A Closer Look At Music On Television This Week

Fine Tuning - Weekly column highlighting music on TV during the week of Oct. 27-Nov. 2, 2003.

What to watch, what to watch? Read on McDuff and I'll tell you.

Monday night, you've got your football. It's right in the title of ABC's "Monday Night Football," which should add a some sort of musical subtitle because there's been so much on the weekly gridiron challenge as of late. While you won't hear Al Michaels and John Madden sing their favorite Bond themes, you can check out the seemingly mismatched Toni Braxton and Hank Williams Jr. performing the show's "Are You Ready for Some Football?" theme. It's no "Aida," but then again, what is?

Also, in the "Monday Night at the Mic" challenge, Michelle Branch and Atlanta Falcons rookie defensive back Bryan Scott will square off against Tennessee Titans running back Eddie George and Monica. After the game (and your local news), stick with ABC to catch Ima Robot on "Jimmy Kimmel Live."

On Tuesday, "Good Morning America," also on ABC, will kick off a trio of appearances by Welsh superstar Tom Jones. In the afternoon, syndicated talker Oprah Winfrey will sit down with Sting and his wife, Trudi Styler. Late night? Catch R.E.M. on Leno (NBC).

Wednesday's highlight is a "60 Minutes II" interview with country star Toby Keith, who's not afraid to ruffle feathers or joke around. Rockers can catch the All American Rejects on MTV's "Hard Rock Live," or Anthrax late night on Carson Daly (NBC).

R.E.M. shows up again on Thursday on the syndicated "Ellen DeGeneres Show," so you'll have to tune in to see if Michael Stipe will be affable, droll or pouty when chatting with the comedian/host. An interesting turn will be taken on VH1's "Command the Band," where a fan gets a chance as tour manager for the Midwestern leg of Bon Jovi's U.S. summer tour.

Stay up late Friday and flip around to catch Bubba Sparxxx on Letterman (CBS), Me First & the Gimme Gimmes on Kimmel (ABC), Thursday on Kilborn (CBS) and finally Fat Joe and Dressy Bessy on Daly (NBC).

Saturday's just not part of the weekend unless you catch the syndicated "Soul Train," which boasts Chante Moore, Kenny Lattimore, Tank and Lil' Zane appearances this week. That night, watch the special on Aretha Franklin's induction into "BET Walk Of Fame."

Another Saturday must is CMT's "Morning After: 40 Greatest Drinking Songs." From Garth Brooks' "Friends in Low Places" to Kris Kristofferson's "Sunday Morning Coming Down," all of the best are lined up for consumption. Cap off the night with OutKast on the Kelly Ripa-hosted "Saturday Night Live" (NBC).

Sunday (Sunday, Sunday) is CBS' night to celebrate its 75th anniversary, which will feature celebrities from every walk of life in the network's history. Over on NBC, catch Alicia Keys guest starring as Fontella Bass on "American Dreams," where she'll perform "Rescue Me."

Finally, Sunday will see the season premiere of "The Simpsons" with the show's 14th annual "Treehouse of Horror" episode. Sure, it's a tenuous stretch for inclusion in this column, but here goes: Jerry Lewis will give voice to Professor Frink Sr. in a segment titled "Frinkenstein."

How does this qualify as a musical reference? Well, while the French may celebrate Lewis' comic genius, but I will celebrate that in 1957 he tried his hand in the music game, releasing the Decca album "Jerry Lewis Just Sings." His single "It All Depends On You" reached No. 68 on Billboard's pop chart. So there. It's simply the best show on television, so watch it.