Will cartoons be the salvation of the sitcom? NBC sure hopes so -- since the mid-'90s, the network has careened from "Single Guy" to "Stark Raving Mad" to "Coupling." Created by the DreamWorks studio, the artists behind the "Shrek" franchise, the new animated comedy "Father of the Pride" (8 p.m., NBC) features a cast of star voices, including Carl Reiner ("The Dick Van Dyke Show") and John Goodman ("Roseanne").
Set in Las Vegas, "Father" chronicles the foibles of a menagerie of critters owned by casino entertainers Siegfried & Roy (the voices of Julian Holloway and Dave Herman).
Given its form (cartoon) and subject matter (cute animals), "Pride" could appeal to the young 'uns. But its makers have included just enough adult subject matter and nasty language to make it somewhat awkward for parents to watch with their children. That's just dumb. In trying so hard to reach 20-somethings, they seem to have forgotten about families and children -- the folks who turned "Shrek" into such a hit. Yet despite this problem, "Pride" still has more three-dimensional wit than the average sitcom.
- "Backspin" (7 p.m., Bravo) looks at the life and career of actor/director Mel Gibson in reverse chronological order, from the huge, controversial success of "The Passion" back to his childhood and devout religious upbringing. This profile airs on the same day as the release of the DVD version of "The Passion."
Tonight's other highlights
- Jim Lehrer is host of three hours of coverage of the Republican National Convention (7 p.m., PBS). Scheduled speakers include first lady Laura Bush, education secretary Rod Paige and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Lehrer also scheduled an interview with the first lady. Coverage on ABC, CBS and NBC begins at 9 p.m.
- Fathers switch homes on two hours of "Trading Spouses" (7 p.m., Fox).
- Heather Graham joins the cast of "Scrubs" (8:30 p.m., NBC).