Tonight marks Ted Koppel's last night as host of "Nightline" (10:35 p.m., ABC), a position he has held with much distinction since 1980. "Nightline" evolved out of a nightly ABC News broadcast covering the Iranian hostage crisis that began in November 1979.
I'd like to think that Koppel would spend his valedictory evening reading the riot act to a toothless news media. Perhaps he could settle a score with Sinclair Media for censoring his reading of the names of the Americans killed in Iraq. He's certainly got the right to blast the folks at ABC for their embarrassing and fruitless public flirtation with David Letterman.
But Koppel will devote his final show to an interview with Mitch Albom. Who? He's the author of the hugely popular and cloying memoirs "Tuesdays With Morrie" (Broadway, 2002) and "The Five People You Meet in Heaven" (Hyperion, 2003). Alas, Koppel goes out, not with a bang, but a wimp.
When "Nightline" returns on Monday, the show will have three hosts, Cynthia McFadden, Terry Moran and Martin Bashir. None of these three has anything resembling Koppel's journalistic gravitas. But who does? Bashir's presence offers the most troubling indication of "Nightline's" direction. He's best known for his documentary interviews with Michael Jackson.
¢ Cedric the Entertainer is host of the American Music Awards (7 p.m., ABC), not to be confused with the Grammy Awards, the CMAs, the Vibe Music Awards, the World Music Awards or any awards given this week or any other week.
¢ Lauren Holly joins "NCIS" (7 p.m., CBS) as a series regular.
¢ Carole King guest stars on the Thanksgiving episode of "Gilmore Girls" (7 p.m., WB).
¢ Earl has fences to mend with his father (Beau Bridges) after ruining his political career on "My Name is Earl" (8 p.m., NBC).
¢ An AIDS patient insists that Dr. House take on his treatment on "House" (8 p.m., Fox).
¢ A runaway loses her unborn child after a vicious attack on "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (9 p.m., NBC).
¢ Caroline Rhea hosts "The Biggest Loser" (7 p.m., NBC).