“The X Factor”
Wednesday-Thursday 8pm, Fox
Simon Cowell exports his other hugely successful televised talent show to America, and it’s already courting controversy before the first episode airs. British pop-star Cheryl Cole was initially on the judging panel, but was booted after early auditions and replaced by Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger, who was initially hired as one of the co-hosts. The rest of the judging panel is made up of Cowell, his “American Idol” compadre Paula Abdul (I’m just glad she’s getting work again; I worry about her), and record producer L.A. Reid, who apparently out-Simons Simon on the nasty front. The show differs from “Idol” by requiring contestants to audition in front of the judges and a live audience. The winner of the show receives a $5 million recording contract, the biggest prize in reality-show history.
Thursday 8pm, ABC
I have a well-documented weakness for pretty women who can kick my ass (see: Vampire Slayer, Buffy the; Woman, Wonder). I enjoy reruns of the original “Charlie’s Angels” series, and am not ashamed to admit that I loved the two incredibly stupid, giggly and jiggly Charlie’s Angels movies. But this new take concerns me. Drew Barrymore, who produced the film versions, is also involved this time around, but so are the guys behind “Smallville.” From the clips I’ve seen, none of these new Angels seem to possess the spark, the glamour, or the ball-busting attitude that defined any of their memorable predecessors. The closest we come is Minka Kelly (“Friday Night Lights”), who plays a street racer who joins the unit after the death of another Angel, her childhood friend.
Thursday 10pm, NBC
Helen Mirren is a tough act to follow. So when NBC announced that it was reimaging her critically acclaimed British cop show “Prime Suspect” (under the guidance of Peter Berg, “Friday Night Lights”) a lot of people wondered who would end up in the lead role of a tough, complicated female detective trying to solve crimes while dealing with an unreceptive male police force. And surprisingly, Maria Bello is a perfect casting choice. Bello has been on the radar since her one-season stint on “E.R.” back in the ’90s. Since then she’s gone on to a decent movie career (Coyote Ugly, A History of Violence), but she hasn’t gotten anything as juicy as this role promises to be.—Eric Rezsnyak