Last year's breakout reality series "Project Runway" (9 p.m. and 10 p.m., Bravo) returns for a second season with back-to-back episodes. And I'm pleased to announce that it doesn't suffer from a sophomore slump.
I was a little worried that last season was a fluke, a product of too many memorable personalities. But unlike "The Apprentice," which seems to get duller with each passing season, "Runway" picks up where it left off, presenting an addictive combination of high-strung ambition and the pressure of creating under a deadline.
If you love this show, you'll have to catch both installments tonight. The second competition concludes with an emotional meltdown that borders on disturbing. In other words, perfect reality television.
The only thing I'll say about the new group is that the 16 designers include one familiar face. Daniel Franco was the first to be eliminated last season. The self-assured and completely pretentious Franco returns for a chance at redemption. Is he a good designer or just a glutton for punishment? You'll just have to tune in to find out.
¢ Host Joan Steffend joins First Lady Laura Bush on "The White House Christmas 2005" (7 p.m., HGTV). Bush provides a grand tour of the historic home, including the Blue Room, the State Dining Room and the East Room. She also shares her thoughts on the theme of this year's festivities, the schedule of celebrations and receptions, and introduces viewers to the chefs, decorators, florists and volunteers who deck the halls at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Tonight's other highlights
¢ Jon Voight stars in the second and concluding installment of the miniseries "Pope John Paul II" (7 p.m., CBS).
¢ Sergeant Santa on "E-Ring" (7 p.m., NBC).
¢ Tyra Banks plays host to the finale of "America's Next Top Model" (7 p.m., UPN).
¢ Hurley's past may keep him out of the hatch on "Lost" (8 p.m., ABC).
¢ Jury duty proves complicated on "Veronica Mars" (8 p.m., UPN).
¢ Evidence suggests that a human spider was felled by a common mosquito on "CSI: NY" (9 p.m., CBS).