The Ricky Gervais Show

Ricky Gervais Show
9/8c HBO
Sometimes it's hard to figure out which is funnier: the bizarre ravings and expositions of Karl Pilkington; or the high-pitched cackle of Ricky Gervais in response. Fortunately, there's plenty of both in the second-season premiere, especially in a lengthy bit as Karl describes his pitch to a movie studio about a psychological thriller starring Rebecca De Mornay and...Clive Warren? From there it's on to Karl's diary, which includes entries about Australia, camping and humanitarian pursuits. — Joe Friedrich

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ESPN Town Hall Meeting: Image of the Black Athlete
6/5c ESPN
In its occasional detours from the event-driven-programming super highway, ESPN has been know to make wrong turns like The Decision. A more promising excursion is this week's "Content of Character" initiative, highlighted by tonight's assembling of an intriguing panel in Atlanta to discuss the contemporary image of the black athlete. Panelists include columnist Michael Wilbon; Memphis basketball coach John Calipari; former Olympian and current WNBA player Marion Jones; former Miami football coach Randy Shannon; and filmmaker Spike Lee. Robin Roberts of Good Morning America and Bob Ley of Outside the Lines serve as hosts. — Roger Leister

Suite Life on Deck
8/7c Disney
Beginning tonight, the series airs a three-part episode (Parts 2 and 3 air over the next two evenings at 8/7c) in which Bailey returns to her hometown to celebrate her grandmother's 90th birthday, only to witness the destruction of her family's beloved farm. But the first part also centers on a ship visit by Moseby's brother, who turns out to be NBA player Dwight Howard. And he brings with him fellow pros Deron Williams and Kevin Love. Of course, Zack and Cody challenge them to a basketball game. Not a great idea. — Tim Holland

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16th Annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards
9/8c VH1
Maroon 5 serves as the house band for the 16th annual event, which honors Quentin Tarantino with the first-ever Music+Film Award as well as Matt Damon with the Joel Siegel Award, given to honor philanthropy. Black Swan leads all films with 12 nominations, while The King's Speech and True Grit follow with 11 nominations each. — Fred Mitchell

Say Yes to the Dress
9/8c TLC
In the first of two new episodes, blonde bombshell Syndal Gorden searches for a dress that will knock it out of the park when she walks down the aisle to wed MLB pitcher Chad Gaudin, who used to play for the New York Yankees. In the second episode, a former Miss Delaware comes to Kleinfeld's with a large entourage that includes her father, Mark, the "ultimate pageant dad." — Karen Kelty

Real Time with Bill Maher
10/9c HBO
Ever since November's elections, Maher has probably been gearing up to criticize the 112th Congress and its Republican majority in the House. But in light of last weekend's shootings in Tucson, he's likely to make the current state of political discourse the main topic. Scheduled to join him for tonight's ninth-season premiere are political analyst James Carville, journalist Chrystia Freeland, political consultant Mike Murphy, actor-comedian Martin Short and White House adviser Elizabeth Warren. — Joe Friedrich

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Gold Rush: Alaska
10/9c Discovery
You didn't think a reality show about some hard-on-their-luck types digging for gold in Alaska was going to go smoothly, did you? Our working-class heroes face adversity in the forms of an equipment malfunction that brings mining operations to a standstill and a crew member's collapse, and Jimmy Dorsey pays an unexpected price for taking on an extra job. — Michael Chant