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Freelance entertainment writer, martial arts instructor, and mother of two.

What's Hot On TV Tonight – Merlin, Manly Awards, and Parachute Pants

To get some fresh programming for the summer, NBC is borrowing from the BBC, with the fantasy series Merlin. In addition, we also have the Guys’ Choice Awards on Spike, and MC Hammer bringing back those parachute pants on Hammertime.

1. IndyCar Racing: IndyCar Series In Newton, Iowa. It’s the Indy 250 at Iowa Speedway. Last year’s win for Dan Wheldon made him a really nice birthday gift. 12:00 PM CT ABC

2. The Pursuit of Happyness. Will Smith is truly inspirational in this true story of man that does whatever it takes to have it all. 12:00 PM CT

3. NASCAR Racing: Sprint Cup In Sonoma, CA. It’s the Toyota/Save Mart 350. A really interesting stat is that last year Kyle Busch won it, becoming the second straight winner to start from 30th position or worse. 1:00 PM CT TNT

4. 60 Minutes. Scott Pelley visits a Florence, CO federal supermax prison housing some of the most infamous prisoners, Anderson Cooper reports on drug cartels fueling violence in Mexico, and Steve Kroft profiles LeBron James. 6:00 PM CT CBS

5. Just For Laughs. It’s the season premiere featuring a massage chair that’s a bit creepy, an accidental protest leader, a convenience store thief hiding, and a bike ride that started out to be leisurely, then turned into a race. 6:00 PM CT ABC

6. Dateline NBC. A shortened half hour with Hoda Kotb showing ten near death moments that are captured on camera. 6:00 PM CT NBC

7. Merlin. This fantasy series originally aired on the BBC. Based on the Arthurian legend, it opens with Merlin arriving in Camelot where the King has outlawed magic with the punishment of death. He accidentally reveals his gift to the court physician, has a run-in with Prince Arthur, and meets a young maid, Gwen. In the second hour, Arthur participates in the annual sword tournament at Camelot, as does Knight Valiant, who uses a magical shield to vanquish opponents. Merlin adjusts to being Arthur’s manservant. 7:00 PM CT NBC

8. Impact. The first of a two-part sci fi drama about the moon about to collide with Earth. Tonight, a dead star strikes the moon during a meteor shower, causing puzzling things to happen such as cell phone disruptions. 8:00 PM CT ABC

9. Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Goren and Eames track a highly conservative killer. 8:00 PM CT USA

10. Gene Simmons Family Jewels. Gene is named godfather to a friend’s child when he and Shannon go to New Jersey. Her feminism kicks in, causing her to not want to follow some traditions. 8:00 PM CT A&E

11. Larry King Live. Guests are Kathy Griffin, David Cook, and Levi Johnston (father of Bristol Palin’s baby). 8:00 PM CT A&E

12. Ice Road Truckers. A fierce storm threatens movement on the ice road, as Jack and Jesse try to keep ahead of it. George, Tim, and Lisa take shelter at a truck stop, Hugh and Alex start their next runs, and Lisa carries a wide load, having trouble at Atigun Pass. 8:00 PM CT History

13. Bridezillas. A bride has to deal with smashed centerpieces and cake, another clashes with her sister who skips the wedding. 8:00 PM CT WE

14. The Next Food Network Star. The contestants have to cater a dinnery party for twelve on just $60 at a house in the Hamptons. 8:00 PM CT Food Network

15. True Blood. Sookie goes a little too far trying to help Jessica adjust to her new life, Maryann uses her influence at Merlotte’s to Sam’s dismay, Jason makes friends and a foe at a leadership conference, and Eric considers the additon of another member to the ranks. 8:00 PM CT HBO

16. In Plain Sight. Brandi gets charged with murder and drug grafficing by Agent O’Cornorr, forcing Mary to investigate to find the reasons for this vendetta against her sister. 9:00 PM CT USA

17. Guys’ Choice Awards. This award show honoring the best in male entertainment (somehow that doesn’t sound right), includes performances by Asher Roth and the Dan Band, and appearances by Halle Berry, Jamie Foxx, Mel Gibson, Brad Pitt, Edwart Norton, Mickey Rourke, Clint Eastwood, and Eddie Van Halen. 9:00 PM CT Spike

18. Hammertime. Hammer and Vanilla Ice reunite for a concert on Hammer’s birthday, and the family prepares a surprise party when he comes home. Jamaris gets a part time job. 7:00 PM CT ABC

19. Expedition Africa. It’s part four with the explorers facing heavy rain, threatening their 30 day timeframe as well as threatening hypothermia. One explorer becomes very ill, while another takes over as navigator after getting frustrated by the local guide.  9:00 PM CT History

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