Sean "Puffy" "Puff Daddy" "P. Diddy" "Diddy" Combs has been in the reality TV business for a while, with the various editions of Making the Band. Most of these series had the advantage of at least having Diddy off the screen much of the time. The hip-hop mogul and occasional, painful emcee has always patterned himself after Donald Trump and other self-important tycoons, and his previous series illustrated his belief that being a boss is mostly about silly mind games and petty displays of dominance. The key example from Making the Band had him sending his newly selected group on a walk from Manhattan into Brooklyn to buy him a piece of cheesecake.
So who knows why anyone in their right mind would want to work for Combs. But VH1 aims to find out, as I Want to Work For Diddy premieres tonight at 9 PM. The winner (I didn't put quote marks around winner since that goes without saying) gets to be Diddy's personal assistant, a job which will no doubt require even more toadying than the position would imply for your average celeb. The premiere finds the twelve finalists split into two teams, which are then given the task of completing a monstrous to-do list in 24 hours. This series has a chance of being entertaining in the same way that pulling wings off an insect is a blast.
American Gladiators (NBC, 8 PM): The season finale matches Tim against James, and Ally against Tiffaney. Sure, the Olympics have tradition and pageantry and all that, but do they have a tug-of-war on tilted platforms, or dudes strapped into giant rolling metal balls? The superiority of Gladiators cannot be denied.
Teen Choice 2008 (Fox, 8 PM): This probably isn't the nicest thing to say given that she's still just a kid, but I like hearing Miley Cyrus talk about as much as I like hearing her father sing. Unfortunately, she's going to be talking a bunch tonight as she hosts the Teen Choice Awards, honoring the best in youthful acting and lip-syncing. Mariah Carey, a virtual elder stateswoman to this crowd, is on hand to perform and try staying relevant.
Baghdad High (HBO, 9 PM): Four Iraqi boys entering their final year of high school filmed themselves coping with the normal obsessions of teens everywhere, while also having to deal with life in a war zone. The movie runs during the typical time slot of The Hills. I like to think it's a rebuke.
The Closer (TNT, 9 PM): Brenda and Fritz argue over LAPD vs. FBI jurisdictional issues when a man wearing a surveillance wire is shot and killed. This is the sort of thing that doesn't come up in most relationships, where jurisdiction of the TV remote is a matter of much larger importance.
Nashville Star (NBC, 10 PM): We get a champion tonight, as either Gabe, Melissa, or Shawn will be named America's newest country star, an honor which has a track record for making people disappear that rivals the witness protection program's. I think it really is up for grabs, but don't discount Shawn's underdog appeal, and it never hurts to be "the cute one" on a show like this.
New York Goes to Hollywood (VH1, 10 PM): Tiffany Pollard has given up the search for love (sorry, men of America), and is now looking to make it big as a real actress. The first step: finding the perfect entourage. She seeks out a personal trainer and a personal assistant. Unemployed people need personal assistants? I thought you only saw that on Seinfeld.
Saving Grace (TNT, 10 PM): Grace sure seems drawn to troubled families. Tonight, a teenage girl becomes a prime suspect in the disappearance of her mother. Also, Clay enters a program for children interested in police work, and learns some things about what Grace has been up to on the job.
The Mole (ABC, 10 PM): It gets a lot harder to play Mole when there are only three left, and you would have to think that by now, the two who aren't the Mole must have a good sense of who it really is. Craig, Mark, and Nicole have two final missions, and then one big quiz to decide the winner. If this is the last ever "travelogue" episode of the series (assuming the finale is a studio show), you can't say ABC didn't make an honest effort to revive it.
Weeds (Showtime, 10 PM): Andy and Doug begin their lives as human smugglers; Silas tells Lisa about his line of work; Nancy has another memorable encounter with Esteban; Shane begins life at a new school. I don't think there are enough shrinks in the world to deal with poor Shane at this point. That was just not right last week, Weeds.
Luke's Parental Advisory (VH1, 10:30 PM): It's been about 20 years since Luther Campbell and 2 Live Crew were the scourge of polite society. Today, Campbell is settling down with a lawyer, running an adult entertainment business, and trying to raise a pair of teenagers. The premiere finds Luke in a classic "do as I say, not as I do" moment as he lectures his son about why porn is bad.
Secret Diary of a Call Girl (Showtime, 10:30 PM): The season finale (don't you just love the fast pace of British series?), finds Belle in line to becoming a courtesan: better money, fewer men. But she eventually learns that the new position (sorry) could be more of a lifestyle change than she was looking for. Sex without an exchange of money is a lot less complicated. And also a lot less frequent. Or so they tell me.