"Top Gear" (8:30 p.m., BBC) has always taken a cheeky look at car culture. But it has always offered criticism based on love and devotion. Tonight, "Top Gear" correspondent Richard Hammond genuflects before the altar of NASCAR.
He takes a driving lesson from Kyle Petty at the Texas Motor Speedway and discovers what it's like to slide behind the wheel of a car powered by more than 800 horsepower. Along the way, Hammond touches on the long history and culture of NASCAR and the reasons it has become one of the most popular spectator sports in the United States.
---The high-stakes world of advertising has been part of the appeal of the retro-series "Mad Men" for years now. "The Pitch" (9 p.m., AMC) takes a document-
ary-style look at different ad agencies, some very far from Madison Avenue, as they compete against one other weekly to attract
Look for a lot of swagger and Type-A behavior from folks who spout lines like, "Show me a good loser, and I'll show you a loser."
"The Pitch" provides an inside look at a very cutthroat industry and a reminder that "Mad Men" has been wise to put the emphasis on melodrama and not process.
"Mad Men" makes us believe in the myth of Don Draper types who can breeze into a meeting after a few bourbons and pull a slogan like "It's Toasted" out of the air. "The Pitch" puts the
emphasis on preparation, work and worry.
---Justin Bieber guest stars on tonight's season opener of "Ridiculous ness" (10 p.m., MTV), hosted by Rob Dyrdek. "Ridiculousness" showcases recent Internet videos that strike Dyrdek as funny and bizarre. The boyish Bieber will share his thoughts on clips that include "Humanimals," "Bieber Hair" and "Dodging Bullet."
Every day, more viewers are skipping middleman shows like "Ridicu- lousness" and replacing, or enhancing, their television habits with shows made especially for the Internet. YouTube, a website mostly known for
amateur video clips and short films of cats playing the piano, has now gone into the production business, soliciting programming from a variety of sources.
One YouTube channel (if that's the right word) that viewers can subscribe to is Lionsgate BeFit (youtube.com/user/BeFit), featuring expert advice from exercise trainers, as well as dance workouts. Back in the day, "Jane Fonda's Workout" became the must-have video when folks were just starting to buy VCRs.
Will this kind of programming mark the next step in the evolution of "television"? Who knows? (For the record, Lionsgate is also the producer of "Mad Men.")
---Live semifinals on "The Voice" (8 p.m., NBC, TV-PG).
---Ryan O'Neal guest stars on "Bones" (8 p.m., Fox, TV-14).
---"Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations" (9 p.m., Travel, TV-PG) visits Lisbon, Portugal.
---Weapons of mass destruction on "Hawaii Five-O" (10 p.m., CBS, TV-14).
---Karen's fateful choice on "Smash" (10 p.m., NBC, TV-14).
---Evidence points to a possible zombie attack on "Castle" (10 p.m., ABC, TV-PG).
Tom Hanks narrates "Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon" (10 p.m., Documentary Channel), a 2005 film profiling the men who walked on the lunar surface between 1969 and 1972.
---Marshall panics on "How I Met Your Mother" (8 p.m., CBS, TV-14).
---Dan mulls a Roman
holiday on "Gossip Girl" (8 p.m., CW, TV-14).
---A cupcake challenge on "2 Broke Girls" (8:30 p.m., CBS, TV-14).
---An ailing girl's mother happens to be a meddlesome doctor on "House" (9 p.m., Fox, TV-14).
---Charlie's ghost haunts Alan on "Two and a Half Men" (9 p.m., CBS, TV-14).
---Wade needs help from Zoe on "Hart of Dixie" (9 p.m., CW, TV-PG).
---Bachelor and bachelor-
ette on "Mike & Molly" (9:30 p.m., CBS, TV-14).
---Zach Wahls is scheduled on "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" (11 p.m., Comedy Central).
---Alec Baldwin, Damon Wayans Jr. and Yelawolf appear on "Conan" (11 p.m., TBS, r).
---Diane Keaton sits down on "The Colbert Report" (11:30 p.m., Comedy Central).
---Don Rickles and Carrie Underwood appear on "Late Show With David Letter man" (11:35 p.m., CBS).
---Jay Leno welcomes Steve Martin and Rashida Jones on "The Tonight Show" (11:35 p.m., NBC).
---Vanessa Williams, Jonny Lee Miller and Andrew Bird appear on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" (midnight, ABC).
---Chris Evans, Allison Williams and Tom Morello featuring Ben Harper visit "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon" (12:35 a.m., NBC).
---Craig Ferguson hosts Jim Gaffigan and Cat Cora on "The Late Late Show" (12:35 a.m., CBS).
Kevin McDonough can be reached at kevin.tvguy@g mail.com.