Archive for Friday, January 8, 2010

Entrepreneurial strivers dive in

January 8, 2010

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As summer series go, “Shark Tank” (8 p.m., ABC) was refreshingly void of the kindergarten-level yucks of “Wipeout” or the amped-up and ego-driven histrionics of most reality fare. In fact, the most dumbed-down aspect to this entertaining business series was its meaningless and misleading title.

On “Shark Tank,” eager entrepreneurs bring their inventions and schemes before a panel of successful business types, including real estate executive Barbara Corcoran, “infomercial” industry pioneer Kevin Harrington, technology innovator Robert Herjavec, fashion icon Daymond John and financial expert Kevin O’Leary.

The experts not only offer feedback and advice, but often offer to invest in firms they find attractive. They’re hardly minnows, but don’t go looking for any predatory man-eaters here.

The guest entrepreneurs range from the inventive to the delusional. Tonight’s prospects describe projects including a daycare center, a new salad dressing, a high-tech bike helmet and a new variation on the golf-ball washing machine.

Not every proposal is a hit, and some of the reactions can be brutally frank, but “Tank” remains mercifully free of the manufactured nonsense that ruined “The Apprentice” a long, long time ago.

• A regular fake correspondent on “The Daily Show” gets his own series, “John Oliver’s New York Stand-Up Show” (10 p.m., Comedy Central). Oliver has cornered the market as the loud and slightly exasperated Brit trying to school Americans in the ways of his native land, or as a foreign observer trying rather feebly to make sense of the Yanks and their curious habits.

Oliver’s extended stand-up efforts often make me better appreciate the “The Daily Show,” where Oliver’s antics are limited to short bites. Oliver will be joined by comedians including Paul F. Tompkins, Janeane Garofalo, Kristen Schaal and Eugene Mirman.

• The King is gone, but he’s not forgotten. Priscilla Presley joins Robert Osborne on a 20-hour movie tribute to Elvis on what would have been his 75th birthday. Highlights include “Elvis: That’s the Way it Is” (9 p.m., TCM), a documentary look at Presley preparing for a 1970 Las Vegas concert series, capturing the singer rehearsing and performing and kidding around, poised between his 1968 comeback and the precipitous decline still to come.

• Charo guests stars on “The Suite Life on Deck” (7:30 p.m., Disney). Who’s Charo? If you have to ask ....

• Dan Aykroyd serves a guest judge on “Bartender Wars” (9:30 p.m., Fine Living Network).

Tonight’s other highlights

• A spirit’s static haunts a radio station on “Ghost Whisperer” (7 p.m., CBS).

• Scheduled on “Dateline” (7 p.m., NBC): an interview with David Goldman about his protracted international custody battle.

• Intent on raising a “real” boy, a father turns his 10-year-old into a foul-mouthed bigot who spouts hurtful, hateful epithets he only dimly understands on “Supernanny” (7 p.m., ABC). Can Jo Frost save this young man from a career in talk radio?

• After a murder suspect winds up dead, his ghost tries to help Allison clear his name on “Medium” (8 p.m., CBS).

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