TV highlights, Nov. 9 

COOL: Newman.
  • COOL: Newman.

8 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 12
American Movie Classics (Comcast Ch. 31)

Though Paul Newman has sort of shriveled into a salad-dressing-selling apple doll in his old age, there’s no denying that he was one sexy sumbitch in his glory days, not to mention an actor who could hold his own with pretty much anybody. As such, Newman has racked up more than his share of impressive and moving performances in his career. Of those, it’s hard to beat his turn in 1967’s “Cool Hand Luke.” As the title character, Newman gets sent away to a Southern work farm for cutting the heads off parking meters. Once there, his anti-hero character does everything he can to buck authority, including making repeated escape attempts before a final, tragic end. A performance for the ages, and a must-see film.

10 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 12
VH-1 (Comcast Ch 56)
If we’ve learned anything from the onslaught of reality TV shows in recent years, it’s that C-List celebrities will do absolutely anything to get their camera-hungry mugs back in the spotlight. That might include anything from eating sheep brains (“Celebrity Fear Factor”), to being weighed on national television (“Celebrity Fit Club”), to — in the case of this new show from VH-1 — having the bejesus scared out of them. Here, in a rip-off of the old MTV show “Fear,” sorta-celebs like Gary Busey and the more famous “Survivor” losers are fitted with backpack cameras and sent into some of America’s most haunted places in search of ghosts. While they might not find evidence of the supernatural, they’re pretty much sure to find evidence of the super stupid.

8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 14
AETN (Comcast Ch. 3, Broadcast Ch. 2)

In a perfect world, gay politicians would have the courage to say they were gay. This isn’t, however, a perfect world. What with that, the questioning of an elected official’s sexuality has become something of a hot-button issue in recent years, with pundits debating why it should matter what elected officials do with their private lives. A great new exploration of that topic is to be found in the latest of “Frontline,” which details the 2005 recall of Spokane, Wash., Mayor Jim West after a newspaper there found that he had visited gay Internet chatrooms using a city computer. A story with questions about government, privacy, corruption, and just how far journalists should go to get a headline, it’s sure to be a good one.


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