Jorge Garcia and Sarah Jones are pictured in the show...

Jorge Garcia and Sarah Jones are pictured in the show "Alcatraz," the chilling new thriller centered on America's most infamous prison and the mysterious return of its most notorious criminals will debut Monday, Jan 16, 2012 on FOX. Credit: FOX/

What am I looking forward to in 2012, besides the world not coming to an end? Well, assuming we navigate that, the answer would be pretty much everything. Television, from this early vantage point, looks exciting. There are the reliable news-generating personality moves (what will Oprah do with OWN? Will Regis Philbin join, perhaps? Kidding.) and those haunting questions that just won't go away. (Will NBC get a show that will actually become must-see? Will "Glee" find its mojo once more?)

So here we stand, together on the precipice of a new year, armed with our channel changers. Here's a tiny fraction of what I'll clicking to, in chronological order:

'Oprah's Next Chapter' and Oprah's next chapter (Sunday)

The new OWN show -- and most important OWN launch to date -- begins bright and early in the new year. Alas, this isn't quite a talk show (maybe that will return someday, too) but an interview show. Winfrey travels to the homes of the fabulously famous -- Steven Tyler is first up -- though none still quite as famous as she.

'Celebrity Wife Swap' (Monday) and 'Celebrity Apprentice' (Feb. 12)

I jest not. Both are stuffed with Long Island celebrities this year. (No one named Lohan. Phew.) I have to pay attention.

'Jersey Shore' (Thursday)

Back to the shore, as we (and MTV) anxiously await the behavior of that restless jumping shark. Will it vault over our heavily tanned, oiled and inebriated cast?

Oh heck, all of January

Really, the whole bloody month. Everywhere you turn there'll be something new/interesting/unique: "Downton Abbey" (next Sunday, PBS), "The Firm" (next Sunday, NBC), "Bones" spinoff, "The Finder" (Jan. 12, Fox), "Justified" (Jan. 17, FX), "Archer" and "Unsupervised" (Jan. 19, FX) and "American Idol" (Jan. 18, Fox).

The new new CBS morning show, with the old name (Jan. 9)

"CBS This Morning" features Charlie Rose and Gayle King as the odd-couple anchors; Erica Hill, too.

'Are You There, Chelsea?' (Jan. 11)

Did you know Chelsea Handler's one of the most Googled personalities? Did you know her E! late-night show "Chelsea Lately" is hotter than any of the late-night guy shows? This sitcom should be on NBC for a while. It's based on Handler's bestseller, "Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea." Laura Prepon ("That '70s Show") plays Chelsea; the real Handler has a recurring role as her straight-arrow sister.

'30 Rock' (Jan. 12)

Presented with a fascinating dilemma -- the first of its kind in prime-time history -- the show has to figure out what to do with Kim Jong-il (Margaret Cho), a recurring character based on a deceased one. This is (likely) Alec Baldwin's last season, and maybe the last season for "Rock" too.

'Alcatraz' (Jan. 16)

"Lost's" Jorge Garcia is back on another island. Mystical, strange, mysterious and very intriguing new Fox show.

Kiefer Sutherland's 'Touch' (Jan. 25)

The Fox show previews late January, but the official launch is mid-March. Sutherland plays dad to a son who can read the future -- or, picture, if you will, something as diametrically opposed to "24" as you possibly can.

Anything David Milch does

Milch's "Luck" (about horse racing and the quirky denizens that are attracted to the sport) previewed on HBO in December (I liked it), but the official launch is Jan. 29. Milch is also adapting William Faulkner for HBO. The first project could arrive later this year.

'Smash' (Feb. 6)

NBC's musical based on a fictional Broadway show about Marilyn Monroe features a cast of many, including Uma Thurman and season 5 "American Idol" runner-up Katharine McPhee. I'm in.

'Game of Thrones' (April)

Second season arrives in April. Can't wait. Really. Can't. Wait.

'Mad Men' (March)

Back finally for the fifth season in March. Will we still care? Duh!

'GCB' (March 4)

First this ABC drama was titled "Good Christian Bitches," then "Good Christian Belles."Leslie Bibb ("Popular") stars as a divorcee and former high-school queen who return home to Dallas.

'Anger Management' (summer)

Oh yes -- the lead in this FX show is noteworthy. His name is Charlie Sheen.

The September talk show bonanza

Katie Couric! Jeff Probst! Steve Harvey! Trisha Goddard! Umm, Trisha who? (A Brit talk show host.) Wouldn't it be amusing if she ultimately takes Ophrah's talk throne?

Election coverage

A yearlong extravaganza culminating in a presidential election. This can be the most colorful show on TV -- though not quite as colorful without Donald Trump hosting a debate.

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