Jack Black hosts the 2006 MTV Video Music Awards (7 p.m., MTV). If Black was not born to this role, he has certainly spent half a lifetime pursuing it. The bombastic half of the parody band Tenacious D, Black brings a quick wit, an outsized enthusiasm and a heavy sense of physical bombast to his role as rocker comedian. And unlike the legions of rock legends and tattooed wannabes he lampoons, Black seems perfectly aware of his ridiculous image.
Black, the star of the recent comedy "Nacho Libre" also appeared in "King Kong" and performed signature roles in both "School of Rock" and "High Fidelity." Black and Kyle Gass will appear in the feature film "Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny" scheduled for release in November.
The Video Music Awards will air live from New York's Radio City Music Hall. Scheduled performers include Beyonce, Panic! at the Disco, T.I., The Killers, Ludacris, Justin Timberlake and Shakira. In addition, Axl Rose, Lindsay Lohan, Kanye West, Paris Hilton, Diddy, LL Cool J, Snoop Dogg, Pussycat Dolls and 50 Cent are expected to present awards, or make spectacles of themselves, or both.
¢ Glenn Close and Will Smith narrate "A Closer Walk" (8 p.m., PBS, check local listings) a documentary look at the devastating effects of AIDs across Africa, Ukraine, India and within the black American community. This marks the American television debut of this 2003 film created to raise awareness of the global scope of the crisis.
Tonight's other highlights
¢ Would-be singers croon and croak on the repeat debut of "Celebrity Duets" (7 p.m., Fox).
¢ A high-school student (Kay Panabaker) discovers both sides of fame after her secret diary becomes a best-seller in the 2006 television comedy "Read It and Weep" (7 p.m., Disney).
¢ On two episodes of "Grey's Anatomy" (ABC), Thanksgiving drama (7 p.m.), Natalie Cole guests stars (8 p.m.).
¢ Peter leaves counseling on "Windfall" (9 p.m., NBC).
¢ Scheduled on "Primetime" (9 p.m., ABC): the risk of toxic train wrecks.
¢ Dana Delaney ("China Beach") narrates "Vietnam Nurses" (9 p.m., WE) containing poignant interviews with women who served in dangerous conditions in combat hospitals.