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Archive for Friday, October 2, 2009

Quiz show dedicated to paying off debt

October 2, 2009

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Forget “Who Wants to be a Millionaire.” Now it’s who wants to get out of debt. The new game show “Pay it Off” (9 p.m., BET) becomes the first prime-time quiz show dedicated to helping contestants get out from under the burden of student loans, medical bills or the revolving door of credit card payments.

“Living Single” star Kim Coles does a good job as an encouraging, cheerful and empathetic host, but she performs with a brisk efficiency. Don’t go looking for Regis Philbin’s patented time-wasting hesitations. Maybe you can afford to agonize over your final answer when times are flush. Coles brings an all-business approach to the proceedings, as if to say, “Move it along, there are plenty more people with bills to pay!”

• You can be forgiven for thinking that “’Til Death” (7:30 p.m., Fox) had already been canceled. It’s one of those series that comes and goes from the schedule, losing a little more audience as it proceeds.

Tonight’s season opener hearkens back to “All in the Family” material as daughter Ally (Lindsey Broad) returns from a trip to Ecuador filled with tree-hugging attitudes and married to a flaky Doug (Tim Sharp), who plays Meathead to Eddie’s (Brad Garrett) Archie. It’s about as original as it sounds.

• Not unlike a sitcom that won’t go away, “Stargate” has morphed into a new generation, “Stargate Universe” (8 p.m., SyFy), kicking off with a two-hour premiere.

In this iteration, a group of soldiers, scientists and explorers uses the mystic portal to escape an enemy attack only to arrive on an ancient unmanned vessel on a mysterious course and perilously low on air, water, food and resources. Look for Robert Carlyle (“Trainspotting”), Lou Diamond Phillips (“La Bamba”) and Ming Na (“ER”) right out of the gate.

• A new series examining film genres, “A Night at the Movies” (7 p.m., TCM) kicks off with a look at the evolution of the screen thriller from Alfred Hitchcock to “Silence of the Lambs” and beyond.

Tonight’s other highlights

• “Friday Night SmackDown!” (7 p.m., MyNetwork) celebrates its first decade.

• Stranded on a desert island on “Suite Life on Deck: Lost at Sea” (7 p.m., Disney).

• “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” (7 p.m., Cartoon Network) enters a second season.

• Adrien Brody, Beyonce and Mos Def star in the 2008 musical history “Cadillac Records” (7:10 p.m., Starz).

• Alison blames a change in Ariel on a rogue spirit on “Medium” (8 p.m., CBS).

• “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea” (7 p.m., PBS, check local listings) concludes with a look at the popularization of the parks during the middle of the 20th century.

• Graham Norton, Verne Troyer, Armstrong and Miller and Shakira appear on “Friday Night With Jonathan Ross” (8 p.m., BBC America).

• The weight loss series “Diet Tribe” (8 p.m., Lifetime) enters its second season.

• Fastidious brides sweat the small stuff on “Wedded to Perfection” (9 p.m., TLC).

• Talents vie for the perfect pour on “Bartender Wars” (9:30 p.m., Fine Living Network).

Cult choice

A washed-up ex-football star (Anthony Quinn) falls in with beatniks and hep cats in “The Wild Party” (2:30 a.m., TCM), a jazz-drenched period piece from 1956.

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