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Tonight's TV Hot List: Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2010 - Featured


* Cougar Town (9:30/8:30c ABC)


Since this show's episode titles are named after Tom Petty songs, and this installment is called "When a Kid Goes Bad" (from Petty's 2002 album The Last DJ, for those keeping score), one thought comes to mind: poor, wayward Travis. Well, he doesn't kill anyone, but let's say his Jules and Bobby aren't too thrilled when he wants to go to a party where alcohol will be served. Meanwhile, Laurie meets Smith's father (Barry Bostwick), and it looks like the apple fell nowhere near the tree.


* American Idol (9/8c Fox)


In this real-world twist on the Willy Wonka fable, these hungry hopefuls yearned to win that golden ticket - only to now find themselves in a strange place with bitter-tasting tests. Last night marked the contestants' first Hollywood-round foray (and newbie Ellen DeGeneres' first judging performance). And that's when reality hit our sultans of sing: Their coveted golden ticket has advanced them to punishing rehearsals, nerve-fraying auditions and the ever-looming prospect of an elimination. Hoping to secure a sweet slot in the Top 24, the singers perform tonight in the second heat of the Hollywood round.


* CSI: NY (10/9c CBS)


Danica Patrick is a killer competitor on the race track but is she a murderer? Tonight, the IndyCar driver and NASCAR newbie guest stars as a Grand Prix racer who may be involved in another driver's death. The victim (Antonio Sabato Jr.), one of the sport's legends, dies when his car suddenly explodes during a race exhibition just two days before the major event is to take place. The investigation reveals the car was tampered with, which means the man was murdered. But Danica, responsible? Say it ain't so daddy.


* Leverage (10/9c TNT)


The snappy, high-styled show's second season begins drawing to a close with the first half of the two-part finale. This time out, artful swindler Nate Ford and his justice-serving outlaws take aim at a crooked local mayor, and their big-league scam involves taking advantage of his passion for baseball. Play ball, the game is on. But a ball is dropped in this field of schemes, and a thorny snafu jeopardizes the A-team's con-job winning streak. Jeri Ryan recurs as temporary crew member Tara Cole, and Richard Kind guest stars. Dean Devlin directed the episode.


* Face of America with Henry Louis Gates Jr. (8/7c PBS)


Following up on his fascinating African American Lives series, Henry Louis Gates Jr. expands his focus to include a wider swath of the American experience, utilizing genealogical and genetic tools to unearth the family histories of such prominent folks as Stephen Colbert, Eva Longoria, Jordan's Queen Noor, Dr. Mehmet Oz and Meryl Streep. The four-episode expedition begins with cellist Yo-Yo Ma, director Mike Nichols and figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi.


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