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THE BACHELOR — “Episode 2301” — What does a pageant star who calls herself the “hot-mess express,” a confident Nigerian beauty with a loud-and-proud personality,; a deceptively bubbly spitfire who is hiding a dark family secret, a California beach blonde who has a secret that ironically may make her the Bachelor’s perfect match, and a lovable phlebotomist all have in common? They’re all on the hunt for love with Colton Underwood when the 23rd edition of ABC’s hit romance reality series “The Bachelor” premieres with a live, three-hour special on MONDAY, JAN. 7 (8:00-11:00 p.m. EST), on The ABC Television Network. (ABC/Rick Rowell) ERIN, COLTON UNDERWOOD

What’s in a name? It’s hard for me to read about somebody called “Colton Underwood” and not think he’s a character in a romance novel. Or the name a movie studio mogul might have given a handsome young star in 1954 to disguise the fact that he was born Delbert Schlamansky.

Apparently, Colton Underwood was born Colton Underwood and went on to football stardom at Illinois State and was briefly with three NFL teams.

All of this provides mere prologue for Colton’s real stardom, his appearance on the 14th season of “The Bachelorette.” There, he showed off his good looks and his fondness for dogs. Gosh, how unusual! He also professed his genuine affection dare we call it love? for “Bachelorette” Becca Kufrin, only to be rejected and left crestfallen as he was exiled from the ersatz garden of Eden and forced look for love elsewhere.

As serious students of this franchise well know, Underwood later appeared on “The Bachelorette: The Men Tell All” reunion and discussed a delicate subject close to his heart. It seems that after 26 years that included life in high school, college football stardom, the NFL and the rigors of reality television, he was still a virgin, as chaste as freshly fallen snow, unsullied and unhurried, holding out resolutely for the right one at the right time. With or without cameras rolling.

Colton booked a return ticket to romantic voyeurism and a rematch with Ms. Kufrin when he appeared last summer on “Bachelor in Paradise.”

This brings us to season 23 of “The Bachelor” (7 p.m., ABC, TV-PG), where Underwood reigns as overlord, the one who will get to choose among a bevy of lovelies, under the firm but fair guidance of eternal “Bachelor” host Chris Harrison.

Will he find true love? Or, like the movie studio he-men of yore, go on living the life of a “professional bachelor” without ever finding the right girl?

  • The “Independent Lens” documentary “My Country No More” (9 p.m., PBS, TV-PG) follows the North Dakota oil boom and precipitous bust. The film concentrates on the town of Trenton, where a few farmers and the congregation of a small church hold out against the influx of an economic onslaught and face the wrath of their neighbors and town leaders, who criticize them for standing in the way of prosperity and progress. We also meet the workers who converge on Trenton for the opportunity (and wages) of a lifetime. Among them, a Native American who is a descendant of Geronimo.
  • Hosted by Oxford historian Bettany Hughes, “Eight Days That Made Rome” (7 p.m., Smithsonian) looks at key events in the life of the republic-turned-empire that continues to influence 21st-century life, law, religion and culture.
  • Acorn begins streaming “No Offence,” a British police drama from the creators of “Shameless.”

Other highlights

  • Past champions return to a special edition of “America’s Got Talent” (7 p.m., NBC, TV-PG).
  • A podcaster invites Ben to discuss the passengers’ plight on “Manifest” (9 p.m., NBC, TV-PG).



Series notes

Wedding bell blues on “The Big Bang Theory” (7 p.m., CBS, r, TV-PG) ... Devon’s cold feet on “The Resident” (7 p.m., Fox, r, TV-14) ... Freaky Friday on “The Flash” (7 p.m., CW, r, TV-14) ... Wedding vows on “Happy Together” (7:30 p.m., CBS, TV-14) ... Mentor envy on “Young Sheldon” (8 p.m., CBS, r, TV-PG) ... Buck returns to dating on “9-1-1” (8 p.m., Fox, r, TV-14) ... Help from the DC pantheon on “Arrow” (8 p.m., CW, r, TV-14) .