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Archive for Thursday, February 26, 2009

Yearwood kicks off ‘Chris Isaak Hour’

February 26, 2009

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Chris Isaak gets his own TV show. In fact, “The Chris Isaak Hour” (9 p.m., Bio) is his second series. He starred in an underrated Showtime series some years back, a fictional comedy based on his true life that starred longtime members of his band, who return as part of his house band on the “Hour.”

Isaak will chat and perform with a series of fellow musicians over the coming weeks, beginning tonight with Trisha Yearwood. Between solo numbers and duets with Chris, Yearwood recalls the years before fame. As a young girl, she was so certain she would be a singer that she asked for a tape recorder instead of a doll.

With the arrival of “Isaak,” there are now two good cable series featuring musicians interviewing their colleagues. Chris’s folksy, conversational style is very different from the probing and well-thought out questions that Elvis Costello poses on “Spectacle” (7 p.m., Sundance). But both shows are rewarding in their own way and both put the emphasis on shared song. Look for Stevie Nicks, Smashing Pumpkins, Chicago, Glen Campbell, Michael Buble and Yusuf Islam (a.k.a. Cat Stevens) to join Isaak in the coming weeks.

• Celebrity interviews of a different sort dominate “Newbos: The Rise of America’s New Black Overclass” (8 p.m. and 12 a.m., CNBC). Lee Hawkins sits down with black artists, music producers and athletes who have turned sudden fame and riches into more enduring careers as entrepreneurs and philanthropists.

Topics range from the social dislocation of undreamed-of wealth, the responsibility to give back, and the pros and cons of conspicuous consumption.

Sudden wealth can turn family and friends into strangers and supplicants. When asked by Hawkins how often people call him up, not to ask for money, but “just to ask about you,” baseball star Tori Hunter replies, “maybe once or twice a year.”

Tonight’s other highlights

• The voice of Jack Black stars in the half-hour “Kung Fu Panda” animated special “Secrets of the Furious 5” (7 p.m., NBC).

• Three singers advance on “American Idol” (7 p.m., Fox).

• Betty gets an ugly lesson in dollars and common sense on “Ugly Betty” (7 p.m., ABC).

l Artists, activists and poets appear on “The Black List: Vol. 2” (7 p.m., HBO), to be interviewed by Elvis Mitchell and photographed by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders.

• Three cases share a common link on “CSI” (8 p.m., CBS).

• New evidence arrives on “Sin City Law” (8 p.m., Sundance).

• Jack’s schedule takes a toll on romance on “30 Rock” (8:30 p.m., NBC).

• Lightening bolts hit 30 people on “Eleventh Hour” (9 p.m., CBS).

• Carter (Noah Wyle) finds it hard to adjust on “ER” (9 p.m., NBC).

• An old friend needs help on “Burn Notice” (9 p.m., USA).

• Lou Diamond Phillips guest stars on “The Beast” (9 p.m., A&E).

• Young researchers span the globe in search of vanishing languages on “The Linguists” (9 p.m., PBS, check local listings).

Cult choice

A nosy detective (Jack Nicholson) unearths a water scandal in the 1974 mystery “Chinatown” (11:15 p.m., TCM), directed by Roman Polanski.

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