ABC reality show is one 'Experiment' that really should fail

Which is greater -- the desire to love and be loved, or the need to make a fool of yourself on television? It's an age-old question, sure to explored in depth on the new romantic reality series "The Dating Experiment" (9 p.m., ABC). This latest gimmick puts complete strangers together on a series of dates. Each participant agrees to submit to the rules written down in a series of red diaries. Why? Because they said so!

And if that didn't sound odd and arbitrary enough, "The Dating Experiment" is hosted by Hector Elizondo. Yeah, he's the guy I think of when Cupid comes to mind.

Don't get me wrong, I've been a fan of his work ever since his role as Matt Dillon's blue collar dad in the 1984 comedy "The Flamingo Kid." The Elizondo I admire usually plays the levelheaded guy who keeps in touch with his conscience when everybody else is going astray. What's he doing on a show this dumb?

Tonight's other highlights

  • Scheduled on "60 Minutes II" (7 p.m., CBS): An interview with Stan Lee, the comic-book creator of "The Hulk" and "Spider-Man"; preventing nightclub fires.
  • Debbie Allen and Joey Fatone host "Fame" (7 p.m., NBC).
  • Treat Williams and Marcia Gay Harden star in the 2002 drama "Guilty Hearts" (8 p.m., CBS, part two of two).
  • "This Far by Faith: African American Spiritual Journey" (8 p.m., PBS, check local listings) explores the popularity of gospel music and the role of the church in the Civil Rights movement.
  • On back-to-back episodes of "Law & Order" (NBC), a rock singer meets an undignified end (8 p.m.), an AWOL witness may be linked to an old crime (9 p.m.).

Late night

Lucy Liu and Nick Cave appear on "Late Show with David Letterman" (10:35 p.m., CBS) ... Jay Leno hosts Pamela Anderson, critics Ebert and Roeper, and music by PDiddy, Nelly and Murphy Lee on "The Tonight Show" (10:35 p.m., NBC).


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