Bob on the BoxBob Eveleigh
Bob Eveleigh: Survivor Finale leads off week's television highlights.
For dyed-in-the-wool reality show devotees, there is only one channel to be tuned to tonight - SABC3 (133) at 8pm – for the final episode in the current Survivor series, sub-titled Heroes vs Villains, followed immediately by the customary "Reunion" programme.
That means that, for almost two hours from 8 to 9.59pm, viewers who detest this type of small screen fare and particularly do not enjoy watching ordinary folk knifing each other in the back (metaphorically speaking, of course) for the umpteenth time, for a big money prize, should seek their entertainment elsewhere.
And there is another new attraction on another channel crossing that timeslot.
But then again, you have to be a fan of TV cookery shows...
On 8.30pm, BBC Lifestyle (Channel 180), for half an hour, offers Baking Mad with Eric Lanlard.
44-year-old Eric Lanlard is an expert French patissier and celebrity chef who found his particular culinary talents first being appreciated as a chef in the French Navy.
After moving to Britain in 1989, however, by 2000 he had discovered his new millennium niche as a supplier of special cakes and confectionery to weddings and birthday parties for members of the high society set, such as Madonna, then wed to director Guy Ritchie, David and Victoria Beckham, topped by his amazing creation for the celebration of the Queen Mother's 101st birthday on August 4, 2001, which was a cake topped by two corgis earing tiaras!
His shop, Cake Boy, opened in London's Battersea district in 2005 and the BBC Channel 4 booked him for the series Glamour Puds, which has now been followed by Baking Mad with Eric Lanlard, which offers more of the same kind of kitchen expertise, balanced with some simpler ideas to improve enjoyment of home and outside parties and other celebratory occasions for those with a sweet tooth.
The third fresh offering tonight begins on Zone Reality (Channel 125) at 10pm just as Survivor concludes.
This is The FBI Files, originally a Discovery Channel production dating from 1998, which deals with actual Federal Bureau of Investigation cases using dramatic new-enactments, interviews with agents and the forensic scientists who worked with them.
The home audience never seems to tire of watching FBI investigators at work, as witness the past long-running fictional drama success of The FBI (11 seasons starring Efrem Zimbalist Junior) and the rather shorter single-season run of Today's FBI (which brought Mike Connors back to TV stardom after playing Mannix).
Essentially, this one-hour documentary series, hosted by a genuine FBI personality in James Kallstrom, the former head of the agency's New York City office, focuses on murders, bank robberies, kidnappings etc., and aired some 120 episodes over the period from 2000 to 2006 before Discovery cancelled it.
No details have been given on how many Zone Reality will screen but it will run, to begin with, in this 10pm slot nightly Monday to Friday throughout the rest of August.
Moving to Tuesday, top-rated South African comedian Barry Hilton, now a long-time Port Elizabeth resident, can be seen in Barry Hilton: Live at Parker's on Comedy Central (Channel 125) at 8.55pm.
Hilton is much more of an observation comedian than a pure gag-teller but is an enormously popular performer in his chosen field.
For those not into comedy in this country, Parker's is one of the homes of laugh-raising in Johannesburg, situated at Montecasino and is a comedy club very successfully run by another familiar veteran funnyman, Joe Parker, also once a Friendly City resident.
The programme will run for 25 minutes.
Then, at 9.30pm, M-Net Movies 2 (Channel 104) shows the Stephen King mini-series, Bag of Bones, in its 4-hour entirety, without breaking it into episodes.
Bag of Bones stars the always acceptable Pierce Brosnan in the leading role of a highly successful novelist named Mike Noonan, who is finding it very difficult to get over the death of his pregnant wife, played by Annabeth Gish.
Suffering from writer's block and constant nightmares, he goes back to the couple's former summer home in Maine, where he quickly becomes friends with a young widow and her daughter (Melissa George and Caitlin Carmichael).
Learning that the woman is in a fierce custody battle with her father-in-law (William Schallert, one of those actors whose name may not ring bells with viewers but whose face will be instantly recognisable), Mike becomes involved in her problem.
His mind busy once more, his writing ability quickly returns, but the nightmares continue. He is also regularly visited by the spirit of his wife and, for some reason, that of a 1930 blues singer, which lead him some previously unsurfaced truths about himself - and the summer home community...
Also featured in the principal cast are such familiar TV names as Jason Priestley, from the original Beverly Hills 90210 cast, and Matt Frewer, forever famous as Max Headroom and as one of the small screen's later Sherlock Holmes portrayers in a series of made-for-TV revivals of such thrillers as The Hound of the Baskervilles.
The new - and comeback - fare focus shifts to Friday when M-Net (Channel 101) has placed a recent US sitcom, Best Friends Forever, in the slot vacated by Mike and Molly, at 6pm.
This is a series co-created by Lennon Parham (that's a young woman) and Jessica St Clair, who also co-star in the show, rather like Whitney Cummings does with Whitney.
St Clair plays - yes, you guessed it, a woman named Jessica) who, after her TV husband files for divorce, flies across America to seek comfort and re-assurance by moving in with her best friend - yes, you guessed it again - named Lennon.
But Lennon's boyfriend, Joe, played by Luka Jones, from Happy Endings, has recently also moved in with her and doesn't really take kindly to Jessica's arrival.
The creators also function as executive producers along with another familiar past name in series TV Fred Savage (remember him from the wonderful The Wonder Years?), who also directed all six episodes.
The show was originally booked by the NBC network as a mid-season replacement in April last year but, unlike Whitney, which has run very successfully and can now be seen on M-Net following Best Friends Forever at 6.3pm on Fridays, it was cancelled after only the six half hours to be shown by M-Net.
Friday brings another of BBC-TV's genuine crime gems back to BBC Entertainment (Channel 120) when the 2009 (seventh) season of New Tricks begins, in place of Inspector George Gently, in the prime 8.05pm timeslot.
For the uninitiated, who should, in my humble opinion, become initiated during this run, this cop show is really, really good from all of the casting, acting, writing, production and pure entertainment points of view.
It began as a one-off tester on the BBC in March 2003 but was quickly snapped up as a running series the following year, since when 10 episodes have been produced annually, without losing any impact.
The show follows the cases investigated by London's Metropolitan Police Service's Unsolved Crime and Open Case Squad (UCOS), made up of three veteran retiree officers played by Alun Armstrong, James Bolan and Dennis Waterman, commanded by the tough and resourceful, younger, Detective Superintendent Sandra Pullman, played by Amanda Redman.
The threesome work in different ways with different strengths but make an outstanding (if often unorthodox and sometimes seemingly out-dated in their way of working) team, which does not always endear them to their immediate and even more senior bosses. Since their success proves that "you can't teach an old dog new tricks".
Since New Tricks only runs for an hour, while Gently's cases ran for double that duration, the show will be followed by a repeat of Luther, which is a crime series in altogether far more modern vein.
Finally, on Saturday at 2pm on SABC3, there will be a two-hour live broadcast of the 2012 Miss World Pageant from China where the annual wing-ding will be staged this year.
Presented by Mylene Klass, late of the British pop group Hear'Say, young women from 116 nations will vie for the title and big prizes, with entrants from South Sudan, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea competing for the first time.
South Africa will be represented by Miss SA runner-up Remona Moodley, with the current domestic title-holder, Melinda Bam, having elected to contest the Miss Universe title later this year.
Survivor: Heroes and Villains: SABC3 (133): Sunday at 1pm.
Baking Mad: BBC Liftstyle (180): Tomorrow at 12.07am and 3pm, Friday at 9.30pm. Saturday at 10.10am.
Bag of Bones: M-Net Movies 2 (104): Saturday at 11.10pm
Barry Hilton Live at Parker's: Comedy Central (125): Saturday at 3.30am
The FBI Files: Zone Reality (125): Tomorrow at 10pm.
Best Friends Forever: M-Net (101): No repeats this week.
New Tricks: BBC Entertainment (120): Saturday at 1.30am.
Miss World Pageant: SABC3 (133): No repeat.