Tonight's TV Hot List: Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2009


* NCIS (8/7c CBS)


The death of a marine on foreign soil has the team in the middle of an investigation that also forces Ziva to confront her past. The tenuous connection between who Ziva was and who Ziva is now - and where her loyalties lie - has been simmering below the surface since the season started. It not only affects cases, but her relationships with both Gibbs (a relative father figure) and Tony (a potential romantic partner).


* Dancing with the Stars)


Last night the contestants performed four dances that were brand new to this show: the bolero, the Charleston, the Texas two-step and the lambada. However, for someone this venture into new territory will mark the end of his or her journey on the show. That person could very well be Michael Irvin, who narrowly escaped elimination last week. Also: Shakira performs "Did It Again" and "Hips Don't Lie," and the pros demonstrate next week's dances.


* Hell's Kitchen (8/7c Fox)


This is it, food-fight fans: a three-way (and two-hour) culinary smackdown featuring Ariel, Dave and Kevin, with the winner getting a top job at a new resort in Whistler, B.C., the site of the skiing venue at the Winter Olympics next February in Canada. But before the finalists start practicing their schussing or their "ehs," they had better have perfected their risottos and beef Wellingtons, not to mention their use of Canadian bacon.


* 2009 Hip Hop Honors (9/8c Vh1)


The sixth-annual event celebrates the 25th anniversary of seminal hip-hop label Def Jam Records. The Roots perform "Rock the Bells" with Eminem; Kid Rock sings "I'm Bad"; and KRS-One, Wale and Gym Class Heroes collaborate on "No Sleep Till Brooklyn." Hip-hop icons Public Enemy take on "Rebel Without a Pause" and share the stage with S1W, the Roots, Tom Morello and Boots Riley. Tracy Morgan hosts the event, which also features Fabolous, Foxy Brown, Redman, Method Man, Ghostface Killah, Mary J. Blige, DMX, Ludacris, Warren G and Trey Songs.


* Frontline (9/8c PBS)


Is Afghanistan becoming President Obama's Vietnam? As the administration ponders shifts in strategy, the newsmagazine's 27th season opener focuses on the war via field reports from the front lines, including the Taliban stronghold in Helmand Province, and an interview with Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan. The program also looks across the border to Pakistan, which is purported to be a launching ground for militants to attack U.S. troops in Afghanistan.


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