Week Of March 31-April 6

Music-related television highlights for March 31-April 6, 2003.

Letterman's back! It's true, "The Late Show With David Letterman" will have its namesake host back behind the desk this week. Letterman last hosted the CBS show on Feb. 25 before being sidelined with a painful case of shingles. While it was great to see such folks as Elvis Costello, Bruce Willis, and even bandleader Paul Shaffer handle the job, it will be nice to see Dave back in action as he welcomes performances by Rosanne Cash (Tuesday), Cory Branon (Wednesday), and blues great Bo Diddley (Thursday).

A trip to the Academy Awards is a big deal for any nominated actor, and on Monday (March 31), fans can get an idea of what it was like for first time nominee Queen Latifah, thanks to VH1. The music channel's "7 Days Left: Queen Latifah Goes To the Oscars" features footage of the rapper-turned-actress as she prepares for the big night. Along with the nervousness that comes from being a first-time nominee for best supporting actress for her role in "Chicago," she was also a musical performer, belting out the film's "I Move On" with co-star Catherine Zeta-Jones.

On Wednesday, PBS (check local listings) will unveil "Joni Mitchell: Woman of Heart and Mind." Produced by Thirteen/WNET New York as part of PBS' "American Masters" series, the episode features rare footage of Mitchell performing in the 1960s and '70s, and previously unheard performances. Along with candid conversations with the artist, the show features interviews with David Crosby, Graham Nash, James Taylor, Wayne Shorter, and Herbie Hancock, among others.

There are few pop artists who have been more provocative, challenging, and controversial throughout their career than Madonna, and it when she's got something to say, people listen. On Thursday, VH1 will present "Madonna Speaks," an exclusive interview session conducted by actress Megan Mullally of NBC's "Will & Grace." With the video for the outspoken artist's latest single, "American Life," having caused controversy even before it was ever seen, this is bound to be an interesting conversation.

Talent shows are a big part of the current wave of reality programming that dominates television, and that's a big plus for music fans. This week 'N Sync's Lance Bass and Jermaine Jackson are guest judges on NBC's "Most Talented Kid" on Friday night, while the next night will see country artist Brad Paisley guest starring on USA Network's "Nashville Star."

In a short highlight to close out the week, look for 90 seconds of brand new Christina Aguilera action courtesy of the National Basketball League. Yes, you read that right. The NBA has tapped Aguilera and her song "Fighter" to star in it's latest "Love It Live" promotional ad spot, and will unveil a full minute-and-a-half video featuring the artist prepping for a center court performance at Los Angeles' Staples Center. The clip, which will premiere April 6 during ABC's telecast of the Washington Wizards vs. Boston Celtics game, also shows footage of some of the NBA's best -- Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Shaq, and Yao Ming -- in action.