Some decades back, professional wit and Random House co-founder Bennett Cerf was asked if he had an idea for the title of a surefire best-seller. To his interviewer's surprise, he took no time to reply and he said,
"Lincoln's Doctor's Dog." As a publisher, he knew that books on any of those subjects were always popular, so combining the three was a no-brainer.
I think cable television broadcasters have cottoned to the same philosophy.
Certain words in any show's title just seem to attract viewers. "Cajun," "Storage," "Ghost," "War,"
"Hunter," "Car," "Jersey," "Dress, "Texas," "Bride" and "House" show up repeatedly. Sometimes in odd combinations. Can "Cajun Bride Hunters" be far behind? How about "Jersey Ghost Storage Auction Kings"?
The possibilities are endless. And they include the real, or at least reality, series "Texas Car Wars" (10 p.m., Discovery). Set in Austin, "Wars" follows some furious bidding between auto body shops in the Lone Star State as they compete with each other to see who can turn an apparent pile of rust and junk into a gleaming gem that they can resell. Make that "flip" -- another word to add to our list.
---Comedian Kevin Hart hosts the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards (8 p.m., MTV, VH1). The preshow and its attendant poses and interviews (7 p.m.) will be accompanied by electronica DJ Calvin Harris.
New award categories include the "Most Share-Worthy Video," described by the network as among "the most impactful music videos of the year." Perhaps I'm confused, but to me, the word "impactful" sounds like something that should have you running to the dentist.
The awards have been airing on MTV since 1984, back when MTV still aired music videos. Last year's show was opened by Lady Gaga. Demi Lovato will perform this year during the preshow festivities.
---Having just guaranteed Charlie Sheen 90 episodes, FX offers a five-hour mara-
thon of "Anger Manage ment" (6 p.m. to 11 p.m., FX, TV-14). "Louie" is pre-empted.
---Coverage of the Demo cratic National Convention (7 p.m., CNN, Current; 8 p.m., PBS, MSNBC; 9 p.m., NBC and Fox News; and 10 p.m., ABC, CBS) continues. Live feeds of the gathering can be found on Internet sites maintained by YouTube and C-SPAN. Highlights include speeches by Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama.
---The top six emerge on "America's Got Talent" (8 p.m., NBC).
---Comedy of a very vintage sort unspools on a mara-
thon (8 p.m., TCM) of the short films of Mack Sennett, all produced between 1909 and 1915. The only feature in the group is "Tillie's Punc tured Romance" (12:45 a.m.), from 1914, starring Charlie Chaplin, Mabel Normand and Marie Dressler.
arrives on the season finale of "Glee" (9 p.m., Fox, r, TV-PG).
---A pedophile escapes and kidnaps a minor on the summer season finale of "Rookie Blue" (9 p.m., ABC, TV-14).
The stars of "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-in" and Julie Newmar ("Batman") co-star in the 1969 comedy quickie "The Maltese Bippy" (6:30 p.m., TCM). Very much of its time. Or slightly behind it.
---Name dropping on "The Big Bang Theory" (8 p.m., CBS, r, TV-PG).
---Here comes the judge on "Raising Hope" (8 p.m., Fox, r, TV-PG).
---Tyler returns to Mystic Falls on "The Vampire Diaries" (8 p.m., CW, r, TV-14).
---Zoey and her daughter move in on "Two and a Half Men" (8:30 p.m., CBS, r, TV-14).
---Moving vans on "New Girl" (8:30 p.m., Fox, r, TV-14).
---Chicago becomes the stage on "The Next" (9 p.m., CW, TV-PG).
---Austan Goolsbee is scheduled on "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" (11 p.m., Comedy Central).
---Seth Green and Milo Green appear on "Conan" (11 p.m., TBS).
---Bill Richardson sits down on "The Colbert Report" (11:30 p.m., Comedy Central).
---Howard Stern and Jason Aldean appear on "Late Show With David Letterman" (11:35 p.m., CBS).
---Jay Leno welcomes Ellen DeGeneres and Billy Ray Cyrus on "The Tonight Show" (11:35 p.m., NBC).
---Matt Stone, Trey Parker, Adam Scott and Everclear appear on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" (midnight, ABC).
---Claire Danes and Jeff Probst visit "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon" (12:35 a.m., NBC).
---Craig Ferguson hosts Angela Kinsey, David Simon and the Heavy on "The Late Late Show" (12:35 a.m., CBS).
Kevin McDonough can be reached at kevin.tvguy@g mail.com.