'Must-See TV' gets mixed reactions from Mideast viewers

Can you reconcile "Friends" with the Koran? Shot on location in Egypt, Lebanon, Qatar and the Kurdish region of Iraq, "Hollywood and the Muslim World" (9 p.m., AMC) examines the explosion of independent media in the Middle East. In 1991, at the end of the first Gulf War, there was one Arabic cable station. Now there are more than 100. Some of them have grown popular by showing American dramas and sitcoms including "Friends," "The Sopranos" and "Will & Grace." While some Arabs can't get enough of this fare, many consider it Western "cultural pollution." Religious zealots see the shows' overt sexuality and homosexuality as a reason to reject all things Western. One TV station has created an Arab version of "Friends" that avoids any mention of dating, religion or politics. While meandering, the film offers a thought-provoking glance at what our popular culture says about American values.

Tonight's other highlights

  • Archeologists and researchers scour physical evidence and historical records to determine if a pebble discovered on a beach in Mantoloking, N.J., might be an American Indian relic, on the first of 10 episodes of "History Detectives" (7 p.m., PBS).
  • Scheduled on "Leaders with David Faber" (7 p.m., CNBC): interviews with eBay CEO Meg Whitman and Artemis Records founder Danny Goldberg, and a profile of New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner.
  • Sluggers from both leagues swing for the fences in the "Major League Baseball Home Run Derby" (7 p.m., ESPN).
  • "The American Experience" (8 p.m., PBS, check local listings) revisits an 1849 homicide that captivated the nation on "Murder at Harvard."
  • Scheduled on "Primetime" (9 p.m., ABC): the murder of a popular British TV news anchor.

Cult choice

A war veteran (Tyrone Power) seeks the meaning of life in the 1946 adaptation of Somerset Maugham's novel "The Razor's Edge" (7:01 p.m., Fox Movie Channel). Remade in 1984, with Bill Murray in the lead.

Series notes

Greg cries foul on "Yes, Dear" (7 p.m., CBS) ... "Anything for Love" (7 p.m., Fox) ... On four consecutive episodes of "Life With Bonnie" (ABC), guilty suspicions (7 p.m.), a wacky weatherman (7:30 p.m.), educating Tony (8 p.m.), Tom Hanks guest stars (8:30 p.m.) ... Caught in a holdup on "The Parkers" (7 p.m., UPN) ... On back to-back episodes of "7th Heaven" (WB), Jason London guest stars (7 p.m.), Eric's Elvis fantasy (8 p.m.).

Judy Butinsky on "Still Standing" (7:30 p.m., CBS) ... "Stupid Behavior Caught on Tape" (7:30 p.m., Fox).

Late night

Lisa Marie Presley and Ryan Pinkston appear on "Late Show with David Letterman" (10:35 p.m., CBS) ... Jay Leno welcomes Martin Lawrence, Rowan Atkinson and LeAnn Rimes on "The Tonight Show" (10:35 p.m., NBC).

Will Ferrell, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Jim Gaffigan appear on "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" (11:35 p.m., NBC) ... Mark McGrath is on "The Late, Late Show with Craig Kilborn" (11:37 p.m., CBS).


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