to sort out what could possibly justify a two-part episode. Could it be that ABC just shoved two episodes of this series into one week and tried to sugar coat it as "very special"?  Of course not! So maybe the other girls actually eat Tierra in a frenzy, driven to cannibalistic insanity by this overly dramatic, man-hogging manipulator. Hey, these girls are getting angry, so I can't rule it out.

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"The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills"

 "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills"

Credit: Bravo

'The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills' recap: 'Kim Nose Best'

The ladies work the pole in Vegas while another gets her nose fixed

You know how last week "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" didn't have even a smidgen of fighting, and it was kind of like watching Wonder Woman without her magic lasso or John Travolta without his hairpiece? Well, never fear. Everything's back to normal, which means the women are screaming hysterically at one another, not everyone's making sense, and a very expensive dinner is completely ruined in the process. Yay.

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"The Bachelor"

 "The Bachelor"

Credit: ABC

'The Bachelor' recap: It's time for a relay race as the ladies fight for Sean

Tierra lets her freak flag fly yet again

Oh, my. This episode is SO crazy! How crazy? The craziness could not be contained in just one night! Too much crazy! Thus, we'll see part two of the craziness tomorrow! Crazy, crazy, crazy! Oh, and it seems someone gets injured. Again. I'm beginning to feel as if "The Bachelor" is a little too hung up on driving ratings by telling us someone went to the hospital or her lips turned blue or Sean got worried about whether or not they would survive the week. I mean, from here it's a pretty short step to trying to get someone injured with uneven bungee cords or paintball guns loaded with real ammunition "by accident" or a running of the bulls in Pamplona while wearing ankle weights and blindfolds. 

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"Downton Abbey"

 "Downton Abbey"

Credit: PBS

'Downton Abbey' recap: Season 3, Episode 5

The family struggles to return to normal after a painful loss

As you might expect after last week's episode (and if you haven't watched last week's episode, come on, just catch up already; you're killing me here), all is not swell at Downton Abbey and likely won't be for quite a while. Though life has returned to some semblance of normalcy at the great estate, things have changed -- and are going to keep changing. If there's any theme this season, it's that as much as Robert (and, to the extent that he represents old guard money) wants to hold on to the past, change has come to Downton and there's nothing anyone can do to stop it. 

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James Purefoy in "The Following"

 James Purefoy in "The Following"

Credit: Fox

HitFix Interview: 'The Following' villain James Purefoy talks guns and bogey monsters

Star admits his 'character could be dead by the end of the year'

As Joe Carroll, James Purefoy plays the ultimate control freak on the FOX show "The Following" (Mon. 9:00 p.m.). Carroll is a charming professor-turned-serial killer with a knack for getting other, seemingly normal people to do his bidding -- whether that's living undercover for years, killing themselves or offing someone else. I spoke to Purefoy at TCAs this winter and found that the English actor, who was previously best known for playing Marc Antony on the HBO series "Rome," may not have Carroll's lethal abilities, but he had lots of opinions about almost every topic from Newtown to anorexia to leash laws.  

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"The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills"

 "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills"

Credit: Bravo

Reality TV Roundup: The latest on 'American Idol,' 'Top Chef' and more

It's been a busy week, so get all your reality news here, now

Welcome to Reality TV Roundup -- a quick look at some of the reality TV-centric stories that have recently popped up across the fine, old Interwebs. Click away, my couch potato friends. But before you do...

SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! One more time: SPOILER ALERT. If you watch any competition shows, the latest elimination for each show is probably revealed in the text below. The hope is that, if you missed this week's program and would rather clear out your DVR than watch the episode, you can get a quick hit here. But don't come crying to me if you find out something you didn't want to know. You've been warned. Also note: lots of non-competition reality info lurks below, too. 

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"Project Runway"

 "Project Runway"

Credit: Lifetime

'Project Runway' recap: 'Spin Out'

The designers must make ping pong uniforms for Susan Sarandon

As Cindy says, "The joy of teams is over. The thrill is gone." Was there ever a thrill? What we have are two teams -- one of which works well together and one of which is a total mess -- and the fact that the show is determined to stick with this structure is making this feel a little like watching "Survivor" during a season in which one team is whittled down to nothing while the other takes every challenge and gets food and fire to boot. I don't know about you, but I don't watch "Project Runway" to see muddy groupthink and mediocre design, and I certainly don't watch it to see echoes of other reality TV shows. I want to see pretty dresses and cool pants and funky jackets. Two weeks in, I am starting to feel deprived. 

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