Thanks to extensive news coverage, we've all followed the sad, shocking stories of Laci Peterson, Natalee Holloway, Jennifer Wilbanks and Tamika Huston. Stop right there. Just who is Tamika Huston?
"Dateline" (7 p.m., NBC) takes a long-overdue look at network and cable news' obsessive coverage of missing-persons stories and why the subjects almost always seem to be attractive, female and white.
Correspondent Josh Mankiewicz recalls the case of Tamika Huston, who went missing under suspicious circumstances last year. She was young, beautiful and middle class. Her aunt Rebekah Howard, a public relations executive, worked exhaustively to bring Tamika's story to the local and national news, but she got nowhere. Could it be because Tamika is black?
"Dateline" explores journalistic culture and the decision-making process that results in the focus on some individuals, while thousands of other missing-persons stories never get a single mention on national television.
Tonight's other highlights
¢ A train heist is more complicated than it seemed on "Firefly" (6 p.m., Sci Fi).
¢ A fake ID's fateful consequences on "Veronica Mars" (7 p.m., CBS).
¢ On two episodes of "Hope & Faith" (ABC), maternal instincts (7:30 p.m.), Dixie Carter ("Designing Women") and Hal Holbrook ("Evening Shade") guest star (8 p.m.)
¢ On four episodes of "Arrested Development" (Fox), Michael protects his father's secret (7 p.m.), holiday merrymaking (7:30 p.m.), corporate softball (8 p.m.) and thawed assets (8:30 p.m.).
¢ The Warren Brothers appear on "Barely Famous" (7 p.m., CMT).
¢ An engineering student's suicide seems suspicious on "Numb3rs" (9 p.m., CBS).
¢ Scheduled on "20/20" (9 p.m., ABC): People try to tell the difference between real and fake gold and between premium vodka and the cheap stuff. Also, the health claims of green tea.
¢ Lee conspires to free the imprisoned president and resist martial law on "Battlestar Galactica" (9 p.m., Sci Fi).