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Off the Wall: January means it's premiere season

Off the Wall is straining under series premiere overload.

REALITY PREMIERES How many unscripted shows can cable hold? "Pit Boss" (Saturday night at 10, Animal Planet) centers on Watts-raised ex-con little person Shorty Rossi, who rescues L.A. pit bulls and manages Hollywood talent. "American Pickers" (Monday at 9 p.m., History) follows two guys through abandoned barns and junkyards in search of antiques and rare collectibles. "The Buried Life" (Monday at 10 p.m., MTV) goes young with its bucket list: Cool dudes cross off their goals (camp at the Playboy Mansion!) while they also help strangers achieve their dreams. "My Life as Liz" (Monday at 10:30 p.m., MTV) is the live-action diary of a slick small-town high schooler who's not "a blonde Texan Barbie doll." An American and a Brit are "Meteorite Men" (Wednesday at 9 p.m., Science), scrounging the earth for space debris. "Food Tech" (Thursday at 9 p.m., History) tracks what we eat, from farm to factory to table, starting with that beloved pairing of cheeseburgers and fries. Video from MTV's newbies at mtv.com/ontv.

 DRAMA/COMEDY PREMIERES Big week for the networks, trying to get in gear before the February sweeps. "Human Target" (Sunday at 8 p.m., then Wednesday at 9 p.m., Fox/5) has Mark Valley saving would-be murder victims by becoming his show's title. Jack Bauer is back, and in NYC, in Season 8 of "24" (Sunday 9-11 p.m., Monday 8-10 p.m., Fox/5). A foster teen who discovers her real-life parents (Shiri Appleby, Kristoffer Polaha) finds them on two divergent paths in "Life Unexpected" (Monday at 9 p.m., CW/11). Think "Grey's Anatomy" among hot young lawyers, and you've got "The Deep End" (Thursday at 8 p.m., ABC/7). Cable has its own fresh series premiering. Tatyana Ali stars in the sitcom blitz of "Love That Girl" (Tuesday-Thursday at 9 and 9:30 p.m., TV One). Eric Stoltz and Esai Morales spar in the near-future high-tech-society saga "Caprica" (Friday 9-11 p.m., Syfy). And the graphic-novelesque gladiator drama "Spartacus: Blood and Sand" (Friday at 10 p.m., Starz) features Lucy Lawless and John Hannah alongside hunky title stud Andy Whitfield. Watch the "Caprica" pilot online now at syfy.com/caprica, and catch "Spartacus" videos at starz.com/spartacus.

AWARDS ALERT Make that, Ricky Gervais alert! The quick-witted comic and "Office" creator promises to misbehave as host of the "67th Golden Globe Awards" (Sunday 8-11 p.m., NBC/4). Ask Ricky a question, see nominee/presenter lists at nbc.com/golden-globes.

ALIENS ON EARTH! Roy Thinnes sounds the alarm about human-looking space beings on "The Invaders" (Monday 8 a.m.-7 p.m., Syfy), the smart 1967 ABC series that's also out on DVD for those intrigued by Monday's marathon. Beware of people with weird little fingers! Fan site at theinvaders.co.uk.

NOT JUST 'SOPRANOS' Italian images both on-screen and behind the camera are explored in "Beyond Wise Guys" (Monday at 8 p.m. on Documentary Channel, 9 p.m. on WNYE/25). John Turturro narrates, with comments from Martin Scorsese, Joe Pesci, Stanley Tucci, Susan Sarandon, even "Sopranos" creator David Chase. More at documentary channel.com.

ELVIS AND THE BOSS Bruce Springsteen both chats and rocks in the two-part season finale of "Spectacle: Elvis Costello With . . . " (Wednesday and Jan. 27 at 10 p.m., Sundance). Their talks touch on songwriting, Catholicism and more. Previous episode clips (Lyle Lovett, Sheryl Crow, Bono) at sundancechannel.com/spectacle.

 

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