With basketball on CBS, PBS convenes a book club. "American Masters" profiles two Southern women whose books be-
came some of the most beloved novels of the 20th century, inspiring classic motion pictures while also deal-
ing with larger issues of racism and Southern identity.
"Margaret Mitchell: Amer ican Rebel" (9 p.m.) offers a glimpse at the woman behind "Gone With the Wind." Her own life would provide plenty of material for the massive page-turner that sold millions of copies during the Great Depression. She would lose a fiance to World War I before she turned 18 and lose her mother to influenza soon after. She was later courted by two men and married the wrong one before settling down with the soul mate who would survive her.
She evolved from a sheltered Southern belle who recoiled when she had to share a classroom with a black woman at Smith College in Massachusetts to a rather liberated flapper and enterprising journalist during the 1920s.
"Rebel" also reveals how, after she became wealthy from sales of "Gone With the Wind," she secretly financed the first black hospital in Atlanta and provided tuition for the education of black doctors to staff the facility. It's unclear, but implied, that she was inspired to do so by the negative reaction of black readers (and, later, moviegoers) to her portrayal of slavery in her epic novel.
"Harper Lee: Hey, Boo" (10 p.m.) mixes scholarly and literary voices and pop culture figures (Tom Brokaw and Oprah Winfrey) in its appreciation of "To Kill a Mocking bird." Like "Rebel," it relies a great deal on clips from its film adaptation, an instant masterpiece that turns 50 this year.
Of the two women, Lee is the greater enigma, an Alabaman living in Manhattan who was aided emotionally and financially by gracious fellow Southern exiles. Much is made of Lee's relationship with Truman Capote, a childhood friend and the subject for the peculiar neighbor, Dill, in "Mocking bird." "Boo" explores their very different reactions to fame. While Capote spent a great deal of the '60s and '70s on TV talk shows and at Studio 54, Lee rivaled J.D. Salinger as one of American literature's great recluses. She has not granted an interview since 1964, and no second novel or follow-up to "Mockingbird" has, or likely will, ever emerge.
Of the two, "Boo" is more focused on the book and those single images and passages that make "Mockingbird" so powerful and unforgettable. The "Rebel" profile of Mitchell actually reminded me of the more accessible and breezy
"Biography" profiles that A&E used to air before it be-
came hooked on "Hoarders."
---The Emmy-winning "Adven ture Time" (7:30 p.m., Cartoon Network) enters its fourth season.
---Two hours of live performances on "The Voice" (8 p.m., NBC).
---Sewers, prisons and a bundle of joy on "Bones" (8 p.m., Fox, TV-14), which is new to this night and time.
---March Madness concludes with the 2012 NCAA Basketball Tournament championship game (9 p.m., CBS), live from New
---A soldier's code leads to treason charges on "House" (9 p.m., Fox, TV-14). Every episode of "House" will be original until the series finale on May 21.
---All the show needs is a new title and a star on "Smash" (10 p.m., NBC, TV-14).
---Help arrives from Scotland Yard on "Castle" (10 p.m., ABC, TV-PG).
Three Oscar winners, Al Pacino, Russell Crowe and Christopher Plummer, star in "The Insider" (7 p.m., Fox Movie Channel), the 1999 drama about the tobacco industry, whistle-blowing and the limits of
---Less than neighborly on "2 Broke Girls" (8 p.m., CBS, r, TV-14).
---A talking Bass on "Gossip Girl" (8 p.m., CW, TV-14).
---Shorn and shaved on "Two and a Half Men" (8:30 p.m., CBS, r, TV-14).
---George takes a bow on "Hart of Dixie" (9 p.m., CW, r, TV-PG).
---Kate Micucci appears on "Conan" (11 p.m., TBS).
---Nicole Richie, Dan Levy, Arden Myrin and Bill Bellamy are booked on "Chelsea Lately" (11 p.m., E!, r).
---Dana Carvey, Jon Fisch and Los Campesinos! appear on "Late Show With David Letterman" (11:35 p.m., CBS, r).
---Jay Leno welcomes Betty White, DJ Pauly D and Eric Hutchinson on "The Tonight Show" (11:35 p.m., NBC).
---Seann William Scott, Christa Miller and the Eli Young Band appear on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" (midnight, ABC).
---Jennifer Love Hewitt and Emeril Lagasse visit "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon" (12:35 a.m., NBC).
---Craig Ferguson hosts Julie Chen and Pau Gasol on "The Late Late Show" (12:35 a.m., CBS).
Kevin McDonough can be reached at email@example.com.