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Yearwood inaugurates ‘The Chris Isaak Hour’

By Kevin McDonough

United Feature Syndicate

Chris Isaak gets his own TV show. In fact, "The Chris Isaak Hour" (9 p.m., Bio) is his second series. He starred in an underrated Showtime series some years back, a fictional comedy based on his true life that starred longtime members of his band, who return as part of his house band on the "Hour."

Isaak will chat and perform with a series of fellow musicians over the coming weeks, beginning tonight with Trisha Yearwood. Between solo numbers and duets with Chris, Yearwood recalls the years before fame. As a young girl, she was so certain she would be a singer that she asked for a tape recorder instead of a doll.

With the arrival of "Isaak," there are now two good cable series featuring musicians interviewing their colleagues. Chris’s folksy, conversational style is very different from the probing and well-thought out questions that Elvis Costello poses on "Spectacle" (7 p.m., Sundance, r). But both shows are rewarding in their own way and both put the emphasis on shared song. Look for Stevie Nicks, Smashing Pumpkins, Chicago, Glen Campbell, Michael Buble and Yusuf Islam (a.k.a. Cat Stevens) to join Isaak in the coming weeks.

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  • Celebrity interviews of a different sort dominate "Newbos: The Rise of America’s New Black Overclass" (8 p.m. and 1 a.m., CNBC). Lee Hawkins sits down with black artists, music producers and athletes who have turned sudden fame and riches into more enduring careers as entrepreneurs and philanthropists.

Topics range from the social dislocation of undreamed-of wealth, the responsibility to give back, and the pros and cons of conspicuous consumption.
Sudden wealth can turn family and friends into strangers and supplicants. When asked by Hawkins how often people call him up, not to ask for money, but "just to ask about you," baseball star Torii Hunter replies, "maybe once or twice a year."

Other highlights

  • The voice of Jack Black stars in the half-hour "Kung Fu Panda" animated special "Secrets of the Furious 5" (7 p.m., NBC, TV-PG).
  • Three singers advance on "American Idol" (7 p.m., Fox, TV-14).
  • Betty gets an ugly lesson in dollars and common sense on "Ugly Betty" (7 p.m., ABC, TV-PG).
  • Artists, activists and poets appear on "The Black List: Vol. 2" (7 p.m., HBO), to be interviewed by Elvis Mitchell and photographed by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders.
  • Three cases share a common link on "CSI" (8 p.m., CBS, TV-14,V).
  • A burglary inspires an auction on "The Office" (8 p.m., NBC, r, TV-14).
  • Jack’s schedule takes a toll on romance on "30 Rock" (8:30 p.m., NBC, TV-PG).
  • Lightning bolts hit 30 people on "Eleventh Hour" (9 p.m., CBS, TV-14,V).
  • Carter (Noah Wyle) finds it hard to adjust on "ER" (9 p.m., NBC, TV-14).
  • An old friend needs help on "Burn Notice" (9 p.m., USA, TV-PG,V).
  • Lou Diamond Phillips guest stars on "The Beast" (9 p.m., A&E, TV-14).

Series notes
Another torch extinguished on "Survivor" (7 p.m., CBS, TV-PG) … Cara returns on "Smallville" (7 p.m., CW, r, TV-14,L,V) … Kim needs help on "Kath & Kim" (7:30 p.m., NBC, TV-14) … Gordon Ramsay hosts "Hell’s Kitchen" (8 p.m., Fox, TV-14) … Meredith’s old friend joins the interns on "Grey’s Anatomy" (8 p.m., ABC, TV-14) … Hope springs eternal at the wishing well on "Supernatural" (8 p.m., CW, r, TV-14,D,L,V) … Violet contemplates a big change on "Private Practice" (9 p.m., ABC, TV-14).

Late night

Brian Williams is scheduled on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" (10 p.m., Comedy Central) … Joaquin Phoenix and Anthony Hamilton are booked on "Late Show with David Letterman" (10:35 p.m., CBS, r) … Jay Leno hosts Marisa Tomei, Dr. Grey Stafford and Ty Barnett on "The Tonight Show" (10:35 p.m., NBC, r) … Calista Flockhart and John Michael Higgins appear on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" (11:05 p.m., ABC) … Paul Rudd, John Stamos and Boz Scaggs chat on "Late Night with Conan O’Brien" (11:35 p.m., NBC, r).

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