“Jay Leno: The Mark Twain Prize,” 9 p.m., PBS (check local
Here's a 90-minute
burst of big laughs. Leno closes it wittily. First, others offer
their own comedy bits (Jerry Seinfeld's postal routine is
brilliiant), introduce “Tonight Show” clips and point barbs at
This is someone who
still works constantly, Al Madrigal says, “because $200 million in
the bank just isn't enough.” There was that one misfire: “I just
hope PBS runs this at 11 p.m.,” Garth Brooks says, “because it's
proven no one will watch Jay at 10.” After that lone failure, Jimmy
Fallon reminds us, the network dropped Leno: “He did so much for
NBC that we have to celebrate his career on PBS.”
II: “American Music Awards,” 8-11 p.m., ABC..
the night will ripple with young pop stars. There's Taylor Swift, One
Direction, Lorde, Ariana Grande, Jesse J, Charlie XCX, Sam Smith,
Imagine Dragons, Magic and 5 Seconds of Summer.
the veterans have their moments. Garth Brooks – who won and refused
the AMA's top award back in 1996 – will be shown performing in
North Carolina, on his first tour in 13 years. Jennifer Lopez will
perform “Booty” with Iggy Azalea (who leads with six
nominations). Also performing are Pitbull (who hosts), Mary J. Blige,
Fergie, Wyclef Jean and more.
ALTERNATIVE: “The Newsroom,” 9 p.m., HBO.
all his blistering rants, we sometimes forget that writer-producer
Aaron Sorkin also creates great comedy dialog. That's on full display
early, as the FBI invades the newsroom and as a young reporter
(Alison Pill) spars with her editor (John Gallagher Jr.).
things turn dead-serious. The news network's future is wobbling ....
An official delivers a scary global-warming warning .... And there's
the shabby new notion of journalists amping up stories, because they
get bonuses for more page hits. The laughs fade; no one rants as well
carpet, 6-8 p.m., E. Stars look pretty for the American Music Awards.
in Palm Springs,” 7 and 9 p.m., UP. Here's your standard tale of
kids trying to get their parents (Patrick Muldoon and Dina Meyer)
back together at Christmastime. Alas, she's instantly unlikable, he's
intermittenly jerk-ish and it becomes hard to root for them.
the Grinch Stole Christmas” (7:30 p.m.) and “The Wizard of Oz”
(1939, 8 and 10:15 p.m.), TBS. On an already-packed night, TBS reruns
two of the all-time greats for kids or grown-ups.
Secretary,” 8:01 p.m., CBS. With a gunman outside, everyone is in
lockdown. That includes a translator who could divulge a secret about
Elizabeth; it also includes Daisy's fiance, played by Sam Daly –
the son of Tim Daly (who plays Elizabeth's husband), grandson of John
and nephew of Tyne.
Good Wife,” 9 p.m., CBS. The season started with Cary arrested and
assuming he would be freed quickly. Now, instead, his drug trial
begins, alongside a possible plea bargain and jail time.
Comeback,” 10 p.m., HBO. The central character (Lisa Kudrow)
continues to be way too one-note. At times tonight, the monotone is
broken up by some sly moments from Seth Rogan (who plays her
colleague) and by a rather extreme burst of HBO-style nudity.
On,” 10:30, HBO. This muted comedy-drama has one of its best nights
on both sides. The comedy comes when the hospital's computer system
fails; the drama centers on Dawn (Alex Borstein).