New York Mean teens. A worried mother. Murder in the heartland. "The Stalking of Laurie Show" (8 p.m., USA) would seem like just another awful cable drama if it weren't based on true events.
Jennifer Finnigan stars as Laurie Show, a sensitive teen who moves to Amish country in Pennsylvania with her mother after a nasty divorce. In a naive effort to make friends, she gets between two unstable teen-age lovers Michelle (Marnette Patterson) and Butch (Rel Hunt), with deadly results. As subtle as a sledgehammer.
"NOVA" (8 p.m., PBS, check local listings) looks at anorexia nervosa and other eating disorders on the special, "Dying to Be Thin."
Anorexia is the most deadly mental disorder, and it is on the rise, increasing by 36 percent every five years since the 1950s. Most at risk are women between 15 and 24, those strongly affected by the bombardment of images equating gaunt bodies with female beauty.
"Dying" spends much of its time in the dance world, where the imperative to remain thin is most acute. Many ballerinas are expected to maintain their weight at nearly 15 percent below that recommended for their height. They are essentially anorexic by profession. And the results can be fatal. In 1997, Boston Ballet star Heidi Guenther died of heart failure at age 22.
Women who don't die young may suffer the lifelong effects of self-starvation. Some dancers go years without menstruating. Once considered "a treasure of her generation," Joffrey Ballet star Erika Goodman now needs a cane to navigate because her bones have been ravaged by osteoporosis.
"Dying" also focuses on success stories, including new research linking eating disorders to serotonin a brain neurotransmitter associated with mood and appetite. High levels of the chemical may result in obsessive behavior and cause patients to starve themselves to reduce their serotonin-induced anxiety.
There's also a look at former thin models, including Kate Dillon, who have turned their back on the fashion industry's waif obsession and have learned to feel good about themselves. Dillon has returned to a healthy weight (more than 50 pounds above her professional avoirdupois) and has a successful career as a plus-sized model. Narrated by Susan Sarandon.
K.T. Oslin, Darlene Love and the Nashville Symphony Orchestra perform on "A Classic Christmas with Martina McBride" (7 p.m., TNN).
An animated musical version of the poem, "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" (7 p.m., Family).
Alone for the holidays, an elderly lady (Katharine Hepburn) helps hide a jewel thief (Ryan O'Neal) in the 1992 drama, "The Man Upstairs" (8 p.m., TNN).
Tonight's other highlights
Scheduled on "60 Minutes II" (8 p.m., CBS): the AIDs drug Vaxgen; James Taylor; Ireland's dynamic economy.
Dr. Mary (Kim Coles) returns to "Frasier" (8 p.m., NBC). Dr. Crane's radio protege becomes his rival once again when they become co-hosts of Seattle's Christmas Parade.
The most important inventor you've never heard of gets his due in the documentary, "Tesla: Master of Lightning" (8 p.m., PBS, check local listings). Stacy Keach is the voice of Nikola Tesla, the man who invented the use and transmission of alternating current, or AC.
Home birthing on "Judging Amy" (9 p.m., CBS).
Scheduled on "Dateline" (9 p.m., NBC): People Magazine's most intriguing people.
Lily makes a risky career move on "Once and Again" (9 p.m., ABC).