VH1 digs into archives to offer 'Pop' corn

List-mania continues on basic cable as VH1 presents "200 Greatest Pop Culture Icons" (8 p.m., VH1), a five-night, 10-hour compendium of entertainment culture's most recognizable fixtures. Ten hours may seem like a long time for a countdown, but don't worry, these profiles zip by without taxing anyone's patience.

A panel of "experts," including Dick Clark, Jay Leno, Britney Spears and the ubiquitous Sharon Osbourne, appraise icons from Cartman of "South Park" to Elvis Presley in short, digestible sound bites. Do you really care what Sharon Osbourne thinks of Axl Rose? If you do, then "Pop Culture Icons" is for you.

Most of the icons are from the music-video era, but some oldies, including Presley, Judy Garland, Babe Ruth, The Beatles, Alfred Hitchcock, JFK and Jackie O., make the cut. As you might expect, the selection is highly arbitrary. Why Dr. Phil but not Phil Donahue? Jennifer Aniston can't make it on her own, but the cast of "Friends" appears as an ensemble.

It's interesting to note that no advertising icons appear on the list. I think Tony the Tiger and those Snap, Crackle and Pop logos are more deserving than Ben Affleck. But that's just me.

Dorothy Hamill gets my nomination for most questionable icon, and scandal-driven icons are in short supply -- Tonya Harding and Joey Buttafucco are nowhere to be seen. Neither is O.J. Simpson. But Martha Stewart makes it, and that's a good thing.

Tonight's other highlights

  • On four consecutive episodes of "Less Than Perfect" (ABC), a party out of bounds (7 p.m.,), romantic multitasking (7:30 p.m.), house-sitting (8 p.m.), and a threatening temp (8:30 p.m.).
  • Erin spends time with her 10 remaining suitors on "For Love or Money 2" (8 p.m., NBC).
  • A beachgoer makes a grisly discovery on "CSI: Miami" (9 p.m., CBS).
  • "PrimeTime" (9 p.m., ABC) examines a series of murders of young women in the San Francisco Bay area that may be related to the Laci Peterson case, but have been overshadowed by that all-consuming news story.

Late night

Aron Ralston, Tobey Maguire and Fountains of Wayne appear on "Late Show with David Letterman" (10:35 p.m., CBS) ... Jay Leno is host to Angelina Jolie and Guster on "The Tonight Show" (10:35 p.m., NBC).

Tom Cavanagh, Patton Oswalt and Kenny Chesney appear on "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" (11:35 p.m., NBC) ... Jay Mohr and Brooke Burns are booked on "The Late, Late Show with Craig Kilborn" (11:37 p.m., CBS).


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