Am I the only one who believes that the most boring conversations begin with the phrase, "When I win the lottery ...?" The summer series "Windfall" (9 p.m., NBC) asks viewers to care about the fates of 20 photogenic folks from all walks of life who share ownership of a $400 million sweepstake ticket. As you can imagine, we get to see people say, "yippee," more than once. This takes up an inordinate amount of time in the 42-minute pilot, and with so many personal sagas to introduce, there isn't much time to spare.
The group of lucky 20 includes two married couples (Luke Perry, Lana Parilla, Jason Gedrick and Sarah Wynter) who share some past romantic entanglements. Will former lovers reunite now that money is no object? A handsome florist (D.J. Cotrona) with a felonious past fears that publicity may attract attention and danger. A single mom checks out of her trailer-park lifestyle only to discover that her son has become a victim of bullies. A surly teen stuns his father with an exotic act of defiance, and an idealistic nurse becomes an instant philanthropist.
With so many stories, this soap opera feels forced and contrived. In the pilot episode, Perry's character is on screen for about two minutes and never says anything memorable. "Windfall" seems to be caught between two cliches: "money changes everything" and "money isn't everything." With "My Name is Earl," NBC already has one show about a lottery winner. They should have quit while they were ahead.
¢ Last summer's popcorn thrillers and raucous comedies are celebrated at the "2006 MTV Movie Awards" (8 p.m., MTV). Taped last weekend in Los Angeles, the festivities include quips and performances from Jessica Alba, Steve Carell and Christina Aguilera, and the awards show recalls such films as "Sin City," "The 40 Year Old Virgin" and "Wedding Crashers."
Tonight's other highlights
¢ Ricki Lake hosts "Gameshow Marathon" (7 p.m., CBS).
¢ Auditions continue on two episodes of "So You Think You Can Dance" (7 p.m., 8 p.m., ABC).
¢ Rochelle's father (Jimmie Walker) dies on "Everybody Hates Chris" (7 p.m., UPN).
¢ Grissom's team is documented as a reality show on "CSI" (8 p.m., CBS).
¢ On four episodes of "My Name is Earl" (NBC), free beer for a golfer (7 p.m.), the uninvited (7:30 p.m.) waiting for the end of the world (8 p.m.), second thoughts about lotto loot (8:30 p.m.).
¢ NBA Finals, game one (8 p.m., ABC).
¢ Laurie Metcalf guest stars on "Without a Trace" (9 p.m., CBS).