Toddlers & Tiaras
TLC, 7 p.m. ET; 4 p.m. PT
Now in its fifth season, this bizarre series about very young kids competing in beauty pageants made headlines recently – and not in a good way. Rhode Island native Susanna Barrett recently turned up on The View to complain about the manner in which she and daughter Isabella, 5, were portrayed earlier this season (Isabella wore makeup and shimmied to LMFAO’s I’m Sexy and I Know It). Barrett also updated viewers on her intent to sue TMZ and other media outlets for allegedly sexualizing her daughter. TLC responded with a statement claiming Barrett has repeatedly requested another appearance on the program. Tonight’s show captures the heated competition at the Precious Moments Pageant, with the main event being a showdown between pageant veteran Heaven and underdog Alana, both aged 6. Heaven help us.
PBS, 8 p.m. ET/PT
In the animal kingdom, the mighty bear is regarded as a success story of evolution. There are only eight individual species of bear on the planet and each one has demonstrated it can adapt to virtually any environment. This Emmy-winning nature series devotes the next three weeks to bear programming, starting with tonight’s special following ecologist Chris Morgan deep into the Alaskan wilderness to study the great lumbering beasts in their natural habitat. The program features remarkable footage of tender moments between a mother grizzly bear and her newborn cub, and also terrifying scenes of male bears battling during mating season.
Bravo!, 9 p.m. ET; 11 p.m. PT
Viewers still love the Ewing clan. The U.S. cable channel TNT has already bestowed a second-season renewal to this remake of the eighties series, which is averaging nearly seven-million viewers for its first four episodes. Give the credit to the show’s creators, who have remained true to the original Dallas concept of merging lifestyles of the rich and famous with lurid soap-opera plot lines. In tonight’s episode, the still-scheming J.R. Ewing (Larry Hagman) enlists his son John Ross (Josh Henderson) to do his dirty work, while J.R.’s still painfully earnest brother Bobby (Patrick Duffy) is distraught that wife Ann (Brenda Strong) went outside the family to deal with a personal problem. Feels like old times, y’all.
TLC, 10 p.m. ET; 9 p.m. PT
Get out the pom-poms. TLC is airing this program set in the world of competitive cheerleading as a one-off special, but if the ratings are strong, count on it becoming a weekly series. And because every good reality show requires a central hero/villain, the show focuses sharply on professional coach Alisha Dunlap, who demands absolute perfection from the young athletes performing handsprings and roundoffs at her cheerleading boot camp. Of course, everyone involved takes it way too seriously and two mothers almost come to blows in tonight’s special, while one of the young cheerleaders is reduced to tears.
TCM, 10:15 p.m. ET; 7:15 p.m. PT
Still the best movie ever made about baseball (with Field of Dreams a distant second), this 1984 drama gave Robert Redford one of his most memorable screen roles. The story opens in 1923 with Redford as the young pitching sensation Roy Hobbs (use your imagination to accept Redford playing a 19-year-old). Roy strikes out a baseball legend at a state fair and is promptly seduced and then shot by a femme fatale (Barbara Hershey). Fast-forward to 1939 and Hobbs is a rookie prospect with the floundering New York Knights, much to the chagrin of the team’s cynical manager, Pop (Wilford Brimley). Corny and contrived, but still less predictable than a Blue Jays game.