Is celebrity a blessing or a curse? In the case of Kirstie Alley, star of “Cheers” and now a contestant on “Dancing with the Stars” (7 p.m., ABC), it’s begun to look a lot like the latter. She’s starred in one of the most successful sitcoms ever as well as “Star Trek II” and those hugely popular “Look Who’s Talking” movies. Heck, she even had a decent run on “Veronica’s Closet.” Most mere mortals would consider that a lifetime of attention. But for some, too much is never enough.
In 2005 Alley lampooned her larger-than-life image in “Fat Actress.” Not remotely funny. Five years later, she tried to do the same in a reality format with “Kirstie Alley’s Big Life.” She spent most of her time complaining about her treatment in the tabloids. Big bore was more like it.
Which brings us to her role on “Dancing with the Stars,” one of the most tabloid-attentive shows of all. It’s also the most formulaically cast. Alley will be playing the presumably out-of-shape middle-aged character, pioneered by John O’Hurley on the show’s first season. Anything she does short of dying on live television will be considered a victory for people of her age and size.
Per usual, “Dancing” will feature some professional athletes, including boxer Sugar Ray Leonard, NFL star Hines Ward and professional wrestler Chris Jericho. It also has two talk show personalities, Mike Catherwood from radio and TV’s Wendy Williams. Most seasons bring a fresh young face from ABC’s cable cousin the Disney Channel, and this time Chelsea Kane (“Fish Hooks”) fills that bill. This year’s model Petra Nemcova hopes she doesn’t follow season four’s Paulina Porizkova’s example and become the first to be evicted.
Every season brings a dollop of soft-core sleaze, and this time it comes in the shape of Kendra Wilkinson, star of the depressing and banal Hugh Hefner series “The Girls Next Door.” The world of rap music brings us Romeo. And Kirstie Alley is not the only 1980s fixture featured here; she’ll be joined by Ralph Macchio, star of the “Karate Kid” movies.
Good luck to one and all.
• “Triangle: Remembering the Fire” (8 p.m., HBO) documents the 1911 conflagration that claimed the lives of 146 garment workers, mostly young women. It also recalls a time when unions were considered criminal organizations, government regulations dismissed as “socialism” or worse, and when immigrants were denounced as a menace. We’ve come so far since then.
Tonight’s other highlights
• A homeless patient resists prognosis on “House” (7 p.m., Fox).
• Thomas confides in Sophia on “The Event” (8 p.m., NBC).
• FBI interference causes static on “The Chicago Code” (8 p.m., Fox).
• A would-be superhero expires on “Hawaii Five-O” (9 p.m., CBS).
• A friend in need on “Harry’s Law” (9 p.m., NBC).
• A case comes to resemble a soap opera on “Castle” (9 p.m., ABC).
The lives of Turkish immigrants in Germany intersect in unexpected ways in the 2007 film “The Edge of Heaven” (7 p.m. Sundance).