History Channel easy on Roosevelt

Few Americans have lived as strenuously, or with as many varied interests and activities, as Theodore Roosevelt, the subject of the four-hour, two-night documentary "TR: An American Lion" (8 p.m., History).

At four hours, "Lion" barely scratches the surface of Roosevelt's incredible life story. Edward Herrmann, who must be on some kind of permanent retainer with the History Channel, narrates. "Lion" also presents an impressive collection of Roosevelt scholars and fans, including biographer Edmund Morris, President Bill Clinton, New York governor George Pataki and current presidential advisor Karl Rove. While Roosevelt had many critics, "Lion" tends to lionize its subject, and provides few dissenting voices.

Speaking of dissenting voices, "Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin" on "P.O.V." (9 p.m., PBS) celebrates the life and public career of an American pacifist and civil rights activist who clearly marched to the beat of his own drummer. A black man raised as a Quaker, Rustin embraced that faith's philosophy of nonviolence and social justice. He went to prison rather than serve during World War II, and was arrested for refusing to move to the back of a bus years before Rosa Park's famous boycott.

Ordinary folks capture their "wacky" behavior to prove that they have the stuff for TV comedy on "My Life is a Sitcom" (7 p.m., ABC Family). If episode one is any indication, this show is doomed. A stay-at-home dad who has reverted to the intellectual age of his toddlers and who has made too many trips to the refrigerator considers himself "hilarious." His wife doesn't seem to think so, and neither will you.

Annabelle Gurwitch and Michael Lennox are hosts of "The Dream Team" (10 p.m., Sci Fi), a talk show about the meaning and significance of dreams. While dreams can be profound, the discussion here is strictly psychobabble.

Tonight's other highlights

  • Bea Arthur discusses "Maude," "The Golden Girls" and other highlights from her acting career on "Intimate Portraits" (6 p.m., Lifetime).
  • Gold diggers vie for a ditch digger on "Joe Millionaire" (8 p.m., Fox). Now that Heidi has been banished, whom will we hate the most? I see Mojo rising.
  • The summer series "Meet My Folks" (9 p.m., NBC) returns. Eight women try to win the approval of Mr. and Mrs. Maloney so they can date the couple's son Dan.

Series notes

Carrie thinks Doug doesn't care on "King of Queens" (7 p.m., CBS) ... Joe Rogan hosts back-to-back episodes of "Fear Factor" (7 p.m. and 8 p.m., NBC).

Late night

Simon Cowell appears on "Late Show with David Letterman" (10:35 p.m., CBS) ... Jay Leno hosts Richard Gere, Nia Vardalos and Solomon Burke on "The Tonight Show" (10:35 p.m., NBC).

Sarah Michelle Gellar and Otis Lee Crenshaw chat on "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" (11:35 p.m., NBC) ... Arsenio Hall and musical guests D4 are booked on "The Late, Late Show with Craig Kilborn" (11:37 p.m., CBS).

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