TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: Country Music
Association awards, 8-11 p.m., ABC.
The country people are stretching for
crossoverS here. Kid Rock will perform; so will Kelly Clarkson (with
Jason Aldean), Sheryl Crow (with Miranda Lambert) and Gwyneth Paltrow
(with Vince Gill).
Then again, Nashville is already
crossing over. Many of its stars – Taylor Swift, Keith Urban,
Carrie Underwood, Brad Paisley, Lady Antebellum – have a pop
They'll all perform tonight, with
Underwood and Paisley hosting. Other performers include George
Strait, Kenny Chesney, Sugarland, Rascal Flatts, Blake Shelton and
TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE II: “Circus,”
9-11 p.m., PBS (check local listings).
Last week's opener got us to care about
the circus people, then offered a surprise: Ryan (alternately known
as Yuri), a likable-if-odd guy, was fired for talking about bombs.
Tonight, we get an update about his
wife, plus another jolt: After moving everyone to its first site, the
Big Apple Circus suddenly replaces a key act.
We also see the retirement of Paul
Binder, who co-founded the circus 33 years ago. Coupled with some
gorgeous filming, this is a great mid-section to the three-week,
TONIGHT'S ALTERNATIVE: “Psych”
return, 10 p.m., USA.
Cary Elwes is back as the elegant art
thief Shawn caught. He escapes from prison (often); Shawn and Gus
find themselves in a tough spot, unable to tell authorities the
In the “Psych” style, this is a
loose and sometimes silly story, but it's also entertaining.
SATELLITE ONLY: “Friday Night
Lights,” 9 p.m., 101 Network, DirecTV.
With East Dillon riding high after
winning its first two football games, we knew something had to go
wrong. Now there's a drunken video from the celebration; further
away, Buddy's son is crumbling and (separately) Eric's daughter is in
a complex college relationship.
It's tangled stuff, but two of Vince's
late scenes – one in the coach's office, one with his dad –
remind us that this is one of TV's great dramas.
Other choices include:
– “Secrets of the Dead,” 8 p.m.,
PBS (check local listings). In 1766, a strong figure named Massavana
led a slave-ship overthrow. Eventually, he was be imprisoned on the
island that would later hold Nelson Mandela. Beautifully filmed, this
documentary is both uplifting and disturbing.
– “Undercovers,” 8 p.m., NBC.
While the Blooms are on a Russia mission, their colleague Hoyt is
– “Law & Order: Special Victims
Unit,” 9 p.m., NBC. An undercover FBI agent (Marcia Gay Harden) has
been raped. Benson must investigate cautiously, without blowing her
cover on a big case.
– “Ford: Rebuilding an American
Icon,” 9 p.m., CNBC (reruns at 10). This hour leaps between
subjects – Ford's quality failures and revival… its in-roads in
India … the re-invention of the Explorer … safety questions about
technology distractions. It's scatter-shot, but the individual
stories are interesting.
– “Terriers,” 10 p.m., FX.
Dis-invited from his ex-wife's wedding, Hank teeters toward drinking.
Instead, he happens on a huge case in the same hotel. It's a clever
and involving episode.
– “Harry Loves Lisa” season
finale, 10 p.m., TV Land. Unable to land a TV-pilot job, Harry Hamlin
looks for an alternate plan.
-- "Conan," 11 p.m., TBS. Jon Hamm -- the "Mad Men" star who has already hosted "Saturday Night Live" three times and showed up in Conan O'Brien's opening-night film -- is the guest. The show also has Charlyn Yi (an actress, author and performance comedian) and music by Fistful of Mercy.