Sitcom elements help ‘Kumar’ show

A funny hybrid of sitcom and talk show, “The Kumars at No. 42” (8 p.m., BBC America) welcomes celebrity guests from both sides of the Atlantic.

An eccentric Indian family living in North London, the Kumars have a stage and studio in their backyard, where son Sanjeev (Sanjeev Bhaskar) hosts movie stars, TV legends and musical guests who play along with the absurdity of the Kumar household.

Sanjeev has an exaggerated idea of his own intelligence and sex appeal. His mother, Madhuri (Indira Joshi), puts heavy emphasis on all things domestic. Father Ashwin (Vincent Ebrahim) is an entrepreneur obsessed with “multiple income streams,” while granny Sushil (Meera Syal) has no problem flirting with guests and hitting the bottle – often at the same time.

Tonight’s guests include David Hasselhoff, who shares anecdotes about his years on “Knight Rider” and “Baywatch,” as well as his status as a musical superstar in Germany. We learn that his two TV programs are also wildly popular in India. Hasselhoff tells of receiving a special Bollywood International award in, of all places, the Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City.

¢ Kids set out to save the world from a fate worse than death – a boring, sedentary lifestyle – on the movie-length cartoon feature “Operation Zero” on “Codename: Kids Next Door” (6:30 p.m., Cartoon Network).

¢ Columbus, a headstrong member of Flower’s new litter, makes a precocious and potentially dangerous move on “Meerkat Manor” (7 p.m., Animal Planet).

¢ Randy Travis and Josh Turner join forces on “Cross Country” (9 p.m., CMT). The special includes taped performances from a live concert in Nashville featuring hits from both men, including “Three Wooden Crosses,” “Your Man,” “Forever and Ever, Amen” and “Long Black Train.”

¢ The original special “Hitchcocked!” (7 p.m., Encore Mystery) presents interviews with directors of movies and television and of horror, suspense and drama, who discuss the influence of Hitchcock on their works. Interviews include Joe Dante (“Gremlins”), Larry Cohen (“Phone Booth,” “It’s Alive”), Stuart Gordon (“Re-Animator”), Ernest Dickerson (“CSI”) and others.

The Encore Mystery channel will run Hitchcock movies throughout the director’s birthday weekend, beginning with “The Birds” (7:30 p.m.).

Tonight’s other highlights

Note that schedules may vary due to local sports coverage.

¢ The Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the New York Jets (6:30 p.m., CBS). For the record, the “New York” Jets have played home games in New Jersey since 1984.

¢ Mike Myers stars in the 2002 spoof “Austin Powers in Goldmember” (7 p.m., Fox).

¢ Kyle joins the basketball squad on “Kyle XY” (8 p.m., ABC).

¢ Money laundering can be murder on “Law & Order” (9 p.m., NBC). Mariska Hargitay and Ice-T (“SVU”) guest star in a crossover episode.

¢ Intrigue attends a class reunion on “Monk” (8 p.m., USA).

¢ Andy Dick guest stars on “The Minor Accomplishments of Jackie Woodman” (10 p.m., IFC).