With "Runway" ratings now in its rearview mirror, Bravo announces "Funny Girls," a three-week festival of stand-up from female comics. Tonight's offering, "Joan Rivers: Before Melissa Pulls the Plug" (9 p.m., Bravo), reminds viewers that Joan Rivers has been making fun of her looks, her femininity and her age for years. Make that decades.
Rivers opens her routine with a tirade about hating old and ugly people, and it goes downhill from there. I have long found Rivers to be vulgar, loud and obvious, but you have to respect her staying power. She's been at it since the 1960s, having worked on "Candid Camera" and appearing on both "The Ed Sullivan Show" and Johnny Carson's "Tonight Show."
Like Cher, Don Rickles and the Rolling Stones, she's an ageless force of nature.
"Funny Girls" continues next Tuesday with Caroline Rhea. Paula Poundstone appears Nov. 7.
¢ Terrence Howard ("Hustle & Flow") hosts the fifth season of "Independent Lens" (8 p.m., PBS, check local listings). The series kicks off with "The World According to Sesame Street," a look at the promise and perils of producing the world's most popular kids show in foreign locales.
The program follows three producers from Sesame Workshop to Bangladesh, Kosovo and South Africa, where they customize "Sesame" with indigenous songs, puppets and lessons. The producers hope that love for Big Bird and other characters can reach children - particularly those in nation's torn by tribal warfare and ethnic strife - "before they can learn to hate."
Tonight's other highlights
¢ Outcasts (Wynona Rider and Christian Slater) challenge the social order of Westerberg High in the influential 1989 comedy "Heathers" (6 p.m., Lifetime).
¢ Can somebody explain why NBC is airing original episodes of "Friday Night Lights" (8 p.m., NBC) opposite the World Series?
¢ St. Louis hosts Detroit in Game 3 of the World Series (7 p.m., Fox).
¢ Tom Bergeron hosts "Dancing with the Stars" (7 p.m., ABC).
¢ Lorelai and Chris bicker at dinner on "Gilmore Girls" (7 p.m., CW).
¢ Logan suspects someone is stealing from his trust fund on "Veronica Mars" (8 p.m., CW).
¢ A barbecue is fraught with Freudian slips on "Help Me Help You" (8:30 p.m., ABC, TV-14).
¢ A defendant's father drops a bombshell on "Boston Legal" (9 p.m., ABC).
¢ "JonBenet: Who Killed the Pageant Queen?" (9 p.m., WE) recalls a murder from 1996.
The Killers perform on "Late Show with David Letterman" (10:35 p.m., CBS) ... Jay Leno hosts Sandra Bullock, Michael Caine and Chris Young on "The Tonight Show" (10:35 p.m., NBC) ... Robin Williams and Rod Stewart appear on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" (11:05 p.m., ABC) ... Josh Hartnett and Paget Brewster are booked on "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" (11:35 p.m., NBC) ... Craig Ferguson hosts Alan Arkin, Mr. T and Paul Haggis on "The Late, Late Show" (11:37 p.m., CBS).