Wednesday TV: CMA Awards, College Basketball Returns

All five nominees for Entertainer of the Year by the Country Music Association will perform at the gala CMA Awards Show (ABC, 8 p.m.), live from Nashville.

Those nominees include Jason Aldean, Blake Shelton, Keith Urban, Brad Paisley and Taylor Swift.

Paisley, who also won the title last year, will co-host along with “American Idol” winner turned bona fide country star Carrie Underwood, left.

Accordingly, last year’s country-fried “Idol” winner Scotty McCreery will also perform, as will Miranda Lambert, Sugarland, Martina McBride, Zac Brown Band, Lady Antebellum. A salute to ailing Glen Campbell will include Paisley, Urban and Vince Gill.

The NBA may be temporarily out of commission but college basketball begins tonight unabated. Games include Lehigh at St. John’s (ESPN2, 7 p.m.), Akron at Mississippi State (ESPNU, 7 p.m.) and Dusquesne at Arizona (ESPN2, 9 p.m.). In college football, it’s Miami Ohio at Temple (ESPN2, 8 p.m.).

They’re popular in the ratings, more for the entertainment value than anything else. That said, the latest Republican Debate (CNBC, 8 p.m.) — the first of two this week alone — comes to you live from Rochester Hills, Mich., featuring all eight candidates.

Wildlife filmmaker Fergus Beeley goes to Venezuela’s Orinoco River jungle in search of the rare and powerful harpy eagle on a new “Nature” (PBS, 8 p.m., check local listings). Three feet high with a six foot wingspan and talons the size of bear claws, the creatures, which subsist on monkeys and sloths the size of housecats, are not exactly happy to see the film crew though.

Hugh Acheson joins the judges’ table on “Top Chef: Texas” (Bravo, 10 p.m.).

George Wendt guest stars on “Harry’s Law” (NBC, 9 p.m.).

If you’re watching daytime TV this afternoon, the first national testing of the Emergency Alert System (All networks, 2 p.m. EST) will take 30 seconds of annoyance and alarm. This is only a test.

Eleven acts perform on “The X Factor” (Fox, 8 p.m.). But it takes two hours to do so. Watch for lip synching in the group number.

Everybody went along with Cameron’s suggestion to be called byhis last name on “Survivor: South Pacific” (CBS, 8 p.m.). Until he blindsided his own tribe after the merge to change a vote. Now in promos they’re calling him “The Nerd.”

The contestants turn to newspapers for inspiration in the latest challenge of “Work of Art: The Next Great Artist” (Bravo, 9 p.m.).

When you make it this far on “America’s Next Top Model” (The CW, 9 p.m.), there’s usually an exotic trip in the offing. This time it’s Greece (supposedly before the financial collapse).

Part II of “Vietnam in HD” (History, 9 p.m.) covers the years 1968 and 69. It’s preceded by last night’s part one at 7 p.m.

And one cable network salutes another when “South Park” (Comedy Central, 10 p.m.) salutes, in its twisted way, “A History Channel Thanksgiving.”

Jason Lee pops up on a new “Up All Night” (NBC, 8 p.m.) as a possible love interest for Maya Rudolph’s character.

Ridley Scott digs up the literary roots of science fiction in the new series “Prophets of Science Fiction” (Science, 10 p.m.) beginning tonight with a look at how Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” predicted today’s organ transplants.

In the third installment of “The Witch Doctor Will See You Now” (National Geographic Channel, 10 p.m.) looks at panic attack remedies in Africa.

Jack the Ripper continues to elude police on “Whitechapel” (BBC America, 10 .m.).

There’s no “Modern Family” on tonight, but Eric Stonestreet pops up on “American Horror Story” (FX, 10 p.m.) as a therapy patient with scary dreams about urban legends.

The Battle of the Blondes continues on Turner Classic Movies, with Judy Holliday in “Born Yesterday” (8 p.m.) and “The Solid Gold Cadillac” (10 p.m.); and Jean Harlow in “Bombshell” (midnight), “Platinum Blonde” (1:45 a.m.) and “The Girl From Mississippi” (4:30 a.m.).

NHL action includes Flyers at Lightning (Versus, 7:30 p.m.).

Daytime Talk

Regis and Kelly: Taylor Lautner. The View: Caterina Scorsone, Ricardo, Antonio, Chavira. The Talk: Dermot Mulroney, Il Divo. Ellen DeGeneres: Taye Diggs, Jermaine Jackson, Kermit the Frog. Wendy Williams: The Braxton Family, Kevin Clash. Rosie O’Donnell: Lisa Ling.

Late Talk

David Letterman: Adam Sandler, Peter Gabriel. Jay Leno: Kelsey Grammer, Sarah Hyland, Andrea Bocelli. Jimmy Kimmel: Robert Pattinson, Freida Pinto, Thompson Square. Jimmy Fallon: Kathy Griffin, Dominic Cooper, David Chang. Craig Ferguson: Ellen Barkin, Dave Attell, Tom Lennon. Tavis Smiley: Niall Ferguson, Kirsten Dunst. Carson Daly: Tim Armstrong, Girl in a Coma, Death Cab for Cutie. Jon Stewart: Rep. Nancy Pelosi. Stephen Colbert: Father Jim Martin. Conan O’Brien: Joel McHale, Cheryl Hines, Jesse Popp. Chelsea Handler: Mindy Kaling, Dan Maurio, Heather McDonald, Dov Davidoff.

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