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Archive for Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Has Elvis ever left the building?

September 18, 2007

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Thirty years and a month or so after his death, ABC pays tribute to the king of rock and roll with the two-hour musical special "Elvis: Viva Las Vegas" (8 p.m., ABC). "Viva" combines previously unscreened clips of Presley concert performances with covers of his hits by singers Toby Keith, Joe Perry, Chris Isaak and Brandi Carlile.

Paul McCartney and Willie Nelson recall his influence on their careers, and younger artists, including 50 Cent, Beyonce, Celine Dion and Faith Hill, discuss his enduring legacy.

Is Presley's Las Vegas era something to be celebrated or mourned? Was it a chance for him to reinvent himself and reach his fans? Or a sad final stay in the Heartbreak Hotel?

Fans of Presley's latter period should buy, rent or borrow the 1970 documentary "Elvis: That's the Way It Is," a look at the king as he plans and rehearses the routines that would constitute his nightclub act. It presents a fascinating glance at the artist during a crucial stage in his career (as well as in the development of Las Vegas) during one of its many moments of metamorphoses.

¢ On another side of the musical spectrum, "Live from Lincoln Center" (7 p.m., PBS, check local listings) enters its 32nd season with live coverage of the New York Philharmonic's opening-night concert. Philharmonic music director Lorin Maazel will conduct the orchestra as it features cellist Yo-Yo Ma, in an evening of works by Antonin Dvorak.

¢ "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel" (9 p.m., HBO) recalls the 1972 crash of the plane carrying Uruguay's rugby team. It became one of the most macabre stories to rock the world of sports and popular culture.

Stranded for 72 days, the survivors endured freezing weather and avalanches and avoided starvation by eating the only food at hand - the flesh of their dead teammates. This tale of human endurance would inspire several screen adaptations: the Mexican film "Survive" in 1976 and "Alive" in 1993, starring Ethan Hawke and Vincent Spano.

In other segments, Gumbel interviews Eagles' quarterback Donovan McNabb and looks at the lives and deaths of two pro wrestlers.

¢ The documentary "Lumo" on "P.O.V." (9 p.m., PBS, check local listings) follows a woman from the Congo, hospitalized after being brutally raped by soldiers terrorizing her village. A portrait of human strength, love and generosity in the face of despair, "Lumo" offers a spotlight on the Congo's place in Africa's genocidal wars.

¢ Can genius be nurtured? "Brain Child" (9 p.m., National Geographic) spends time with a remarkable 2-year-old musical prodigy as well as children who were deprived of social and mental stimulation and who have paid a tragic price.

Tonight's other highlights

¢ Foreman plans to wrap things up on "House" (7 p.m., Fox).

¢ Unlikely collaborations on a two-hour season premiere of "Beauty and the Geek" (7 p.m., CW).

¢ Uneasy police partners unravel a dark conspiracy in New Orleans on the repeat season premiere of "K-Ville" (8 p.m., Fox).

¢ Mike and his crew glance back at their favorite "Dirty Jobs" (8 p.m., Discovery).

¢ A man-eater emerges on "Eureka" (8 p.m., Sci Fi).

¢ An associate (Chris "Ludacris" Bridges) of Fin's son goes on trial for murder on "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (9 p.m., NBC).

¢ Patty scrambles to block Frobisher's move on "Damages" (9 p.m., FX).

Cult choice

A shattered ex-cop (Jimmy Stewart) falls for a femme fatale (Kim Novak) with links to a ghost in the 1958 mystery "Vertigo" (7 p.m., AMC). It's part of a weeklong prime-time festival of Alfred Hitchcock favorites.

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