A Closer Look At Music-Related Television This Week

Fine Tuning - Weekly column highlighting music on TV during the week of Aug. 25-31, 2003.

Love 'em or hate 'em, the MTV Video Music Awards are always at least interesting. Be it the outfits on the artists of the moment, the over the top performances or, let's face it, host Chris Rock's verbal barbs that would get him whacked if he weren't so damned funny.

On Thursday (Aug. 28), the VMAs will celebrate their 20th year with a lavish production at New York's Radio City Music Hall. The show starts at 8 p.m. ET/PT, but rest assured that there will be a ton of programming leading up to the event, including the always enjoyable pre-show right before the big event.

There's going to be too many stars there to bother listing here. But you can be sure you'll see performances by Beyoncé, Metallica, Mary J. Blige, 50 Cent, Good Charlotte, Coldplay and Christina Aguilera.

OK, let's say the pop accolade thing isn't your bag. Well, don't fret, as Thursday's got a few other treats up its sleeve. The Sundance Channel will premiere the final segment of "Keeping Time: New Music From America's Roots." This one, "Art of Song," features musicians who take their presentation to another level and will get up close with the likes of Toshi Reagon, Richard Julian, Jason Trachtenburg and Joe Firstman.

Also on Thursday, Tori Amos will be on the latest episode of "Soundstage" to premiere (check local listings). Late nighters not interested in watching the immediate rebroadcast of the VMAs can flip to the talkers to catch Rooney on Letterman (CBS), Buddy Guy on Conan (NBC) or Guster on Kilborn (CBS).

But it's not as if there's only one day this week where it's worth flipping on the TV for some tunes! The rest of the week has its highlights, too.

Mick Jagger will sit down to converse with Charlie Rose on PBS on Monday, the same night Conan welcomes the Chieftans with special guest Earl Scruggs.

On Tuesday morning CBS will host the Country Music Association Awards nominations with artists Martina McBride, Rascal Flatts, Darryl Worley, Steve Azar, Jennifer Hanson, Buddy Jewell and Jimmy Wayne on hand. Plus, Sean Paul will reggae up Leno's "Tonight Show" on NBC.

Wednesday's big moment comes with the pairing of tour partners B.B. King and Jeff Beck on Leno.

On Friday Mary J. Blige and the Counting Crows will heat up the morning broadcasts of "Good Morning America" (ABC) and "Today" (NBC), respectively.

Funkmaster Flex cruises with Jesse James and Ludacris Saturday on Spike TV's "Ride With Funkmaster Flex," and parrotheads can party with Jimmy Buffet on Sunday's "Best of Austin City Limits" on PBS.

If only the real world could be as accommodating to as many diverse tastes as is the world of TV...