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What to Watch on Friday: Just who does Vanessa Williams think she is?

Portlandia (8pm, IFC) - If you have the Indepedent Film Channel, you can spend the entire night cracking up at episodes of "Portlandia" (defies a brief description, but it's really funny) and "Onion News Network."

Who Do You Think You Are? (8pm, NBC) - Season 2 of this genealogical research show kicks off with actress Vanessa Williams tracing her ancestry. Her investigation directs her to South Carolina, where she uncovers a familial connection to the Civil War's Union Army.

Super Bowl's Greatest Commercials (9pm, CBS) - Jim Nantz and Lara Spencer host a look at the 10 best commercials to air during the past 44 Super Bowls, with viewers choosing the top spot. Also, a preview of 2011 commercials.

Fringe (9pm, Fox) - A scientist's ingestin of a blue powder causes his bones to disintegrate, leading government officials to suspect a biological attack, but the Fringe team's investigation may hinge on assistance from a former test subject of Walter's.

Barbara Walters: A Matter of Life and Death (10pm, ABC) - Just in time for tax season, Barbara Walters figures out a way to write off last year's heart surgery. Walters shows clips of famous people (David Letterman, President Bill Clinton, Regis Philbin) talking about their heart surgeries, and of course, talks about her own. Walters had aortic-valve replacement in May 2010. She also has a physician discuss how women's symptoms can differ from men's.

Real Time with Bill Maher (10pm, HBO) - Guests include Egyptian-born journalist Mona Eltahway, PBS host and museum director Neil deGrasse Tyson, director Charles Ferguson, columnist John Fund, and NY congressman Anthony Weiner.

What to Watch on Friday: Doomsday looms on 'Fringe'

UPDATED: At the last minute, The CW has bumped tonight's new episodes of "Smallville" and "Supernatural." Supernatural (8pm, CW) - Virgins mysteriously disappear, and Dean and Bobby learn that dragons are responsible for the kidnappings. Dean seeks out a weapon to slay the beasts, but he must prove himself worthy before he can claim it. Death tries to restore Sam's soul.

Fringe (9pm, Fox) - The doomsday device is assembled at Massive Dynamic, but a worried Walter asks Nina for help in understanding Peter's relationship to the weapon.

Piers Morgan Tonight (9pm, CNN) - Morgan interviews Golden Globe winner and Oscar nominee Colin Firth.

The Ricky Gervais Show (9pm, HBO) - Topics discussed tonight are animals and diseases, evolution, a domesticated housefly, films with subtitles, and the human anatomy.

Real Time with Bill Maher (10pm, HBO) - Guests are D.L. Hughley, former RNC chairman Michael Steele, Will Cain, Rep. Jack Kingston, and former Canadian prime minister Kim Campbell.

What to Watch on Friday: Series finale of "Medium"

Medium (8pm, CBS) - In the series finale, titled "Me Without You," Allison begins a new career as a lawyer and Joe lands a new job. These developments lead the couple in opposing directions and have a lasting impact on the DuBois family. Okay, first of all, I hope they jump ahead in time or that was the fastest law degree in the history of the world. Second, if they split up Allison and Joe in the finale, I'm going to be furious.

Kitchen Nightmares (8pm, Fox) - In the third season opener, Chef Gordon Ramsay visits the Spanish Pavillion in Harrison, N.J. He finds the family-owned eatery has bickering owners, undercooked food, and an outdated decor.

Fringe (9pm, Fox) - An Observer reaches out to the team to reverse a critical error, while Walter meets Roscoe Joyce (Christopher Lloyd), the keyboardist for his favorite 70s band, and discovers uncanny parallels in their lives. This is a new night for "Fringe."

Piers Morgan Tonight (9pm, CNN) - Piers Morgan wraps up his first week with George Clooney.

What to Watch on Thursday: A stop-motion "Community" Christmas

The Santa Incident (8pm, Hallmark) - In a new Hallmark movie, Santa's sleigh is shot down by Homeland Security and a nurse (Ione Skye) takes in Santa (James Cosmo) while he recovers from the fall and deals with the FBI.

Community (8pm, NBC) - Abed goes on a quest to find the real meaning of Christmas after he awakens in stop-motion animation. Jeff and Britta, worried about Abed's mental state, seek help from Professor Duncan. The whole group eventually undergo hypnosis to join Abed in his world.

The Office (9pm, NBC) - It's a Christmas miracle for Michael when his office nemesis, Toby, takes a leave of absence and his lost love Holly (Amy Ryan) returns to Scranton to fill in. Also, Jim and Dwight have a snowball fight.

Barbara Walters: Oprah, the Next Chapter (9pm, ABC) - Oprah Winfrey reviews the last 25 years of her life, both personally and professionally, in an interview taped at her home and at Harpo Studios in Chicago. Oprah also discusses her new OWN network and then Barbara makes her cry.

Fringe (9pm, Fox) - A case of a person having his heart removed sets of a sting of bizarre events.

Mentalist (10pm, CBS) - A Santa is murdered (that's a Santa, not the Santa) and the team investigates a Santa society while Jane goes undercover in an Alcoholics Anonymous group.

Also on tonight: Caroline helps Tyler prepare for his first werewolf transformation on 'Vampire Diaries' (8pm, CW), Jack's parents (Elaine Stritch, Alan Alda) visit for Christmas on '30 Rock' (8:30pm, NBC), and 'The Apprentice' (10pm, NBC) ends its dreadful season.

What to Watch on Thursday: Hilary Duff turns Abed into a "mean girl"

Vampire Diaries (8pm, CW) - Elena is abducted by a masked stranger at the masquerade ball, and Stefan and Damon learn surprising information about vampires in the distant past. Meanwhile, Jeremy helps Bonnie after she cast an exhausting spell, and Caroline tries to make life easier for Tyler now that he is werewolf.

Community (8pm, NBC) - Abed becomes a "mean girl" to the delight of Britta, Shirley, and Annie, whose encounter with a cruel classmate (Hilary Duff) leaves them reeling. Elsewhere, Jeff and Troy find a hidden trampoline, which provides the duo a spiritual enlightenment. The change in their personalities doesn't go unnoticed, and Pierce becomes determined to learn their secret.

Fringe (9pm, Fox) - A security breach in the parallel universe attracts the Fringe Division's attention after a man frees his twin brother from a quarantined amber area. Meanwhile, Secretary Bishop observes the effects of sensory deprivation on Olivia, who continues to have visions of Peter.

The Fairy Jobmother (9pm, Lifetime) - Hayley helps an unemployed pair with four children who lost their home to Hurricane Katrina.

Private Practice (10pm, ABC) - The doctors come to Charlotte's aid when she's found bloodied and bruised in a hospital hallway after she's attacked by a deranged man (Nicholas Brendon) in the ER.

What to Watch on Thursday: Tried and true lineup changes little

Big Bang Theory (8pm, CBS) - For Season 4, "Big Bang Theory" moves to a new night and new time (formerly Monday nights at 9pm) where it goes up against "Community." Yikes (for both shows). Tonight, Sheldon goes on his first date ever and it's with Amy Fowler (Mayim Bialik). Somehow, Penny finds herself accompanying them.

Community (8pm, NBC) - In the Season 2 opener, the group reconvene to study for their anthropology class, which is taught by a kooky professor (Betty White, of course). Meanwhile, Senor Chang enrolls at Greendale in hopes of joining the study group.

Bones (8pm, Fox) - Season 6 begins seven months after last season's finale when the Jeffersonian team disbanded. They are called by to Washington when a case involving a case involving the body of an unidentified young boy could cost Cam her job.

My Generation (8pm, ABC) - A contrived new series from ABC in which a film crew revisits a group of high school students in Texas who were the subjects of a documentary style reality show ten years earlier. I urge you not to waste your time.

30 Rock (8:30pm, NBC) - Season 5 has Jack interfering with Liz's blooming romance with Carol (Matt Damon) in an effort to help her finally win a man's heart, and Tracy copes with Kenneth's termination as NBC page.

$#*! My Dad Says (8:30, CBS) - This new show (pronounced "Bleep My Dad Says") is based on a popular Twitter feed chronicling the outrageous observations of one guy's dad. It's a flimsy premise, even if it does star William Shatner. Check out our review.

                           Keep reading for more premieres!

What to Watch on Thursday: Rob Lowe gets funny for new NBC gig

There are several finales on tonight, and they are mostly pretty dark and depressing. But there is some comedy to be found on NBC. On "Community," Senor Chang gets replaced when the college finds out he doesn't actually have a teaching degree. On "Parks & Recreation," Rob Lowe (left) plays an auditor who comes to Pawnee to slash the budget. And on "30 Rock," Liz needs a date to Floyd's wedding so she revisits old flames hoping for a love connection. Michael Sheen and Jon Hamm return for that.

And now, the dark stuff...

Vampire Diaries (8pm, CW) - A very deadly Founders Day celebration is the backdrop for tonight's Season 1 finale.

Supernatural (9pm, CW) - In other happy-go-lucky finale news, this show's season ends with the Apocalypse.

Fringe (9pm, Fox) - In part one of a two-part season finale, Olivia travels to the alternate universe with Walter, who is preparing for a showdown with William Bell (Leonard Nimoy).

Click below to read about impending doom on "Private Practice."

What to Watch on Thursday: More cowbell, please

Vampire Diaries (8pm, The CW) - Elena and Jeremy receive a surprise visit from an uncle, and Damon's attempt to uncover the real reason he's in town takes a nasty turn.

Saturday Night Live in the 2000s: Time and Again (9pm, NBC) -  An SNL retrospective looks at the highs and lows of the past ten years (there are plenty of both). Look for clips featuring Will Ferrell, Jimmy Fallon, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Chris Kattan, Tracy Morgan, and many others. Also, some words from frequent hosts Alec Baldwin and Christopher Walken.

Fringe (9pm, Fox) - When Olivia and the gang investigate the deaths of passengers on a commuter train, they wonder if a mysterious energy drain on board has anything to do with the powerful and enigmatic Alistair Peck (Peter Weller). 

Project Runway (10pm, Lifetime) - Tonight is part one of the two-part season finale.

What to Watch on Thursday: "Mentalist" gets a new boss

The Office (8pm, NBC) - Now I know why "Community" aired their hilarious April Fool's Day episode last week instead of tonight, on April 1: NBC needs for you to have two hours of "Office" repeats. First up, Jim & Pam's wedding, then at 9pm, Jim & Pam have a baby.

Bones (8pm, Fox) - A subway accident reveals the corpse of an author who was embroiled in a love triangle. Meanwhile, Brennan's second book becomes an instant best seller. 

Fringe (9pm, Fox) - Walter recalls his experiments in the 1980s as he tries to map out Peter's improbable biography for Olivia. Orla Brady guest stars as Peter's mother.

The Mentalist (9pm, CBS) - The team gets a new boss (Aunjanue Ellis, left, from "True Blood," "Justice," "E-Ring") in the wake of Minnelli's resignation over the Red John bloodath at CBI offices (Gregory Itzin left the show to return to his role as President Charles Logan on "24" -- great job security there, Itzin!). 

The Marriage Ref (10pm, NBC) - Doling out advice to troubled married couples tonight: Kirstie Alley, Sheryl Crow, and Jimmy Fallon.

What to Watch on Thursday: Kathy Bates buys Dunder-Miflin

Vampire Diaries (8pm, The CW) - Vampire brothers Stefan and Damon recall the events which led to their broken relationship.

The Office (9pm, NBC) - Kathy Bates (left) stars as an eccentric CEO who buys Dunder-Miflin, and Michael has a hard time adjusting to the new company's policies (it's not like he did so well with the old company's policies). I think his best bet is to continue his streak of cougar seductions and romance the CEO.


Fringe (9pm, Fox) - In the winter finale, a strange disaster leaves only one survivor in a Manhattan office building and the team races to Jacksonville, Florida, looking for answers. 

30 Rock (9:30pm, NBC) -  SNL alum Jan Hooks (right) guest stars as Jenna's mother, who shows up seeking a reality show deal from Jack. And in a scenario almost too horrific to imagine, Frank moves in with Liz. 

Archer (10pm, FX) - Malory's job is in danger after a "sensitive" videotape falls into the wrong hands, and she must rely on Archer's skills of seduction to save it.

Important Things/Sarah Silverman (10pm, Comedy Central) - The second season premiere of "Important Things with Demetri Martin"  is followed by the third season premiere of "The Sarah Silverman Program."

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