You know what your Friday night needs? Alaskan old miners!
Since the season finale of “Gold Rush” there hasn’t been much out there to watch in this specialized field of claim jumpers and panners who use earthmovers instead of pickaxes to find their treasure.
But there’s a new copycat series beginning tonight: “Goldfathers” (National Geographic Channel, 10 p.m.), about three other crews of Alaskan gold miners who race against time to get as much of the glittery stuff as possible before the onset of winter. One of them involves a family that includes young women so you won’t have to watch toothless old men and bearded dudes do all the digging.
It’s yet another series that extends the fascination with the 49th state, after “Alaska State Troopers” and “Alaska Wing Men.” Where is that series about pot smokers in the great north, “Baked Alaska”?
After five years of being one of the prime USA series blending action and humor, the witness protection saga “In Plain Sight” (USA, 10 p.m.) presents its series finale. Star Mary McCormick by now is a mother her self, as is her character in the show, Mary Shannon. She’s reeling still from the death of her character’s father last week and some office shakeups due tonight, involving the strong support cast.
The hastily assembled “Adam Yauch: Remembering a Beastie Boy” (MTV, 8 p.m.; MTV2, 11 p.m.) looks at the life of the rap pioneer who died earlier in the day.
“Fringe” (Fox, 9 p.m.) begins its season finale with part one of a story that involves spontaneous human combustion.
If Rashida Jones doesn’t go any further back than her parents, Quincy Jones and Peggy Lipton, it will be an interesting genealogical story on “Who Do You Think You Are?” (NBC, 8 p.m.).
The inventor of rollerblades wants investors in an elevated monorail system for bikes on a new “Shark Tank” (ABC, 8 p.m.).
Colin Powell, Ed Schultz, Susan Del Percio, Bobcat Goldthwait and Lawrence Wilkerson are the scheduled guests on a new “Real Time with Bill Maher” (HBO, 10 p.m.).
Painters Rackstraw Downes and Robert Mangold and sculptor Sarah Sze are the subjects of the season six finale of “Art in the Twenty-First Century” (PBS, 9 p.m.), check local listings).
Dan Savage looks at the military in the wake of the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” on “Need to Know” (PBS, 8:30 p.m., check local listings).
On the second week of “Whale Wars: Viking Shores” (Animal Planet, 9 p.m.) the Briditt Bardot is already in trouble. Stevie Irwin is detained in a Scottish port and angry Faroe Islands locals are intent on boarding the ship.
The cast of “V for Vendetta” (BBC America, 9 p.m.) are all wearing those Guy Falkes masks form the Occupy movement.
Sometimes you think producers encourage stars of reality shows to do dumb things just to add drama to their shows. On “Jennie Garth: A Little Bit Country” (CMT, 9 p.m.), for example, she adopts 10 untrained dogs from the shelter at once.
To prepare you for Sunday’s comedy awards, “The Comedy Awards Playlist” (Comedy Central, 9 p.m.) features standup highlights from nominees Louis C.K., Daniel tosh and Donald Glover, among others.
Ike tries to save Judi from Ben Diamond on a new episode of “Magic City” (Starz, 10 p.m.).
The reality series “24/7 Mayweather/Cotto” (HBO, 8 p.m.) reaches a finale in advance of Saturday’s super welterweight bout in Las Vegas.
A Traveler teen wants to marry even though her mom just died on the second season finale of the imported “My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding” (TLC, 10 p.m.).
In the new reality series “My Momma Throws Down” (TV One, 8 p.m.) a pair of mothers go head to head in cooking competitions.
Lee J. Cobb is featured tonight in “The Three Faces of Eve” (TCM, 8 p.m.), “12 Angry Men” (9:45 p.m.) and “They Came to Rob Las Vegas” (TCM, 11:30 p.m.).
Later, a couple from John Carpenter: “They Live” (TCM, 2 a.m.) and “Escape from New York” (TCM, 3:45 a.m.).
NBA playoff games include Hawks at Celtics (ESPN, 7:30 p.m.), Bulls at 76ers (ESPN2, 8 p.m.) and Lakers at Nuggets (ESPN, 10:30 p.m.).
In Stanley Cup playoffs it’s Coyotes at Predators (NBC Sports Network, 7:30 p.m.).
In baseball, it’s Phillies at Nationals (MLB, 7 p.m.).
Kelly Ripa: Nathan Fillion, Ben Mulroney. The View: Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Marcela Valladolid, Bruce Jenner. The Talk: Jennifer Love Hewitt, Susan Feniger, Carnie Wilson. Ellen DeGeneres: Scarlett Johansson, Robert Downey Jr.
David Letterman: Electric Guest. Jay Leno: Kristen Stewart, James Morrison. Jimmy Kimmel: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, the Hives (rerun). Jimmy Fallon: Nathan Fillion, Taran Killam, Retta, Kathleen Edwards. Craig Ferguson: Zooey Deschanel, Patrick Warburton. Tavis Smiley: Damian Lewis. Carson Daly: Regina King, We are Legion, Portugal The Man. Chelsea Handler: Alison Brie, Chris Franjola, Jen Kirkman, Matt Braunger (rerun).