The televisionist, Jan. 29 

SKANK BUS: With Bret Michaels.
  • SKANK BUS: With Bret Michaels.


8 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 1


Do young women even have parents anymore? How about grandmothers, maiden aunts, prudish uncles? We're thinking skanks must be stamped out these days in a factory somewhere. Because if the women on VH-1's “Rock of Love” had relatives at home to embarrass, their mothers would be at the top of the tallest structure in their respective communities with police shrinks desperately trying to talk them down off the ledge. As in seasons one and two of the series, Bret Michaels — the leathery, bandana-clad front man of 80's band Poison — is looking for love. Like anyone yearning for a soul mate, he has gathered about him a massive camera crew and 20 chicks who look like Anna Nicole Smith and the Herpes Simplex virus had a baby. Though these women could surely find someone to date/infect/fleece at home, Michaels has them compete for the right to go out on group outings with him, often while wearing clothes so revealing that VH-1 literally has to employ the Black Bar of Shame to conceal their naughty bits. Those who don't measure up are sent packing. The wrinkle this year — other than those on Bret's neck-wattle — is that the girls are on tour with him, brunettes on an enormous blue bus, blondes on a pink bus. High art it ain't, but it's surely a guilty pleasure.



9 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 4

The Travel Channel

Sure, while you're savoring the first few bites of that superb steak, delectable burger or perfect cheesecake, you might think to yourself: “Man, I could eat 10 pounds of this!” Be careful what you wish for. Adventure looms for those who don't know when to quit. Case in point: Adam Rickman, host of the Travel Channel's “Man vs. Food.” The nugget of the show is simple. Rickman goes around from city to city, eating the biggest, hottest, most Maalox-Moment-inducing food he can find. Sombrero-sized burgers and wagon-wheel pizzas are all in a day's work for the man behind “Man vs. Food,” but the most entertaining episodes are the ones when Rickman takes on the heat – a plate of chicken wings so hot you have to wear a welder's mask to look directly at them, for example. The show's budget for antacids alone must be bigger than the gross domestic product of Brazil. Up this week: Rickman heads to New Orleans, where he faces down the Acme Oyster House 15-Dozen Oyster Challenge. Yes, you read that right. Fifteen. Dozen. Oysters. All we can say is: gulp.  



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