Monday TV: Life and Times of Ben Bradlee

cq5dam.web.768.432Ben Bradlee may be most famous as the Jason Robards stand in during the Watergate drama, but as the family-produced “The Newspaperman: The Life and Times of Ben Bradlee” (HBO, 8 p.m.) shows, there were several other important chapters to the Washington Post editor’s life — particularly palling around with JFK and in printing the Pentagon Papers after the New York Times was ordered to stop.

The upbeat portrayal, with narration from the audio version of his own autobiography, is full of fawning fellow journalists and is light on details about the ramifications of his multiple marriages. And there’s no sign of Tom Hanks, who is about to portray him in the big screen “The Post.”

Scores of empty seats greeted the 95th Annual National Tree Lighting (Hallmark, 7 p.m.) last week at the White House. But not because of hosts Kathie Lee Gifford and Dean Cain or entertainers Mannheim Steamroller, the Beach Boys (or what’s left of them), Jack Wagner, the Texas Tenors, Wynonna and Craig Campbell. It may have been the president’s presence.

From Carson Mell of “Silicon Valley” comes “Tarantula” (TBS, 10 and 10:30 p.m.), a deadpan new animated series about down and outers of the Tierra Chula Resident Hotel and specifically, the adventures of uncertified tattoo artist and raconteur Echo Johnson. Except for the mystic leanings of the main character, it may be the closest thing to “King of the Hill” since that went off the air.

“Cash Cab” (Discovery, 10 p.m.) returns with new episodes for the first time in five years. Host Ben Bailey also has some rule changes in the game.

The Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity may want to keep an eye on “The Voice” (NBC, 8 p.m.) as voting opens up for the Top 10.

Hard to imagine there’s a single character in “Southern Charm” worth a spin-off but here’s “RelationShep” (Bravo, 10 p.m.), following the romantic adventure of its Shep Rose.

The annual electricity-burning competition “The Great Christmas Light Fight” (ABC, 8 p.m.) begins a fifth season of rewarding mania with its own excess: a two hour episode.

The sixth season starts for “Man v. Food” (Travel, 9 p.m.) with a trip to L.A.

The terrible wait staff at the West Hollywood restaurant SUR begins a sixth season of “Vanderpump Rules” (Bravo, 9 p.m.).

“Supergirl” (The CW, 8 p.m.) would do well to battle ousted showrunner Andrew Kreisberg but instead, it will be Reign.

“Ride with Norman Reedus” (AMC, 9 p.m.) ends its season by stopping in to see Mario Batali in New York.

“Robert Kirkman’s Secret History of Comics” (AMC, 10 p.m.) tackles the origins of Image Comics.

A new member of the surgical team arrives on “The Good Doctor” (ABC, 10 p.m.).

“Manson Speaks: Inside the Mind of a Madman” (History, 9 p.m.) concludes with part two.

Adam thinks Kate’s new boyfriend is a pothead on “Man with a Plan” (CBS, 8:30 p.m.).

Gifting burial plots is not a great idea on “9JKL” (CBS, 9:30 p.m.).

On “Superior Donuts” (CBS, 9 p.m.), Franco considers giving up admission to his dream school.

A plan to help mutants in custody is developed on “The Gifted” (Fox, 9 p.m.).

Recipients of favors by “Lucifer” (Fox, 8 p.m.) begin to turn up dead.

“The Wall” (NBC, 10 p.m.) has a holiday-themed competition. But not as much as “Holiday Baking Championship” (Food, 9 p.m.) or the “Christmas Cookie Challenge” (Food, 10 p.m.).

On “Valor” (The CW, 9 p.m.), Nora and Ian reach a crucial point in their relationship.

“Floribama Shore” (MTV, 10 p.m.) is already exhausting and repellant.

Movies about boxers are on Turner Classic Movies tonight with “Requiem for a Heavyweight” (8 p.m.), “Fat City” (9:45 p.m.), “Somebody Up There Likes Me” (11:30 p.m.) and “The Harder They Fall” (3:30 a.m.).

Monday Night Football has Pittsburgh at Cincinnati (ESPN, 8:30 p.m.).

Men’s college basketball includes Michigan at Ohio State (Fox Sports 1, 6:30 p.m.), Wisconsin at Penn State (ESPN2, 7 p.m.), Florida State at Florida (ESPN2, 9 p.m.) and Northern Illinois at Iowa State (ESPNU, 9 p.m.).

Pro games include Milwaukee at Boston (NBA, 7:30 p.m.).

Daytime Talk

Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest: Rene Russo, Satires Ronan, Fantasia. The View: Anna Navarro. The Talk: Scott Foley, Andy Grammer. Harry Connick: Whoopi Goldberg, Josh Capon. Steve Harvey: Smokey Robinson, Chad Michael Muray. Ellen DeGeneres: Tiffany Haddish, Blake Shelton. Wendy Williams: Melissa Garcia, Josh McBride. The Real: Gene Simmons.

Late Talk

Stephen Colbert: Billy Bush, Gwendoline Christie. Jimmy Kimmel: Chris Pratt, Margot Robbie, Chris Stapleton. Jimmy Fallon: Keegan-Michael Key, Claire Foy, St. Vincent. Seth Meyers: Samantha Bee, Matt Smith, Steve Earle, Lucinda Williams, Brooks Wackerman. James Corden: Denis Leary, Maya Rudolph, Bob Odenkirk, Sterophonics. Carson Daly: Paula Poundstone, the Shelters, Dominic Minghella. Trevor Noah: Frankie Shaw. Jordan Klepper: Kwame Alexander. Conan O’Brien: Dan Rather, Ana Gasteyer, Ty Segall.


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