Jeopardy! (Syndicated, check local tvguide.com listings, Monday-Wednesday)
We'll take "The Future Is Now" for $1 million, Alex. In a stunt that pits man against machine, TV's smartest quiz show challenges two of its most celebrated champs — Ken Jennings of the longest winning streak (74 games) and biggest money earner Brad Rutter ($3.2 million) — to go up against the IBM supercomputer known as "Watson" (and the subject of a recent PBS Nova documentary). Watson is programmed to pick up on language tricks including puns and turns of phrase. But is he/it fast enough to win the day? Two games will be played over three nights, and the answer is: Best. Sweeps. Stunt. Ever.
Survivor: Redemption Island (Wednesday, 8/7c, CBS)
Is it that "Boston" Rob Mariano and Russell Hantz can't get enough of Survivor, or that Survivor can't get enough of two of its most notorious players? The two veteran schemers face off on separate tribes — it's Rob's fourth try, and Russell's third, and neither have won the grand prize yet — but how long will the newbies keep them around? As Rob and Russell seek their own brand of redemption — maybe a reality intervention is in order? — the 16 other Nicaragua castaways are confronted with a new twist: "Redemption Island," where contestants go once they're voted off, and after the next Tribal Council, square off in a duel with the next ejected player. They're fighting for a chance to return to the game later in the season. That ought to shake things up.
Law & Order: SVU (Wednesday, 10/9c, NBC)
One of NBC's biggest comedy stars of recent years — Emmy winner Debra Messing (Will & Grace) — takes a spin on the dark side in SVU's latest high-profile casting coup. She plays the activist host of a Neighborhood Predator TV series, and when she begins getting personal threats, Benson and Tutola take the case, only to discover that she has an old friend in the District Attorney's office: volatile ADA Sonya Paxton (Christine Lahti), who may be getting too personally involved.
CSI (Thursday, 9/8c, CBS)
It might be easier to find a show where teen pop idol Justin Bieber hasn't turned up lately. He makes his second appearance on the crime drama as a troubled teen whose brother was shot by Nick Stokes in the season premiere. He calls Nick to tell him that his life is in danger. Also back to creep everyone out: the psycho "Dick & Jane" serial killer Nate Haskell (Bill Irwin), who stabbed Langston in last season's cliffhanger finale. Now it's payback time, as Langston testifies against the fiend. In other CBS procedural news, The Mentalist (10/9c) finds Agent Hightower joining Patrick Jane in the field for the first time, after Lisbon is injured in the investigation of a prospector's murder near a mining site.
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