TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: “Hot in
Cleveland,” 10 p.m., TV Land.
“Hot” captures the feel of
traditional situation comedies, the ones taped in front of an
Sure, filmed comedies (like tonight's
“Modern Family”) can be brilliant. Still, it's fun to hear the
brisk, joke-filled approach of the past, by people who know how to do
it. A great cast (Betty White, Valerie Bertinelli, Wendie Malick,
Jane Leeves) is joined tonight by Georgia Engel and Fred Willard.
Elka (White) teaches her friend (Engel)
to flirt; Victoria (Malick) tries to seem caring. Fun follows.
TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE II: “Ben and
Kate,” 8-10 p.m., Fox.
Now here's a sampling of the opposite –
a new-style comedy, filmed with no audience. That allows for bigger
plots and for more use of sight gags and a 7-year-old co-star.
These four reruns are in random order.
In the fourth, Kate (the terrific Dakota Johnson) meets a handsome
guy (Geoff Stults) at a Halloween party; in the first, he urges her
to catch her class reunion on Thanksgiving eve. Others involve a
scavenger hunt and creating the birthday bash she never had.
TONIGHT'S ALTERNATIVE: “Kennedy
Center Honors,” 9-11 p.m., CBS.
Each year, this is one of TV's great
shows – even while driving some viewers away.
Tonight (after a fun opener honoring
Dustin Hoffman), it devotes 16 minutes to ballerina Natalia Makarova,
half spent on performances. The dancing is gorgeous, but you can hear
Please stick around. Coming up are
blistering music segments honoring bluesman Buddy Guy and Led
Zeppelin. There's great music from Foo Fighters, Tracy Chapman, Kid
Rock, Bonnie Raitt, Lenny Kravitz, Jeff Beck, a sensational Beth Hart
and more. The “Stairway to Heaven” finale – with Ann and Nancy
Wilson of Heart in front of a choir, while Jason Bonham conquers the
drums the way his late father John used to for Zeppelin –is
In between is a hilarious tribute to
the oft-uncomfortable David Letterman. “Everyone wants to be David
Letterman, except David Letterman,” says Jimmy Kimmel, who later
adds: “You're the hero of everyone in this room, with the possible
exception of the people who came to see the ballerina.”
Other choices include:
– Football, 7:30 p.m., ESPN. A dozen
bowl games are coming in the next four days. That starts in Detroit
with the Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl; Central Michigan (6-6) faces
Western Kentucky (7-5).
– “Criminal Minds,” 8 p.m., CBS.
In a change, CBS is inserting this rerun from last spring: Morgan
(Shemar Moore) hears a report that his cousin – presumed dead eight
years ago – has been seen.
– “Mrs. Miracle” (2009) and “Call
Me Mrs. Miracle” (2010), 8 and 10 p.m., Hallmark. Here are two
movies with Doris Roberts as a benevolent soul who pops into lives.
In the first (from a Debbie Macomber novel),she's a nanny; in the
second (with a Christmas setting) she's a department-store clerk.
– “Guys With Kids,” 8:30 p.m.,
NBC. In a rerun, Nick gets too competitive about a school project.
– “Modern Family,” 9 p.m., ABC.
Change becomes difficult in this funny rerun. Luke wants to quit his
magic act. Cam works as a music teacher, while Mitchell stays home.
– “Nashville,” 10 p.m., ABC. In a
rerun, Juliette's drug-addicted mother returns.