E! offers a countdown of pop phenomena of the past 20 years on “15 Awesomest Boy Bands” (8 p.m.). Some groups have endured and others have melted away faster than an ice cream cone in the July sun.
After a brief, blessed run of years when manufactured boy bands seemed to be in eclipse, One Direction arrived on our shores.
“Awesomest” recalls some of the genre’s venerable figures, like New Kids on the Block and New Edition, and it shares a wealth of musical clips from the turn of the last century.
Look for insights from members of 98 Degrees, Backstreet Boys, LFO, One Direction and Color Me Badd about the travails of performing for screaming preadolescent girls. Leesa Coble, editor in chief of Tiger Beat magazine, sums up the music and its enduring appeal: “As long as there are teenaged girls, there will always be boy bands.”
In that spirit, “History Detectives” (8 p.m. and 9 p.m., PBS, check local listings) continues to major in nostalgia with a minor in pop music history. On the first helping, an Ampeg B-15 amplifier reveals its storied history. In the second episode, country singer Clint Black has some questions about his book of 19th-century wanted posters.
• Historians and law enforcement officials discuss “The Godfather Legacy” (8 p.m., History) and ways that the fabled Mario Puzo gangster novel and its three big-screen adaptations reflected real life and even influenced subsequent criminal behavior.
Tonight’s other highlights
• Twelve acts perform on “America’s Got Talent” (7 p.m., NBC).
• Communication is key on “Hell’s Kitchen” (7 p.m., Fox).
• Hayden Panettiere stars in the 2011 Lifetime movie “Amanda Knox: Murder on Trial in Italy” (7 p.m. and 9 p.m., BIO) ripped from years of headlines.
• The top half-dozen return on “MasterChef” (8 p.m., Fox).
• Abby’s debut could have gone better on “The L.A. Complex” (8 p.m., CW).
• The guys discover a long-missing thief on “White Collar” (8 p.m., USA).
• Jenny McCarthy hosts the season finale of “Love in the Wild” (9 p.m., NBC). That was quick.
• Medical emergencies and hospital melodramas loom large on “NY Med” (9 p.m., ABC).