"Texas SWAT" (7 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Court TV) follows special police tactical units from the Lone Star state as they use heavy armor, serious weaponry and assault vehicles to defuse bombs or negotiate their way through tense hostage situations.
That's not to be confused with "Dallas SWAT" (9 p.m. Thursday, A&E), a new hour-long drama kicking off tomorrow night. In the first hour of "Dallas" the officers take on a deranged killer holed up alone in a shabby house and drug dealers aided by hundreds of sympathetic neighbors.
SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) teams and television go back at least a generation. Nobody had heard the term until after the Patty Hearst kidnapping in 1974, when the heiress and her terrorist cohorts were thought to be hiding out in a Los Angeles home. Suddenly thousands of police and SWAT officers descended on the scene.
The advent of lightweight video cameras allowed local news crews to capture the shootout live and broadcast it to a national audience. The ensuing gun battle set the house on fire. Hearst was not captured or among those killed in the blaze, but the word "SWAT" entered the TV lexicon. In 1975 ABC launched an hour-long police drama named "S.W.A.T." starring Steve Forrest and Rod Perry. It's best remembered for its "Shaft"-influenced "wacket-a-wacket-a" theme and soundtrack.
Don't go looking for '70s soul music on A&E's "Dallas SWAT," but the show does focus on the family and domestic lives of the off-duty heroes. One divorced officer juggles busting bad guys and taking his little daughter to swimming lessons. He also finds time to court a fellow single parent and even takes her to the Fort Worth Ballet.
¢ If you didn't get your fill from two seasons of "The Biggest Loser," the weight loss competition returns for a two-hour "The Biggest Loser: Special Edition" (7 p.m., NBC). While the first two installments took a whole season for players to shed their fat, this year each weekly "Special Edition" will showcase new competitors who, like Ebenezer Scrooge, will get through their penitential ordeal all in one night.
Tonight's other highlights
¢ Texas and USC meet in the Rose Bowl (7 p.m., ABC).
¢ Snipers in broad daylight on "Criminal Minds" (8 p.m., CBS).
¢ Two careers and five kids on "Nanny 911" (8 p.m., Fox).
¢ A fatal festival on "CSI: NY" (9 p.m., CBS).
¢ A creep may be spared to save an innocent on "Law & Order" (9 p.m., NBC).