Where to be and what to watch...


Monday, Dec. 18

Zinger-slinging magic man Penn Jillette helms new NBC game show Identity, debuting at 8 p.m. ET and airing in that time slot all week. Contestants use impulse, reasoning, instincts and keen perception to match strangers with their identities. And the Peacock loans Al Roker to Court TV for a night, as Big Al visits a new and frightening neck of the woods. Roker investigates the “dark, underground world of the child-sex industry.” To see what he digs up, tune in to Al Roker Investigates: Innocence For Sale at 10 p.m. On a cheerier note, Women in Cable Telecommunications (WICT) holds its Midwest Wine-Tasting wingding. The venue is W.A. Frost and Company in St. Paul, Minn. Look for the likes of Annette Thorsen from Showtime and Monica Carriedo from Scripps.

Tuesday, Dec. 19

What’s Aaron Brown been up to since his CNN days, other than those biweekly trips to the Department of Labor for his check? Find out when Brown sits for questioning at the 92nd Street Y in New York. Former 60 Minutes producer Abigail Pogrebin moderates, and explains how Brown still commands $20 a ticket. Elsewhere in New York, Chinese-language broadcaster New Tang Dynasty Television steps into performance art with “Holiday Wonders,” an East-meets-West celebration of holiday culture at the Beacon Theater. The show runs from today through Christmas Eve.

Wednesday, Dec. 20

Jesus Christ, who turns 2,000-something in a few days, is the focus of a special on CNN. After Jesus—The Earliest Christians is a “sweeping documentary on the tumultuous early years of Christianity.” You’ll find Jesus at 7 p.m. Speaking of all things heavenly, how do they get the cream filling in a Twinkie? How do Ben and Jerry get that perfect balance of Chunky and Monkey? Tune in to National Geographic for the premiere of Sweet Tooth at 10. Elsewhere in the industry, the good people of the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers host the Webcast “Live Learning: An Overview of IP Multimedia Subsystems.” The session features Jonathan Rosenberg of Cisco Systems. Meanwhile, broadcasters—led by Fox—and the FCC square off over profanity at an oral argument in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York. C-SPAN is planning to air the proceedings at 9:15 ET.

Thursday, Dec. 21

It’s been quite a year for young Tiger Woods. He won some golf tournaments. His father passed away. He made $12 trillion in endorsements. And he’s named Biography of the Year by the Biography Channel. Tiger Woods tees off at 9 p.m., with insights from Jack Nicklaus, Lance Armstrong and late 60 Minutes correspondent Ed Bradley. Elsewhere on the dial, an aging rock star, played by Danny Bonaduce, is murdered on CSI at 9. In the spirit of the holidays, we will refrain from making any jokes about wishing that life would imitate art.

Friday, Dec. 22

CBS airs its eighth annual A Home For the Holidays With Rod Stewart, raising money and awareness for foster families. The lineup includes former Idol-er Katharine McPhee, soulster John Legend, Billy Ray Cyrus offspring Miley Cyrus and follicly fabulous thesp Melina Kanakaredes. Rod the former Mod kicks things off at 8 p.m. ET. And while the holidays are a time to reflect on all that we have to be thankful for, such as family, friends and color television, USA Network is stripping the color out of its hit program Monk. See Monk noir at 9 p.m. ET. And have a wonderful holiday season!