I've mostly stopped complaining about or even marveling at the continued success of Dancing With the Stars, which crowns its sixth champion tonight (ABC, 9 PM), preceded by a repeat of last night's final performance show). People clearly enjoy watching the once-famous or famous-only-to-a-subgroup (Cristian de la Fuente and Jason Taylor would qualify here) learning how to perform ballroom dances, and the formula isn't showing much wear and tear, possibly because the amateur dancers aren't around long enough for us to get tired of them, and the show (unlike American Idol) wisely downplays the role of its judges.
DWTS has a long history of "surprising" outcomes, where the dancer perceived as the leader all season long is nipped at the wire (Mario Lopez grumbles about it to this day). More notably, there has not been a female winner since Kelly Monaco in Season One, an oversight attributed to both the traditional male leadership role in ballroom dancing and to the desire of the female audience for the show to keep the hot male celebs on as long as possible. But this might be the season that ends the streak: Kristi Yamaguchi has been so far and away the best that it's hard to imagine there are enough Miami Dolphins fans out there to stop her. Besides, she's an athlete too, and that's been as helpful as merely being a guy.
American Idol (Fox, 8 PM): David Archuleta vs. David Cook: the elfin balladeer against the haircut-challenged grunge knockoff. The final performance show of the season is always highlighted, if that's the right word, by the revelation of the winners' single, which is usually something icky-sweet enough to make Mister Rogers' teeth rot out of his head, even as he is spinning in his grave.
NCIS (CBS, 8 PM): Word is that a series regular dies in tonight's two-hour finale, and there's a further complication near the conclusion. Another death? I haven't recovered yet from last night's House, which had me, um, dealing with the sudden flare-up of a medical condition that causes my eyes to water uncontrollably.
Raw Nature (Animal Planet, 8 PM): A zookeeper who has been mauled by a tapir heads to Costa Rica to see one in the wild. Tapir can maul people? They look so harmless. Also, we learn about the mating behavior of howler monkeys, and Australian officials battle crocodiles.
Spice Up My Kitchen (HGTV, 8:30 PM): Dealing with a kitchen that is not just unattractive, but is literally unsafe, complete with exposed wires.
Not Going Out (BBC America, 8:40 PM): Yes, that's a correct starting time: crazy Brits. This sitcom concerns Lee, a likable if somewhat unmotivated man whose new roommate Kate is the American ex-girlfriend of his best friend. Tonight, Lee goes classy and dates an author, while Kate tries her hand at clown school. She obviously is in no hurry for a new relationship.
Deadliest Catch (Discovery, 9 PM): King crab season is winding down; the Northwestern is plagued by errors; Phil Harris's future on the Cornelia Marie looks iffy.
Hell's Kitchen (Fox, 9 PM): Are you kidding me? Someone else is injured while working on a challenge, which requires the chefs to use 20 specific ingredients to create four dishes.
Left For Dead: Miracle On Everest (National Geographic, 9 PM): The story of climber Lincoln Hall, who suffered altitude sickness during his descent from the Everest summit in 2006 and was actually left to die by his guides, before being discovered still alive the following day. I'll bet that was an interesting reunion at the lodge.
Reaper (CW, 9 PM): This show isn't dead, but we likely won't see any more new episodes till early next year. Tonight, the demons set a trap for Sam, believing that he stands in the way of their rebellion, and Sock finds himself falling for a female demon. We've all felt that way, Sock.
The Bad Girls Club (Oxygen, 9:30 PM): Star Jones used to be a respected attorney, and now she's hosting the Bad Girls Club reunion special. The camera can't be that intoxicating, can it? The season recap will presumably concentrate on drinkin' and fightin', because they didn't do much else.
A Shot At Love With Tila Tequila (MTV, 10 PM): So far this season has been lacking in fistfights and trips to the hospital, an oversight corrected tonight.
Independent Lens (PBS, 10 PM): "A Dream In Doubt" looks into hate crimes spawned by reaction to September 11. Terrence Howard narrates.
Secret Lives of Women (WE, 10 TV): They're less secret than usual tonight, as the show gives us a portrait of four self-described voyeurs and/or exhibitionists. Hey, I think I already saw this one.
Shark (CBS, 10 PM): The series finale finds Sebastian and Julie targeted by Wayne Callison (Billy Campbell), who has escaped from prison and wants revenge against the man he blames for his predicament. James Woods always brings total commitment to even the lamest roles, and it's a tribute to him that this by-the-numbers show came as close to getting a third season as it did.
The Alaska Experiment (Discovery, 10 PM): The Flower Lake campers have a rough hike to a glacier.
Work Out (Bravo, 10 PM): A visit to a bar to celebrate the end of the retreat leads to a love connection for a pair of trainers; Peeler is more depressed than ever; the trainers attend a benefit.
Deion & Pilar: Prime Time Love (Oxygen, 10:30 PM): This time it's daughter Deiondra (gee, I wonder who had first dibs on picking names for the kids) who gets advice on the opposite sex. Also, the Sanders have words of wisdom for a young engaged couple.
Gene Simmons Family Jewels (A&E, 10:30 PM): The family answers viewer mail, illustrated by scenes from the show and a few vignettes never seen before.
My House Is Worth What? (HGTV, 11 PM): A couple finds out if they have enough equity to finance an expansion of their master bath.