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“Karaoke Battle USA”
Friday 9pm, ABC
Karaoke is undeniably big business. Practically any decent bar has a karaoke night, and the good ones not only get packed, they get competitive. ABC has finally gotten in on the televised singing competition that has worked wonders for Fox’s and NBC’s ratings—because really, what are “American Idol” or “The Voice” if not glorified karaoke?—with this new series, which sets out to name the King and Queen of Karaoke by the end of its run. My favorite *NSYNC-er Joey Fatone tries the hosting shtick again, while the judging panel includes former Rolling Stone editor Joe Levy (say goodbye to whatever cred you have left, dude), 2009 National Karaoke Champion Brian Scott, and Carnie Wilson (!) from Wilson Phillips. Together they’ll attempt to separate the could-be Aretha Franklins from the wannabe Mariah Careys.
 
“Strike Back”
Friday 10pm, Cinemax
Cinemax, the premium movie channel formerly synonymous with soft-core spank-bank material, throws its hat into the dramatic original-programming ring with this action thriller. It’s actually not completely original; this is the second season of a show that originally aired in Britain, based on books by former British Special Air Service soldier Chris Ryan. Cinemax is showing the second season without bothering with the first, although it seems like a completely different cast. It follows a black-ops military team that tracks down terrorists, with many of the plot threads ripped from the headlines. The special effects and action sequences I’ve seen are actually fairly impressive.
 
“In the Flow with Affion Crockett”
Sunday 9pm, Fox
This new sketch-comedy show has been bouncing around Fox’s schedule for months now, and the fact that it’s being popped out on a Sunday night in the middle of summer is probably not a great sign. Crockett is a dancer, actor, writer and comedian who got his start on “Def Comedy Jam” way back in 1996. Since then he’s done a variety of film and TV projects, including MTV’s “Wild ’n Out” with Nick Cannon. In his first headlining gig Crockett will parody various pop-culture staples, like movie trailers, commercials, music videos and celebrities, with help from guest stars like Snoop Dogg, Russell Simmons, Chris Brown, and even JB Smoove from “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” Jamie Foxx—who knows a little something about sketch comedy from his “In Living Color” days—is executive producer.

 

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