Latest faux 'Joe Millionaire' riding into sunset

Monday, November 24, 2003

Not since Napoleon retreated from Moscow has a European misadventure ended so badly. The agony finally ends on the series finale of "The Next Joe Millionaire: An International Affair" (7 p.m., Fox). David must choose between Linda, the recently re-installed Prague beauty, and Cat, the Hessian hussy who brought out the claws in Faux Joe's crowded cathouse. Easily the most botched sequel since "Caddyshack II," this dating series expires with a miniscule audience and without an iota of water-cooler buzz.

Like the rest of us, David's bevy of beauties seemed to feel sorry for him. One of the saddest moments came a few weeks back when David treated Petra to a fancy lunch and his Dutch date had to teach him about the virtues of drinking wine that comes in a bottle. What must she have thought when her multimillionaire escort exclaimed, "Wine is much better in Italy than in a box"? The two remaining gals will probably breathe a sigh of relief when he spills the beans and tells them he's really a penniless cowpoke.

l Fred Willard has emerged as the hardest-working moonlighter on television. He's back tonight as Robert's religious father-in-law on "Everybody Loves Raymond" (8 p.m., CBS).

Tonight's other sweeps-month guest stints include "Saturday Night Live" veteran Kevin Nealon on "Still Standing" (7:30 p.m., CBS) and Denise Richards (Charlie Sheen's real-life wife) on "Two and a Half Men" (8:30 p.m., CBS).

Tonight's other highlights

Late night

Kelly Ripa and Clay Aiken appear on "Late Show with David Letterman" (10:35 p.m., CBS) ... Jay Leno welcomes Shaquille O'Neal, Kelly Preston and Nelly on "The Tonight Show" (10:35 p.m., NBC).