Sweeps month guest stars add touch of crass

We're knee-deep in sweeps and desperate stunt-casting. You can't change the channel without catching cameo-fever!

Whoopi Goldberg's "Ghost" co-star Patrick Swayze appears on "Whoopi" (7 p.m., NBC) as Mavis' former dance instructor and hard-partying pal who has now found religion and wants to lead Mavis toward the straight and narrow.

Cybill Shepherd shows up on "I'm with Her" (7:30 p.m., ABC) as Alex's brassy mother, who appears out of the blue and expects to accompany her daughter to the Oscars ceremony. Like too many Hollywood creations, Shepherd's character offers a crude and condescending portrayal of a blue-collar American. She repeatedly complains that she traveled all the way across the country "during NASCAR season" just to see her daughter. She also hops into bed with Alex's schoolteacher boyfriend, Patrick (David Sutcliffe), and lifts the sheets to examine the size of his genitalia before expressing her approval. And if that's not obvious and depressing enough, Joan Rivers also appears as herself.

  • "Top Model" star and producer Tyra Banks guest stars on "All of Us" (7:30 p.m., UPN). She plays Dirk's estranged brother, who never bothered to tell the family that he underwent a sex-change operation. I think I speak for most viewers when I say I'll have a hard time believing Tyra Banks as a former man.
  • Laurie Metcalf ("Roseanne") appears on "Frasier" (8 p.m., NBC) as the doctor's first wife, a woman who has gone on to a successful career as a children's entertainer named Nanny G. Roz tries to use her connection to score tickets to a Nanny G show.

Given the fact that this proud sitcom only has a few weeks to go, why are the producers still adding more back-story? Where was this "wife" all this time? Why didn't she appear in all of those episodes when Frasier fantasized and agonized over the women in his past?

Tonight's other highlights

  • Mall madness on "Gilmore Girls" (7 p.m., WB).
  • The third group of eight competes on "American Idol" (7 p.m., Fox).
  • A small-town girl witnesses the bravery of her father (Gregory Peck) in the 1962 drama "To Kill a Mockingbird" (7 p.m., Turner Classic Movies).
  • Sherry faces a police inquest on "24" (8 p.m., Fox).
  • Camille remains on thin ice on "America's Next Top Model" (8 p.m., UPN).
  • Contestants try to enter parties to which they were not invited on the new "reality" game show "Crash Test" (8:30 p.m., Spike).
  • A high school power struggle has a deadly conclusion on "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (9 p.m., NBC).
  • Regis Philbin is host of "Super Millionaire" (9 p.m., ABC).
  • "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel" (9 p.m., HBO) looks at Texas University track coach Bev Kearney and the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

Late night

Edie Falco appears on "Late Show with David Letterman" (10:35 p.m., CBS) ... Jay Leno welcomes Samuel L. Jackson, Barbara Walters and Joss Stone on "The Tonight Show" (10:35 p.m., NBC).


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