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What to watch on TV this summer

By Lisa Respers France, CNN
"Toddlers and Tiaras" is just one of the series offering guilty-pleasure viewing during the summer.
"Toddlers and Tiaras" is just one of the series offering guilty-pleasure viewing during the summer.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Summer TV used to be reruns and leftover episodes of canceled shows
  • After the success of "Survivor," networks realized they could have summer hits
  • A few new shows are debuting during the summer and others are returning
RELATED TOPICS

(CNN) -- There was a time when summer television was a wasteland of re-runs and remaining episodes of canceled shows that networks wanted to burn off.

That was before what some have dubbed "The Summer of 'Survivor.' "

It has been a decade since CBS found ratings success with the competition reality series. Now networks are filling the dog-day slots with some returning shows and some new ones.

Here are just a few of the shows that get their start after the traditional TV season that folks are buzzing about:

"The Bachelorette" -- May 24

It looks like Ali Fedotowsky had to quit her job at Facebook after all.

Millions tuned in when she struggled with the decision to follow the hunk or follow the paycheck as she vied for Jake Pavelka's heart last season on "The Bachelor: On the Wings of Love."

Fedotowsky opted for the gig, a decision she later regretted, so it's nice to see her get a do over. Especially given the collective "EWWWWWW" so many fans uttered after Pavelka picked Vienna Girardi.

Bring on the roses!

"So You Think You Can Dance" -- May 27

Season seven of the hit show doesn't premiere in its time slot until June 10, but it returns with its audition show starting in May.

Word is the show will be a little more like "Dancing with the Stars" in that it will pair a professional dancer with a new up and comer. Fans also will have a little less zaniness to deal with as the "SYTYCD" version of judge Paula Abdul, Mary Murphy, will switch seats with occasional judge Mia Michaels.

Hmmm, musical chairs and dancing? We like it.

"Mall Cops: Mall of America" -- May 27

Building a show around people who patrol your favorite retail stores may sound crazy, but TLC might just be on to something.

The show will reportedly chronicle the daily lives of the mall cops at one of America's largest malls. According to Variety, a pilot of the show that aired last fall drew 1.2 million viewers.

That's a lot of people who apparently care what goes down outside "The Gap."

"America's Got Talent" -- June 2

Missing "American Idol"? Yeah, we won't be either given how boring season nine has been.

But if you absolutely need to get your fix of watching aspiring entertainers take to the stage, "America's Got Talent" is there for you.

Not to mention it will be hosted by Howie Mandel, who is usually pretty entertaining.

"Toddlers and Tiaras" -- June 2

This show is the TV equivalent of the first Vanilla Ice album -- somebody's buying it, but no one wants to be caught dead admitting it!

The fake hair, the spray tans, the makeup, the tantrums. This glimpse into the lives of tiny beauty pageant contestants -- and their often overbearing mamas -- just feels so wrong that it's right.

Totally a guilty pleasure.

"True Blood" -- June 13

For fans of this show, it's bloody well time it returns to the air.

There's been tons of buzz about the series and especially about reports that actor Michael Steger, who plays Navid on 90210, will appear as a gay prostitute. It also seems that there will be more werewolf action this season.

Aww, Sookie, Sookie now. This season looks like it's going to be amazing.

"Hot in Cleveland" -- June 16

TVLand is launching a new scripted series and we just have two words for you: Betty White.

Enough said.

"Futurama" -- June 24

We can already hear the fan boys and fan girls hyperventilating.

Comedy Central is giving new life to the popular animated sci-fi sitcom. Formerly on Fox, the show, which follows the adventures of a pizza boy who is defrosted 1,000 years later and befriends a robot and a one-eyed girl, hasn't aired original episodes since 2003.

The future looks bright.

"Ghost Hunters International" -- July 14

Paranormal activity continues its round-the-world spin-off when "Ghost Hunters International" returns for a new season.

Season three promises more supernatural shenanigans across the globe that are sure to thrill, and spook, fans.

 
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