'Smoking Gun TV' specializes in dirty secrets

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Maybe it's time to crown Mo Rocca the king of basic cable. In addition to his normal perch at "The Daily Show" (6 p.m., Comedy Central), he can be seen all this week on "I Love the '70s" (8 p.m. and 9 p.m., VH1). And now he's also the host of "Smoking Gun TV" (7 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Court TV), a new series based on the irreverent Web site founded by investigative reporters William Bastone and Danny Green in 1997. Making the most of the Internet, The Smoking Gun (www.thesmokinggun.com) has disseminated court documents, concert riders, mug shots and other public documents to reveal embarrassing secrets about celebrities, politicians and other public figures.

Over the past few years, The Smoking Gun site has devoted much space to the less-than-spotless records of "reality TV" participants, including folks from "Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire," "American Idol," "Joe Millionaire" and "For Love or Money."

In tonight's TV debut, Rocca will submit to a total makeover to demonstrate just how hard it is to look as bad as Nick Nolte did in his infamous 2002 mug shot. The show will pay close attention to the messy divorce papers filed by NASCAR star Jeff Gordon and his wife, Brooke, as well as the similar entanglements of Kirstie Alley, Wynonna Judd, Tommy Lee and Pamela Anderson.

The Independent Film Channel celebrates the gritty films of the 1970s with the documentary "A Decade Under the Influence" (7 p.m., IFC), featuring interviews with directors including Robert Altman, John Avildsen, Peter Bogdanovich, Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese. The three-part documentary will air nightly through Friday.

Tonight's other highlights

Cult choice

Back when he was just a "Bosom Buddy," the future Oscar winner Tom Hanks starred in the 1984 comedy "Bachelor Party" (7 p.m., FX). Direct-to-video vixen Tawny Kitaen co-stars.

Late night

Luke Wilson appears on "Late Show with David Letterman" (10:35 p.m., CBS) ... Jay Leno welcomes Jim Carrey, Amanda Bynes and Tim McGraw on "The Tonight Show" (11:35 p.m., NBC).

Robert Duvall visits "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" (11:35 p.m., NBC) ... Tara Reid appears on "The Late, Late Show with Craig Kilborn" (11:37 p.m., CBS).