In a move that surprises and saddens many decent, thoughtful people, NBC continues to broadcast "The 2012 Miss Universe Competition" (8 p.m.).
It's not because people are all that agitated about an international beauty pageant. It's because "Universe" is owned by Donald Trump, and they're dumbfounded the network still has anything to do with him.
Trump has long been known as a colorful blowhard. That's been part of his curious charm. But in 2012, Trump aligned himself with the nonsensical extremism of the "birther" movement and began drifting toward the scary fringe. On Nov. 6, Trump greeted (and tweeted) President Barack Obama's re-election by calling it a "travesty" and writing, "We should have a revolution in this country."
I'm no expert, but attacking the democratic process and calling for the violent overthrow of the government go beyond impassioned free speech and tiptoe closely to something called sedition. I'm willing to forgive Trump, but only on two conditions. First, he should apologize for his reckless outburst. Then he must spend a month working as a janitor at the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum, dedicated to the 168 victims murdered in 1995 by domestic terrorist Timothy McVeigh. That would remind Trump there are real consequences to loose and stupid talk of violence against the U.S. government.
NBC has scheduled yet another season of "The Apprentice" for 2013 -- another chance to reflect on the network's craven corporate cowardice.
---Endowed (or perhaps saddled) with two stars of softball "news," ABC offers two year-end retrospectives this season. Barbara Walters has already presented her roundup of "fascinating" people. Tonight, the network presents "The Year With Katie Couric" (9:30 p.m.).
What are the top stories of the year, as processed through the gauzy filters of Couric, ABC News and the editors of People magazine?
Look for glances back at the destruction of Hurricane Sandy; the gruesome massacre in Aurora, Colo.; Olympic heroics and heartbreaks; and the strange, rapid descent of retired general and CIA director David Petraeus from hero to tabloid headline. One presumes there will be some mention of the election. Where have you gone, Herman Cain? And no roundup would be complete without an elegiac tribute to boldfaced names who left us during 2012.
---The remaining finalists sing to survive on part one of the season finale of "The X- Factor" (8 p.m., Fox, TV-PG).
---A Christmas tradition of long standing, "A Home for the Holidays" (8 p.m., CBS) celebrates stories of adoption -- of children who have found homes and of families who have been enriched by new loved ones. Look for performances by Rascal Flatts, Rachel Crow, Melissa Etheridge, Matchbox Twenty and Phillip Phillips.
---Penelope Cruz and Susan
Sarandon star in the 2004 holiday movie "Noel" (8 p.m., CW), directed by Chazz Palminteri.
---"Nature" (8 p.m., PBS) repeats "Christmas in Yellow stone."
---"My Grandmother's Rav- ioli" (8:30 p.m., Cooking) visits a firehouse kitchen in Delmar, N.Y.
---Phil mulls a delicate procedure on "Modern Family" (9 p.m., ABC, r, TV-14).
---"NOVA" (9 p.m., PBS, r) explores "The Riddles of the Sphinx."
---Bel and Freddie consider an expose of the city's vice underworld on "The Hour" (9 p.m., BBC America, TV-14).
---The squad hunts for Russell's granddaughter on "CSI" (10 p.m., CBS, r, TV-14).
---Rumors of looting at a fire site spark an investigation on "Chicago Fire" (10 p.m., NBC, TV-14).
---Melodrama on the pompom squad on "Cheer Perfection" (10 p.m., TLC, TV-PG).
Before appearing in Disney movies such as "Flubber" and
starring in "My Three Sons," Fred MacMurray portrayed a cynical salesman ensnared by a femme fatale (Barbara Stanwyck) in the 1944 drama "Double Indemnity" (8 p.m., TCM), directed by Billy Wilder.
---Frankie seeks skills for her next job on "The Middle" (8 p.m., ABC, r, TV-PG).
---Marty and Debbie feel alien-
ated from their surroundings on "The Neighbors" (8:30 p.m., ABC, r, TV-PG).
---Kyle Kinane and Natalie Irish appear on "Conan" (11 p.m., TBS).
---Kevin Pollak is booked on "Chelsea Lately" (11 p.m., E!).
---Seth Rogen and John Witherspoon appear on "Late Show With David Letterman" (11:35 p.m., CBS).
---Jay Leno welcomes Jamie Foxx, Carl Reiner and the winner of "The Voice" on "The Tonight Show" (11:35 p.m., NBC).
---Ed Burns, Victor Cruz, Jeff Musial and Backstreet Boys visit "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon" (12:35 a.m., NBC).
---Craig Ferguson hosts Judd Apatow and Joanne Froggatt on "The Late Late Show" (12:35 a.m., CBS).
Kevin McDonough can be reached at email@example.com.