While some wonder which shows will return next fall, the special “Stay Tuned: The Future of TV” (8 p.m., CNBC) takes a longer view. Hosted by Julia Boorstin, it presents interviews with media giants about the evolution of entertainment, advertising and media.
While new sets allow viewers to connect their personal computers to TV monitors, it’s clear that this convergence is in its infancy. Will the next big step come from a fancy new gadget introduced by a company like Apple? Or some new must-see offering from a place like YouTube?
The future may be uncertain, but we do know the current situation is confusing and expensive.
At a time when cable (or satellite) fees have never been higher, these services have never seemed more dispensable or replaceable. Sadly, but not unexpectedly, many cable networks have responded to the threat of lost viewers not by creating “must-see” offerings, but by circling the creative wagons with mindlessly derivative and unoriginal programming.
How else to explain the sheer number of copycat series about bidding on storage lockers? About Italian-American stereotypes behaving badly, or redneck stereotypes falling into swamps? About cooking competitions erupting in obscene tirades? Once-smart networks like A&E;, History and National Geographic have doubled down on stupidity, superstition and the apocalyptic paranoia of doomsday preparation spectacles. Then there’s the predictably sad spotlight on sideshow behavior (toddler beauty pageants, spectacularly obese people, polygamy and tattoo parlors). Or, as I like to call it, the TLC schedule.
Tonight’s other highlights
• Brennan can’t help but meddle on the set of the movie adaptation of her life on “Bones” (7 p.m., Fox).
• Martha Stewart guest-stars on the season finale of “2 Broke Girls” (7 p.m., CBS).
• “24/7 Wild” (8 p.m., National Geographic Wild) documents more than 150 species — presented in real time — in their natural habitat.
• An ailing fellow doctor thinks he knows too much to be diagnosed on “House” (8 p.m., Fox).
• Wo Fat and McGarrett become targets of the same organization on “Hawaii Five-O” (9 p.m., CBS).
• Out-of-town previews don’t go smoothly on “Smash” (9 p.m., NBC).
• Beckett pursues her attacker on “Castle” (9 p.m., ABC).