On TV Tonight: A Turkey’s Life, ‘Modern Family’

Joe Hutto is a naturalist who likes to imprint himself on wildlife – making them think he’s the mother for a time. He did it with deer, who hang around him like he’s Snow White. Then he got a whole bunch of turkey eggs and learned all about their lives as they accepted him as the mother.

The resulting report “My Life as a Turkey” on “Nature” (PBS, 8 p.m., check local listings) may make you think twice before placing your order for next week’s holiday.

But the way the episode was made was almost as unusual as his experiment. Just about the whole exercise, written for a book called “Illumination in the Flatlands,” had to be re-created. But what’s really weird is that the part of Hutto is played by a wildlife photographer, Jeff Palmer, who narrates and appears on screen and explains why this may be the first episode in the history of the longest-running nature show on TV to begin with the admission: “Based on a true story.”

It’s “Modern Family” (ABC, 9 p.m.) to the rescue when a neighbor’s hosue burns down.

It’s Tessa’s 16th birthday on “Suburgatory” (8:30 p.m.)

The balance of power was shifted radically last week on “Survivor: South Pacific” (CBS, 8 p.m.) after two were eliminated.

The girls on “America’s Next Top Model” (The CW, 9 p.m.) solve the financial crisis in Greece. Or go sightseeing there, I can’t remember which.

The detectives in “Whitechapel” (BBC America, 10 p.m.) now have to deal with crimes patterned after those committed by the Kray Twins.

Molly Shannon pops up on “Up All Night” (NBC. 8 p.m.) and it’s not the first time she’s played opposite Maya Rudolph for laughs. A third “SNL” veteran, Norm MacDonald, returns to “The Middle” (ABC, 8 p.m.).

“Harry’s Law” (NBC, 9 p.m.) will move to Sunday nights beginning in March. For now, there’s a new episode about a teen who opens fire on a campus and kills five. This is apparently a popular topic on TV this season, as it was already used on “American Horror Story” (FX, 10 p.m.).

The Top 10 sing on “The X Factor” (Fox, 8 p.m.). So far the only two to be eliminated from the finalists are acts mentored by Paula Abdul.

The work of Philip K. Dick is explored in this week’s episode of “Prophets of Science Fiction” (Science, 10 p.m.).

Kenny goes to foster care in the 15th season finale of “South Park” (Comedy Central, 10 p.m.).

Carole Lombard is featured in “Nothing Sacred” (TCM, 8 p.m.) and “To Be or Not to Be” (TCM, 9:30 p.m.); while Mae West in the centerpiece in “She Done Him Wrong” (TCM, 11:30 p.m.) and “I’m No Angel” (TCM, 12:45 a.m.),

Daytime Talk

Regis and Kelly: David Letterman, Bret Michaels. The View: Diane Keaton. The Talk: Rita Moreno, Russ Tamblyn, George Chakiris, Todd English, Perez Hilton Ellen DeGeneres: Dylan McDermott, Miranda Lambert. Wendy Williams: NeNe Leakes, Levi Crocker, Phillip Willis, Ashley Kelly. Rosie O’Donnell: Marlee Matlin, Patti LaBelle.

Late Talk

David Letterman: Jerry Seinfeld, Lykke Li. Jay Leno: Robin Williams, Maria Bello, Vince Gill. Jimmy Kimmel: Tim Allen, Jackson Rathbone, Miranda Lambert. Jimmy Fallon: Martin Short, Kermit & Miss Piggy, Michael Stipe. Craig Ferguson: Michael Ian Black, Alex Kingston, Angela Kinsey. Tavis Smiley: Carole King & Louis Goffin. Carson Daly: Will Willis, Eribeto & Estevan Oriol, Trentemoller. Jon Stewart: Diane Keaton. Stephen Colbert: Chris Matthews. Conan O’Brien: Nicole “Snoki” Polizzi, Kellan Lutz, Pegi Young. Chelsea Handler: Shailene Woodley, Matt Braunger, Fortune Feimster, Chris Hardwick .

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