In Henry James' short novel "Daisy Miller," a spirited American girl scandalizes society and comes to a grim end when she cavorts with the wrong sort in the ancient city of Rome. Nobody will be scandalized, and one presumes no one will succumb to vaporous miasmas, on "The Bachelor: Rome" (8 p.m., ABC). But it's amusing to think that Miller's great-great-great granddaughters have returned to the scene of her fatal faux pas.
The makers of this season's "Bachelor" have upped the romantic ante and increased the Cinderella factor. The object of desire is from royal blood. Prince Lorenzo Borghese may have descended from one of Rome's most illustrious families, but his folks left Italy when he was 2 and raised him as an all-American boy. His Italian vocabulary is limited to menu items.
But this matters little to the 25 "beauties" seeking his attention. As usual, the introductory party unfolds like a semi-formal meat market with a bevy of overripe cheerleaders in low-cut outfits flashing teeth and making awkward small talk with vigorous abandon. Borghese dispatches more than half of these damsels by the end of the 90-minute pilot.
There are a few standouts from the bland, blonde horde. Brunette Lisa charms her prince with a tree-hugging moment that may be a reality TV first. Erica, a "socialite" from Houston, sports a tiara, presumably to keep air from escaping her head. One can't help rooting for Gina, the working-class beauty from Chicago with the sad-eyed, voluptuous allure of a young Sophia Loren.
Watch this "Bachelor" for the scenery alone, for it's safe to assume that any "love match" will be transitory. The actual marriage rate for this exhibition is scandalously low. A winner on "The Bachelor" has about as much chance of staying married as Charlie Sheen.
Tonight's other highlights
¢ Al Pacino discusses his career on a two-hour helping of "Inside the Actors Studio" (6 p.m., Bravo).
¢ Robert Osbourne hosts child stars Darryl Hickman, Dick Moore, Jane Withers and Margaret O'Brien on "Private Screenings" (7 p.m., TCM).
¢ The new series "Classic Albums" (7 p.m., VH1 Classic) recalls pop culture when it revolved at 33-1/3. Tonight's focus: Elton John's "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road."
¢ Philadelphia hosts Green Bay in NFL action (7:30 p.m., ESPN).
¢ As if there weren't already enough "Heroes" (8 p.m., NBC), Greg Grunberg joins the cast as a police officer who can "hear" other people's thoughts.
¢ "American Experience" (8 p.m., PBS) repeats the acclaimed 1987 documentary history of the civil-rights era "Eyes on the Prize."
¢ The superior series "Six Feet Under" (8 p.m., Bravo) makes its basic-cable debut. A second episode follows (9:15 p.m.).
¢ Detective Tony Hill (Robson Green) returns in the fourth season of "Wire in the Blood" (8 p.m., BBC America).
¢ Boy-band crooners Nick and Aaron and their three sisters find themselves under the microscope in the new reality series "House of Carters" (8 p.m., E!).
¢ The network worries that the new team may be a flash in the pan on "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" (9 p.m., NBC).