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A select viewing guide for Friday November 23

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DESIGN Extreme Homes (HGTV, 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.) And you thought your house was an eyesore? Running four straight hours tonight, this series from the American HGTV cable channel profiles people who prefer to live in bizarre homes that would have Frank Lloyd Wright running for the hills. The marathon begins with a trip to Switzerland where a family resides in a domicile greatly resembling a large glass box. Next stop: Arkansas, where a man has remodeled a cave very much like the hideout of legendary outlaw Jesse James. And be amazed by facsimile of an Egyptian pyramid that houses a family in the middle of rural Ohio.

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CONSUMER Marketplace (CBC, 8 p.m.) Beware of smiling tradesmen with pricey estimates. Last season, Marketplace arranged the hidden-camera experiment on garage-repair companies, and naturally some of them attempted the old ripoff routine. In tonight’s new episode, Tom Harrington puts the same companies to the test again. Have the crooks learned a lesson or reverted to their old ways? There’s no chance anybody will be surprised by the results.

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CARTOON It’s a Spongebob Christmas (CBS, YTV, 9:30 p.m.) Does watching cartoons actually lower intelligence? According to a study published last year by the American Academy of Pediatrics, four-year-old children who watched nine minutes of Spongebob Squarepants scored lower in mental function tests than kids who watched educational programming like PBS’s Caillou. Take the test tonight in this new holiday special that is animated in stop-motion style in the manner of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. The story finds the resident villain Plankton attempting, for the millionth time, to steal the formula for the delicious Krabby Patty by feeding everyone Christmas fruitcake laced with “jerktonium.” I feel dumber already.

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NEWS Person to Person (CBS, 10 p.m.) CBS returns to its broadcast roots with the resurrection of this series that first ran 1953 to 1961. The original show’s format involved host Edward R. Murrow being invited into the home of Hollywood celebrities and politicians for informal chats. This time around, we have PBS fixture Charlie Rose sitting down with actor Sean Penn and CBS reporter Lara Logan nodding while singer Alicia Keys explains how motherhood has made her a better person.

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MOVIE Bullets Over Broadway (Vision, midnight) In between the dreary Manhattan Murder Mystery and the self-loathing Mighty Aphrodite, writer-director Woody Allen delivered one of the best movies of his career. Set in the late twenties, the story casts John Cusack as the playwright David Shayne, who is forced to adjust his usual artistic pretensions when backing for his latest play goes out the window. A New York mobster named Nick (Joe Viterelli) agrees to fund the show, providing his dense, talentless girlfriend Olive (Jennifer Tilly) receives the lead role. Adding insult to injury, David discovers that Olive’s thuggish bodyguard Cheech (Chazz Palminteri) is more skilled as a playwright. Dianne Wiest earned an Oscar for her portrayal of a tempermental stage star.

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