Chuck Barney
Contra Costa Times

Donít miss:

The 84th Annual Academy Awards ó Itís Billy Crystal to the rescue. The genial comedian returns to host the Oscar telecast, stepping in for Eddie Murphy, who flaked out back in November. It will be Crystalís ninth time as emcee (second only to Bob Hopeís 19), but his first in nearly a decade. So expect a return of his popular opening monologue where he inserts himself into scenes of the nominated movies. As for the films themselves, itís shaping up to be a big night for The Artist, a delightful production that proved you donít have to talk a lot to make a good impression. Now, if only the winners would keep that in mind when they make their acceptance speeches. 8:30 p.m. Sunday, ABC.

Other bets

Sunday: On Cupcake Wars, the bakers whip up scary treats for the Screamfest horror film festival in Los Angeles, which confounds us because the only scary thing about cupcakes is the calorie count. 8 p.m., Food Network.

Sunday: The tension between Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Shane (Jon Bernthal) continues to escalate on The Walking Dead. Meanwhile, the show continues to explore new and icky ways to kill off zombies. 9 p.m., AMC.

Monday: On The Bachelor, an eerie surprise awaits Ben and his three remaining women when they get to Switzerland: a rejected contestant who demands to know why he shunned her. 8 p.m., ABC.

Monday: The captivating backstage drama, Smash, continues with a guest appearance by Nick Jonas. He plays a hot, wealthy young star who Eileen (Anjelica Huston) hopes will pump some money into her Marilyn Monroe musical. 10 p.m., NBC.

Tuesday: The Amish: American Experience is a compelling installment of the documentary series that offers unprecedented access to the insular religious community. Members discuss their lifestyles, their faith and culture while being heard, but not seen because the Amish avoid being photographed. 8 p.m., PBS. Read Rich Heldenfelsí review in Sundayís Channels.

Tuesday: Weíre bummed out. Itís only the end of February and Parenthood is done. In the third season finale of this fantastic family drama, Julia and Joel (Erika Christensen, Sam Jaeger) try to recover from the stress of adoption, and Sarah makes a big decision about her future. 10 p.m., NBC.

Wednesday: When a reality show grows old, it gets desperate for new angles. Hence, Americaís Next Top Model: The British Invasion. It brings former contestants from across the pond into the competition, alongside hopefuls from the U.S. 9 p.m., the CW.

Wednesday: Psych is back with new episodes as Shawn and Gus (James Roday, Dule Hill) are reunited with Canadian felon Pierre Despereaux (Cary Elwes). Their mission? Recover a mythical dagger rumored to be the key to unlocking a dead billionaireís treasure. 10 p.m., USA.

Thursday: Will Awake arouse audiences or put them to sleep? Itís a surreal, complex new drama in which a detective (Jason Isaacs) awakens from a family car crash to find himself experiencing parallel lives: In one, his wife survived the wreck, but his son died. In the other, sheís alive, but the boy is dead. 10 p.m., NBC.

Friday: The nutty nuptials continue on Four Weddings, where a Chicago police officer has an offbeat idea for memorable wedding favors: edible chocolate handcuffs. 10 p.m., TLC.

Saturday: In the new reality series QíViva! The Chosen, Jennifer Lopez, Mark Anthony and concert director Jamie King launch an international search to find and showcase the best Latin singers, dancers and musicians. Itís an English-language version of a show that recently debuted on Univision. 8 p.m., Fox.