Archive for Thursday, November 6, 2008

MTV offers the Cent of desperation

November 6, 2008


Everybody on reality TV wants to mentor. "50 Cent - The Money and the Power" (9 p.m., MTV) invites 14 aspiring entrepreneurs to learn life and business lessons from the rapper behind the 2005 release "Get Rich or Die Tryin.'" We have to hope there will be a greater chance of the former than the latter.

According to the network, the contestants will compete in "various street-smart, hustler-driven challenges." I guess that means they won't be selling lemonade, as they once did on "The Apprentice."

"Mr. Cent" wants to teach them the ropes and impart some of the wisdom that took him from "the street" to the corridors of corporate power. His public resume includes time spent as a drug dealer. He claims to have been shot nine times.

¢ A musical mentor of another stripe appears on "Iconoclast" (9 p.m., Sundance), the series that follows two celebrities from different fields as they spend time together and say nice things about each other. Tonight's love-fest features TV talk show host Bill Maher and longtime music producer Clive Davis.

¢ Murder and mayhem may be too rampant on TV and too common in real life. But matricide is rare. For a son to kill, or try to kill, his mother strikes a chord straight out of ancient myth or epic tragedy. The excellent film "Knee Deep" on "Independent Lens" (9 p.m., PBS, check local listings) looks at a peculiarly sad story.

Raised in rural Maine, Josh Osborne was always told that the farm would be his one day. Devoted to his father and the hard life of a dairy farmer, Josh dropped out of school after the sixth grade and worked 18-hour days, seven days a week in the knowledge that he was building his future.

So, after his father died and his estranged mother returned with plans to liquidate the property, the isolated and frightened Josh took desperate measures to defend the only life he'd ever known.

"Knee Deep" is remarkable not only for its extraordinary story, but for the frank honesty of Josh's friends, girlfriend and neighbors, who all offer different shades of sympathy and perspective.

Tonight's other highlights

¢ Virginia Tech hosts Maryland in football action (6:30 p.m., ESPN).

¢ Joy sets her sights on winning a science fair on "My Name is Earl" (7 p.m., NBC).

¢ Betty covets her neighbor's attention on "Ugly Betty" (7 p.m., ABC).

¢ Alyson Hannigan ("How I Met Your Mother") plays a big fat Greek punch line in the 2006 cinema spoof "Date Movie" (7 p.m., FX).

¢ Lady Heather offers advice about an unlikely suspect on "CSI" (8 p.m., CBS).

¢ Angela and Andy choose a venue for their big day on "The Office" (8 p.m., NBC).

¢ Liz seeks wisdom from Oprah (who appears as herself) on "30 Rock" (8:30 p.m., NBC).

¢ An epidemic looms on "Eleventh Hour" (9 p.m., CBS).

¢ Morris becomes a mentor on "ER" (9 p.m., NBC).

¢ A brutal murder sparks a riot atmosphere on "Life on Mars" (9 p.m., ABC).

¢ "Cities of the Underworld" (9 p.m., History) explores the labyrinth of tunnels and bunkers built by the Japanese during World War II to defend Okinawa.

Cult choice

The 1979 drama "The Warriors" (2:15 a.m., TCM) worried some viewers that it would be seen as a celebration of gang violence. The 1961 musical "West Side Story" (4 a.m.) offered a more stylized and choreographed view of turf wars.


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