TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: CMT Music Awards,
8-11 p.m., CMT.
Cable has the best summer parties. Just
three days after the MTV Movie Awards, it's CMT's turn.
This is country music, stretching for
crossover appeal. Kid Rock hosts; presenters include Justin Bieber
and champions from “Dancing With the Stars” (Hines Ward),
“American Idol” (Scotty McCreery, with runner-up Lauren Alaina)
and the Super Bowl (Clay Matthews).
Half the video-of-the-year nominees
will perform – Lady Antebellum, Sugarland, Rascal Flatts, Jason
Aldean and the Zac Brown Band. Also performing: Keith Urban, Toby
Keith, Luke Bryan, Big & Rich.
TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE II: “The Middle,”
8 and 8:30 p.m., and “Modern Family,” 9 and 9:30, ABC.
We usually resent summer reruns, but
not when shows are this funny.
In the first “Middle,” Axl tries to
secretly make the biology teacher (Kristin Cavallari of “The
Hills”) the “hot chick” in his band's video; there are also
some great moments when Sue schemes to see an R-rated movie. In the
second, the parents try to break their kids' dominance of the house.
In the first “Modern Love,” Jay
finds himself on a “boys' night out” with Mitchell, Cameron and
their friend Pepper (Nathan Lane). In the second, Cameron directs the
ALSO: Some PBS stations debut the excellent documentary "Out in America" tonight. However, this is pledge drive, so that varies widely from station to station. As a result, I'm running that portion separately; under "TV columns," it should appear right above this one.
TONIGHT'S ALTERNATIVE: “Men of a
Certain Age,” 10 p.m., TNT.
Quietly meandering between drama and
comedy, this show has offered three guys approaching 50.
Now Terry (Scott Bakula) actually
reaches that age. It's a rough time for someone who's been in a
youthful bubble for decades – and who has just been dropped by his
Bakula plays it beautifully; other
twists involving Joe (Ray Romano) are so-so. In the final moments,
we're reminded that Andre Braugher – as Owen, Terry's friend and
boss – is one of TV's best actors.
Other choices include:
– “So You Think You Can Dance,”
8-10 p.m., Fox. During auditions, hordes of dancers were advanced to
this Las Vegas round. Now come quick cuts; on Thursday, we'll see who
made it to the top 20.
– “America's Got Talent,” 9 and
10 p.m., NBC. Tonight's hockey game is on cable (the Versus network).
That means NBC – which will get the final three Stanley Cup games,
if necessary – can focus on its reality hit. Here, it shows
auditions in Houston and Minneapolis.
– “Franklin & Bash,” 9 p.m.,
TNT. After an OK pilot film, this show is skidding. This episode is
poor; the third (next week) is awful. “Bash” tries to have
outrageous cases; the brilliant David Kelley did that with “Boston
Legal,” but mere mortals shouldn't try. Tonight's case involves a
woman accused of killing her husband via excessive sex; there are
lots of detours, most defying credibility.
– “20/20,” 10 p.m., ABC. Barring
a late change, this will look at the success of reality shows.
– “Locked Up Abroad”
season-opener, 10 p.m., National Geographic. Henry Hill – portrayed
by Ray Liotta in “Goodfellas,” tells of a downfall that began
when he dealt dope against his boss' orders.
– “Through the Wormhole”
season-opener, 10 p.m. and 1 a.m., Science Channel. Last season,
Morgan Freeman's show posed complex questions about the creation of
the universe. (Reruns today are 7-10 p.m. and 11 p.m. to 1 a.m.)
Tonight comes another big one: What happens after we die?