The San Francisco 49ers meet the New England Patriots in the annual Hall of Fame Game as pre-season NFL action begins on "Monday Night Football" (6 p.m., ABC). This is the first game to be covered by the new "Monday Night Football" team featuring comedian Dennis Miller as commentator. While the clever comedian is known for biting wit and hilariously arcane references, fans should remember that most of his famous "rants" have been scripted and rehearsed. Football play-by-play calls for spontaneous insight and wit under pressure. It should be fun to see how Miller performs this high-wire act, and how well his personality meshes with fellow sportscasters Al Michaels, Dan Fouts and Eric Dickerson.
- ABC originally planned to squeeze its coverage of the opening night of the Republican National Convention into half-time of "Monday Night Football." The game was pushed back an hour to allow an hour of coverage beginning approximately at 9 p.m. CBS has also scheduled an hour of coverage during "48 Hours" (9 p.m., CBS). NBC will skip the opening night entirely. "The News Hour with Jim Lehrer" (PBS) will provide three hours of convention coverage beginning at 7 p.m. every night through Thursday.
Serious political junkies will have to turn to cable news outlets for the old-fashioned "gavel to gavel" coverage. CNN will broadcast at least nine hours of coverage daily, beginning with "Inside Politics" (4 p.m.).
- When in doubt, compile a list. That must be the programming directive at VH1. Tonight, they present "The 100 Greatest Rock & Roll Moments on TV" (9 p.m., VH1, part one of five). Chosen by critics and writers from Entertainment Weekly magazine, the list heralds those televised performances and appearances that changed the music and the medium. The Beatles' February 1964 appearance on "The Ed Sullivan Show" is rated No. 1, followed by Elvis Presley's 1968 comeback special. Tonight's installment counts down events 100 to 81 and includes: the episode of "The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour" when the duo introduced daughter Chastity to the world (No. 100) and U2's American debut on "The Tom Snyder Show" (No. 82). Rick Schroeder hosts.
- "Biography Close-Up: You Want to Bet?" (7 p.m., A&E;) takes a very critical look at the gaming industry and examines the lives destroyed by gambling addiction.
- FX unspools a three-hour, six-episode marathon of "Son of the Beach" (7 p.m., FX, TV-14), the unabashedly silly and raunchy lifeguard spoof starring Tim Stack and produced by Howard Stern.
- A judge can't believe that her husband was behind an attempt on her life on a repeat of "Law & Order" (8 p.m., NBC, TV-14).
- The four-part series, "Wealth and Power" (8 p.m., History, continues nightly through Thursday, TV-G) examines the life stories of the rich from ancient tyrants and plunderers to today's high-tech tycoons and media celebrities. Tonight: empire-builders from Alexander the Great to Saddam Hussein.
- A nervous disorder strikes close to home on "Strangers with Candy" (9 p.m., Comedy Central, TV-14).
Sequestered on "Big Brother" (7 p.m., CBS) " Exploring the paranormal on "Mysterious Ways" (7 p.m., NBC, TV-PG) " Drug rumors on "Opposite Sex" (7 p.m., Fox, TV-PG, L) " On back-to-back episodes of "The Parkers" (UPN), an uncomfortable turkey dinner (7 p.m., TV-PG), and found treasure (7:30 p.m., TV-PG) " A double date on "7th Heaven" (7 p.m., WB, TV-G).
Frank seems different on "Everybody Loves Raymond" (8 p.m., CBS, TV-G) " Tina Turner (as herself) conducts a talent search on "Ally McBeal" (8 p.m., Fox, TV-14, D) " Bad karma on "Grown Ups" (8 p.m., UPN, TV-PG) " A new alien sighting shakes up the town on "Roswell" (8 p.m., WB, TV-PG, L).
An eye-opening experience for Jake on "Becker" (8:30 p.m., CBS, TV-PG, L) " Labor pains on "Malcolm & Eddie" (8:30 p.m., UPN, TV-PG) " A Thanksgiving crisis on "Third Watch" (9 p.m., NBC, TV-14).