By Mike Hughes
By Mike Hughes
"Kennedy Center Honors," 8 p.m., CBS. Each year, this ceremony offers classy television, with beautifully crafted mini-biographies and top performers. This time, Barbra Streisand can sit back and hear others sing her music. That includes Beyonce, Ne-Yo, Idina Menzel and the duo of Broadway's Kelli O'Hara and opera's Nathan Gunn. George Jones hears Garth Brooks do a medley of his songs. Others are Alan Jackson, Brad Paisley, Randy Travis and Shelby Lynne. Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend hear their Who songs done by Joss Stone, Chris Cornell, Bettye LaVette and the lead singers of the Foo Fighters (Dave Grohl) and Matchbox Twenty (Rob Thomas). And the other honorees? Twyla Tharp, a choreographer, sees her "Sinatra Suite" performed by Marcelo Gomes and Luciana Paris of the American Ballet Theatre. Morgan Freeman, an actor who owns a blues club, hears generations of blues greats — Koko Taylor, Pinetop Perkins, Honeyboy Edwards and B.B. King.
"Nova: Is There Life on Mars," 8 p.m., PBS. Mars missions have been wobbly, this film says. The Soviets tried eight times and failed each time; there have been 39 missions in all, only eight reaching the planet. Early missions caused Mars to be dismissed as an eternal wasteland. New studies, however, find hints of long-ago water. There is much left to learn, but this richly detailed documentary offers fascinating peeks.
"Happy New Year, Charlie Brown," 7 p.m., and "Rudolph's Shiny New Year," 7:30-8:30 p.m., ABC. Here's an animation block. In a 1986 tale, Charlie faces the eternal problem of whether to go to a party or finish reading "War and Peace"; in a 1976 one, Rudolph must find the Baby New Year.
"NCIS," 7 p.m., CBS. In a rerun, the team tries to prevent a suicide and ends up probing a murder.
"Holes" (2003), 7:30 p.m., ABC Family. A witty tale — with kids sent to a detention camp where they simply dig holes — was superbly crafted by "Fugitive" director Andrew Davis. Shia LaBeouf stars.
"House," 8 p.m., Fox. Dr. House has two problems in this rerun — his dad's funeral (which he's reluctant to attend) and a Chinese adoptee who must be diagnosed by phone.
"Eli Stone," 9 p.m., ABC. Next week, ABC's mid-season line-up takes over and "Eli" disappears, so let's enjoy this offbeat show while we can. Eli is suddenly promoted from best man to minister at his brother's wedding. The problem: his questions of the bride's intentions.