It had to happen. In fact, why did it take so long for network television to turn chronic unemployment and widespread misery into an excuse for a game show?

Produced by Michael Davies ("Who Wants to Be a Million- aire") and Mark Burnett ("Survi vor") and hosted by Lisa Ling ("The View"), "The Job" (8 p.m., CBS, TV-PG) invites five hopefuls to apply for a dream job. The company offering the job is represented by three honchos and receives lavish product placement.

The first episode is an extended commercial for the restaurant chain the Palm. Like "Undercover Boss," these folks appear to promote their businesses and themselves. But unlike "Boss," we never dis-

cover anything bad about their companies, only how much desperately unemployed people want to work for them.

Between commercial breaks, Palm managers shared do's and don'ts of job interviews and other advice. This being reality television, two of the five applicants have sad backstories worthy of the old "Queen for a Day" series. One woman is a widowed mother of six, and another has just beaten a cancer diagnosis. You won't need clairvoyance to pick the winner within the first two minutes of "The Job."

As if they're aware the drama can sometimes flag, the producers of "The Job" bring three other business owners/managers on and invite them to poach a candidate of their choosing. This gives the show a feel-good moment, putting a long-term unemployed person in the driver's seat for once, allowing him or her to choose between suitors. Of course, this is a gimmick well known to viewers of "Shark Tank" (9 p.m., ABC, TV-PG).

---You could be forgiven for having never heard of "Touch" (8 p.m., Fox, TV-14). This new age mystery of synchronicity has migrated all over the schedule since debuting in

January of last year.

Kiefer Sutherland stars as Martin, a former journalist and widower whose wife died on

9/11, leaving him with sole custody of their mute son, Jake (David Mazouz). Although he has never spoken a word, Jake obsesses about the patterns found in numbers. In a flashback tonight, a religious authority explains the boy might be among the dozen or so holy seers who keep the world from divine intervention. Golly!

Along the way, Martin has been told about the existence of fellow pattern-finder Amelia (Saxon Sharbino), whose mother, Lucy (Maria Bello), perfectly matches Martin in exasperated intensity. Amelia's gone missing, and apparently there's a giant corporation intent on kidnapping all of the world's seers for its evil purposes.

"Touch" is more than a handful. It expects us to swallow a remarkable dose of mystic Hollywood hooey and see it through the eyes of a character who too often is a barely housetrained version of Jack Bauer on "24." When not coughing up breathless empathy for his son's cryptic discov-

eries, he's kicking down doors and punching bad guys in the face. It's a little hard to reconcile the two sides of his nature.

OTHER HIGHLIGHTS

---"Alpha Dogs" (9 p.m., Nat Geo Wild, TV-14) profiles K-9 units in the military and Secret Service.

---Mac and Russell collaborate to save Christine on "CSI: NY" (9 p.m., CBS, TV-14).

---An unlikely source of supplies emerges on "Spartacus: War of the Damned" (9 p.m., Starz, TV-MA).

---Murder stalks an insular religious sect on "Blue Bloods" (10 p.m., CBS, TV-14).

---Arthur sets out to rescue Gwen on "Merlin" (10 p.m., Syfy, TV-PG).

---Deadly fumes hurt the Edge's chances on "Bering Sea Gold" (10 p.m., Discovery, TV-14).

---Bikers crash a local festival on "Banshee" (10 p.m., Cinemax, TV-MA).

---"The Jenny McCarthy Show" (10:30 p.m., VH1) debuts.

CULT CHOICE

Lou Reed revisits a 1973 concept album in the 2008 documentary "Lou Reed's Berlin" (9 p.m., VH1 Classic).

SERIES NOTES

---Mandy's beau impresses Mike on "Last Man Standing" (8 p.m., ABC, TV-PG).

---Nikita goes rogue on "Nikita" (8 p.m., CW, TV-14).

---Shauna strikes a sour note on "Malibu Country" (8:30 p.m., ABC, TV-PG).

---More tricks than treats on "The Carrie Diaries" (9 p.m., CW, r, TV-14).

---Kids who are competitive runners on "Rock Center With Brian Williams" (10 p.m., NBC).

LATE NIGHT

---Kristen Bell, Brody Stevens, Loni Love and Matt Braunger appear on "Chelsea Lately" (11 p.m., E!, r).

---Mariah Carey and Jake

Johannsen appear on "Late Show With David Letterman" (11:35 p.m., CBS).

---Jay Leno welcomes Seth MacFarlane and Norah Jones on "The Tonight Show" (11:35 p.m., NBC).

---"Jimmy Kimmel Live" (11:35 p.m., ABC) glances at the last four nights.

---Jason Schwartzman, Keri Russell and Night Bed visit "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon" (12:35 a.m., NBC).

---Craig Ferguson hosts Alfred Molina on "The Late Late Show" (12:35 a.m., CBS).

Kevin McDonough can be reached at kevin.tvguy@gmail.com.