By Kevin McDonough
With series like "Shark Tank" and now "The Job Interview" (10 p.m. and 10:30 p.m., CNBC, TV-PG), reality TV has gotten down to business. I'm not sure that's an improvement. When "Survivor" (8 p.m., CBS) arrived, many saw the …
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With series like "Shark Tank" and now "The Job Interview" (10 p.m. and 10:30 p.m., CNBC, TV-PG), reality TV has gotten down to business. I'm not sure that's an improvement. When "Survivor" (8 p.m., CBS) arrived, many saw the strategizing, backstabbing and fake friendships as an exotic metaphor for office politics. Few people knew what it was like to endure on a desert island, but many had recognized phony behavior from their own efforts to "survive" in an office jungle.
The workplace-reality TV blend also added to the comedy of the British version of "The Office" as well as its NBC adaptation. Many viewers saw parallels between their workplace and that of the fictional Dunder-Mifflin.
With "The Job Interview," CNBC blends elements of "Big Brother" and "American Idol" to add a little razzle-dazzle to a fairly mundane process. They've loaded an office with tiny unseen cameras, capturing a "contestant's" every move. Simple acts like opening a door or leaving an elevator are freighted with "drama."
The first episode of "Interview" doubled down on the ordinary. A startup is looking for an accountant! Now that's entertainment.
Over a span of 20 minutes, four applicants are winnowed down from more than 100, and get to face their "judges." Three of the final four have some revealing nervous tics. One even discusses them with his would-be employers. Does that make him sympathetic? Or just strange?
It's not clear if this strenuously by-the-books business procedural is going to become water-cooler conversation. The popularity of series like "The Voice" show us that most prefer a "Star Search" to a job search.
Who wants to come home from a hard day at work to be "entertained" with "The Job Interview"? Viewers may still prefer the distraction of scripted comedies like "Office Space" (8 p.m., IFC) or a thriller like "The Accountant" (8:15 p.m., HBO).
• Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood host the 51st Annual CMA Awards (8 p.m., ABC). Garth Brooks, Brothers Osborne, Luke Bryan, Eric Church and Miranda Lambert are scheduled to perform live from Nashville.
• "The A Word" (10 p.m., Sundance, TV-14) enters its second season. For the unfamiliar, "Word" stars Max Vento as Joe Hughes, a sweet 5-year-old who lives in his own world.
He exhibits an encyclopedic knowledge of 1970s punk music. His parents find him charming, but he's increasingly ostracized at school by children whose own parents resent the attention he receives.
While this series takes a far-less sugarcoated take on autism than "The Good Doctor," it features a quirky, dysfunctional family and brooding Lake District scenery that distract from Joe and his problems, treating them as one piece in an amusing family dynamic.
TONIGHT'S OTHER HIGHLIGHTS
• Lucious needs help on "Empire" (8 p.m., Fox, TV-14).
• "Nature" (8 p.m., PBS, TV-PG, check local listings) explores cheetah mothers and their offspring.
• "NOVA" (9 p.m., PBS, TV-PG, check local listings) profiles geologists studying evidence of ancient killer floods.
• A drug dealer may have killed an entire family on "Chicago P.D." (10 p.m., NBC, TV-14).
Feuding workers (Margaret Sullavan and James Stewart) have no idea that they've fallen in love as romantic pen pals in the 1940 Ernst Lubitsch comedy "The Shop Around the Corner" (8 p.m., TCM). Remade for the internet age as "You've Got Mail," starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.
Human trafficking on "The Blacklist" (8 p.m., NBC, TV-14) * Jughead calms a media firestorm on "Riverdale" (8 p.m., CW, TV-14) * The squad must rescue a kidnapped CIA agent on "SEAL Team" (9 p.m., CBS, TV-14) * A posh rehab center falls under suspicion on "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (9 p.m., NBC, TV-14) * The label faces bad press on "Star" (9 p.m., Fox, TV-14) * Fallon and Cristal vie to become cover girls on "Dynasty" (9 p.m., CW, TV-14) * A killer targets the prominent on "Criminal Minds" (10 p.m., CBS, TV-14).
Kenneth Branagh visits "The Daily Show With Trevor Noah" (11 p.m., Comedy Central) * Bill Clinton and Jack Whitehall are booked on "Conan" (11 p.m., TBS) * Norman Reedus, Sean Astin and Pat McGann appear on "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert" (11:35 p.m., CBS) * Jimmy Fallon welcomes Mark Wahlberg, Gina Rodriguez, Brian Regan and Monica on "The Tonight Show" (11:35 p.m., NBC) * Hillary Clinton, Will Ferrell and Nathan Davilmar visit "Late Night With Seth Meyers" (12:35 a.m., NBC) * Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Saoirse Ronan and Billy Corgan appear on "The Late Late Show With James Corden" (12:35 a.m., CBS).
© 2017, United Feature Syndicate
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