ABC's 'Are You Hot' a real no-brainer

According to an ABC press release, "talent, personality and strategy were not required" to vie for the title on "Are You Hot: The Search for America's Sexiest People" (7 p.m., ABC). That's right -- no talent, brains or personality required! It's the perfect "reality" series.

If the ads for this dimwitted offering are any indication, the most important criterion for "hot" status is the possession of well-knotted abdominal muscles. Just when did the quest for "six-pack abs" become the holy grail of self-fulfillment? Seriously, when future generations look back on our era they will probably think that "the crunch" was some kind of religious sacrament.

As with "American Idol" and "Star Search," the celebrity panel of judges on "Hot" allows former stars to resuscitate careers that have been in the crisper drawer of the cultural refrigerator since the first Bush administration. Remember Rachel Hunter's Sports Illustrated heyday of 1989? Or Lorenzo Lamas, who was a heartthrob on "Falcon Crest" before starring in a syndicated action series called "Renegade"? (Who could forget "Renegade"?) A designer named Randolph Duke rounds out the trio of experts on sexiness and hot-itude. Help yourself.

  • CBS hopes to increase water cooler chatter about "Survivor: The Amazon" (7 p.m., CBS) by splitting the "tribes" along gender lines. Eight guys in the Tambaqui team take on a female octet called Jabaru. Me, I'm rooting for the piranhas.

Tonight's other highlights

  • "China in the Red" on "Frontline" (8 p.m., PBS) follows 10 ordinary Chinese citizens as the former "workers' state" makes a wrenching adjustment to capitalism.
  • Abby's troubles pile up on "ER" (9 p.m., NBC). Sally Field, Eli Wallach and Patrick Fugit guest star.
  • Scheduled on "Primetime" (9 p.m., ABC): A surgeon on trial for his wife's murder; the dog show craze; lost loves reunited.
  • Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard star in director Blake Edwards' 1961 adaptation of Truman Capote's novella "Breakfast at Tiffany's" (9:20 p.m., AMC).

Series notes

On back-to-back episodes of "Friends" (NBC), a foppish actor (Jeff Goldblum) intimidates Joey (7 p.m.), and Freddie Prinze Jr. guest stars as a nanny with a sensitive side (7:30 p.m.) ... Faux Joe reveals his choice on "Joe Millionaire" (7 p.m., Fox) ... A hall pass for some on "High School Reunion" (7 p.m., WB).

Shepard Smith is host of "The Pulse" (8 p.m., Fox) ... Corey's wedding drama continues on "Surreal Life" (8 p.m., WB) ... Improvisation on "Jamie Kennedy Experiment" (8:30 p.m., WB).

Late night

Kurt Russell appears on "Late Show with David Letterman" (10:35 p.m., CBS) ... Jay Leno welcomes Kevin Spacey, Will Ferrell and The Calling on "The Tonight Show" (10:35 p.m., NBC).

Jennifer Garner chats on "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" (11:35 p.m., NBC) ... Rob Schneider, model Veronica Varekova and musical guests Counting Crows are booked on "The Late, Late Show with Craig Kilborn" (11:37 p.m., CBS).


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