The couch trip
Al Franken declined most invitations to appear on national talk shows during his first term of office, an attempt to prove he was more dedicated to learning the ropes in the U.S. Senate than polishing his TV image. His successor, Sen. Tina Smith, D-Minn., appears to be taking the opposite route. That makes sense, since as Minnesota lieutenant governor she was virtually unknown outside of the state until Franken’s resignation thrust her into the spotlight. She’ll do her best to get a word in edgewise when she joins the panel on “The View.”
10 a.m. Friday, KSTP, Ch. 5
Somebody’s watching me
Even recess isn’t a refuge for the lab rats in “The Secret Life of Kids,” a new series in which hidden cameras at a posh preschool reveal just how much 5-year-olds behave like their parents when they think no one is looking. It’s an amusing but not very revealing social experiment.
8 p.m. Friday, USA
“Genius Junior” deserves a gold star for putting smart kids in the forefront in this new game show hosted by Neil Patrick Harris. Unfortunately, most of the games are engineered in such a way that it’s impossible for pinheads like you and me to play at home. Only the final round of brain teasers lets you in on the action.
8 p.m. Sunday, KARE, Ch. 11
Alan Cumming may be “Cabaret’s” most magnetic emcee, but no amount of fancy footwork can save his new drama, “Instinct.” He plays a psychology professor who reluctantly revisits his days as a CIA operative to help a New York police officer (Bojana Novakovic) solve crimes. Neither would make the cover of Sleuth Magazine (it takes her way too long to figure out he’s gay) and even casual viewers of CBS procedurals will spot the killer in the premiere well before these junior detectives do.
7 p.m. Sunday, WCCO, Ch. 4