Holiday comes early for soon-to-be-late sitcom

"The Tracy Morgan Show" (7:30 p.m., NBC) debuted only two nights ago, but will air its Christmas episode tonight. This has got to be some kind of primetime record. Do you get the feeling NBC is trying to burn through this show as quickly as possible?

Christmas-themed sitcom episodes are often forgettable, but they only make sense if we know the characters and care about their needs, wants, and approximate place on Santa's naughty-and-nice spectrum.

Tonight's "Morgan" makes ample use of the dreaded laugh track and the even more egregious "ooh" and "aw" soundtrack, particularly when little Jimmy says cute and precocious lines -- which may be too often for most viewers. Not to give too much away here, but this episode concerns Jimmy's flickering faith in the big jolly guy, a belief system that takes a bit of a beating when Tracy and a department store Santa Claus come to blows over a $50 bribe. Help yourself.

  • Where have all the young, male viewers gone? Network executives have been tearing their hair out trying to answer that question. Could it be that they've traded in their TV habit for a joystick addiction? David Spade hosts the first annual "Video Game Awards" (8 p.m., Spike), honoring the most creative minds in "gamedom." Musical guests include DMX, POD, Bubba Sparxx and Travis from Blink 182. Other scheduled celebrities and video game fans include L'il Kim, Pamela Anderson, Shaquille O'Neal, Ray Liotta, Jamie Pressly, Orlando Jones, Tony Hawk, DJ Funkmaster Flex and John Henson, and special appearances from 100 "Star Wars" stormtroopers and the DOA Volleyball girls.
  • Ekaterina Gordeeva joins her 10-year-old daughter for a rink duet on "Holiday Ice Dreams" (8 p.m., A&E;). Other featured talent includes Ilia Kulik, Oksana Baiul, Paul Wylie and Jennifer Kirk.

Tonight's other highlights

  • Eliminations continue on "Survivor: Pearl Islands" (7 p.m., CBS).
  • Tru empathizes with an overdose victim on "Tru Calling" (7 p.m., Fox). Fox has ordered seven additional episodes of this toe-tag drama.
  • Judy Davis and James Brolin star in the controversial 2003 television drama "The Reagans" (7 p.m., Showtime).
  • From the Cavern Club to Abby Road, "Beatlemania Britain" (7 p.m., Travel) visits sites relevant to the Fab Four.
  • A mummified victim on "CSI" (8 p.m., CBS).
  • "Murphy Brown" star Candice Bergen appears as herself (and Karen's rival) on "Will & Grace" (8 p.m., NBC).
  • A woman takes her leave of a dinner party on "Without a Trace" (9 p.m., CBS).
  • Thrill-seeking Amish teens end up in the emergency room on "ER" (9 p.m., NBC).
  • Scheduled on "PrimeTime" (9 p.m., ABC): A behind-the-scenes look at the making of "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King," the third installment in the film trilogy.

Late night

Halle Berry and Lance Armstrong appear on "Late Show with David Letterman" (10:35 p.m., CBS) ... Jay Leno hosts Gwyneth Paltrow, Steve Marmel and Alicia Keys on "The Tonight Show" (10:35 p.m., NBC).

Sarah Jessica Parker, Paul Giamatti and Fountains of Wayne chat on "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" (11:35 p.m., NBC) ... Jack Black, Roselyn Sanchez and Dido are booked on "The Late, Late Show with Craig Kilborn" (11:37 p.m., CBS).


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