Tube Talk: The ‘alterna-bowl’: What to watch this New Year’s Day

Some people say whatever you’re doing on New Year’s Day is what you’ll be doing all year. It’s no secret that I hate sports, so just in case that theory proves true, the last thing I’ll be doing is watching football Jan. 1.

Most years, I try to squeeze in some practical things, such as purging my file cabinets of outdated press releases, organizing closets or writing. (After all, every free-lancer wants to ensure a year full of work!)

It’s also a day I love to spend in the kitchen cooking complicated dishes. For me, a cold afternoon in a warm kitchen is a great way to avoid watching anything with “bowl” in the title. Being a Tube Talker, though, I have a TV in the kitchen—it’s just never tuned to sports.

I know, I’m not the only one who equates a day of football to reading an entire algebra textbook the day before a big exam. So here’s some non-football New Year’s Day programming you might consider.

WTTW’s Cooking Under Fire marathon runs from noon to 6 p.m. Cooking Under Fire is a reality series where celebrity chefs Ming Tsai, Michael Ruhlman and Todd English judge 12 contestants competing for a chef position at one of English’s New York restaurants.

USA has a Monk marathon of 14 back-to-back episodes hand-picked by the cast. The marathon kicks off at 5 a.m. Central. Up until 11:59 p.m. Eastern Jan. 1, viewers can go online to ( and vote for their five favorite episodes of Monk. The top 14 vote-getters will air in a second Monk marathon Jan. 14.

TVLand brings M*A*S*H to their lineup starting with a week-long Major Major M*A*S*H Marathon. New Year’s Day, you can catch Before They Were M*A*S*H Stars—episodes of other classic TV shows featuring future M*A*S*H stars in guest roles. Four back-to-back M*A*S*H episodes run from 7 to 9 p.m. Central, followed by the original M*A*S*H motion picture. Then, throughout the week, primetime hours will showcase major episodes, reunion specials and the series’ finale. The schedule might sound complicated, but it’s a safe bet it you can get a M*A*S*H fix almost any time during the week at TVLand.

If warm and sunny is what you crave, you might want to check out A&E’s CSI: Miami marathon, which runs from 7 a.m. Central until midnight.

For those of you yet to discover the wonder of Heroes, NBC is having a mini-marathon starting at 7 p.m. Central. It’s one of my favorite new shows of the season, and certainly worth a look.

SCI FI is having a 24-hour Twilight Zone New Year’s Day marathon, beginning at 5 a.m. Central. Twenty-four hours. Now that’s what I call a marathon!

Just because the rest of the world seems to be watching football doesn’t mean everyone is. These are just a sampling of what a few networks are doing to entice those of us with no interest in sports.

Whatever you watch—or don’t watch—I hope 2007 is a happy, healthy and wonderful year for you all.

From the Dec. 27 2006-Jan. 2, 2007, issue

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