1) “The Big Leap,” 8 p.m., Fox. A week from its season-finale, this surprising show expands on its specialty – weaving serious drama alongside blips of goofy comedy. It’s almost time for this fictional show-within-a-show to have its big finish – a televised “Swan Lake,” performed by people with varied skills. Then come the problems: Paula is dying of cancer; Mike clings to her … Reggie is gone; Gabby (Simone Recasner, shown here) is angry … New schemes are afoot; Nick has flashes of a conscience. It’s an odd but excellent hour.
2) “CMA Country Christmas,” 8 p.m., ABC. Usually a terrific show, this stumbles. With no studio audience, it has canned applause and laughter … and nothing to laugh at. The script is awful, even trying to disguise product-placement as comedy; the hosts are overwhelmed. Some great stars – Carrie Underwood, Lady A, Miranda Lambert (via Pistol Annies) – have OK vocals, with great back-up bands. That peaks when Jimmie Allen and (especially) Brett Eldredge offer zesty, dance-band swing.
3) “The Black Pack: We Three Kings,” 8 p.m., CW. For the first time, CW is a dominant force at Christmastime. Sunday’s “Waltons’ Homecoming” reboot was beautifully crafted; the upcoming “Beebo Saves Christmas” cartoon (8 p.m. Wednesday) is surprisingly clever. We haven’t seen this music special but it has impressive stars – Taye Diggs, Ne-Yo and Eric Bellinger . They’re joined by Jordin Sparks, Tank, Sevyn Streeter and Bre-Z … who co-stars in “All American” with Diggs.
4) “The Great Christmas Light Fight” (ABC) and “The Hot Zone” (National Geographic), both 9-11 p.m. Here are the mid-sections of three-night, six-hour shows that started Sunday. “Light Fight” (which ends Thursday) is just for fun; each hour introduces some families with epic decorations, then chooses a winner. The “Hot Zone” opener (repeating at 7 p.m.) introduced the 2001 crisis, with lethal anthrax being sent in the mail. Tony Goldwyn is brilliant as a scientist who says a colleague may be the culprit
5) “Cabaret” (1972) and “All That Jazz” (1979), 8 and 10:15 p.m., Turner Classic Movies. Here are two dance-heavy musicals directed by Bob Fosse. Both drew Oscar nominations for best-picture. “Cabaret” won eight Oscars (including Fosse and star Liza Minnelli); Fosse’s autobiographical “Jazz” won four.
– Mike Hughes, TV America