Thursday TV: Relearning a Native Tongue, Regis Farewells

Another good story with which to weigh the traditional portraits of Native Americans that come around Thanksgiving time is Anne Makepeace’s remarkable film about a New England tribe that tries to dig up and reactivate a long-dead native language.

“We Still Live Here – As Nutayunean,” making its debut on “Independent Lens” (PBS, 10 p.m., check local listings), is a remarkable account of how the Wampanoag of coastal Massachusetts attempt to put together the language their ancestors spoke but hadn’t been used in a century.

The native people who have blended in around Southeastern Massachusetts and Martha’s Vineyard are more apt to have Boston accents than traces of the old language, but Jessie Little Doe follows her curiousity all the way to MIT, where she becomes part of a team that tries to dig up the language in old documents, long lost books, to speak it among her people.

Along the way, she gets the praise of linguist Noam Chomsky, who notes that a language “is not just words. It’s a culture, a tradition, a unification of a community, a whole history that creates what a community is.”

It’s the eve of Regis Philbin’s last day ever on “Live with Regis and Kelly” (9 a.m., check local listings), so he is an 80-year-old man much in demand. He’s the subject of an hour long send off on “A Special Edition of 20/20 — Regis Philbin: The Morning Maestro with Katie Couric” (ABC, 8 p.m.) that is also special in part because it represents the first work for the network by Katie Couric, soon to be a syndicated daytime host herself (and likely willing to pick up a few hints from the master).

Philbin will also command a good portion of “Late Show with David Letterman” (CBS, 11:35 p.m.) where Regis has long been a punching bag and go-to guy for comedy. Underneath it all, Letterman has held some long respect (and probably some pity) for the man who has logged the most hours on TV in history (some 17,000 hours. As part of the last minute blitz, Philbin is also a guest on today’s edition of “The View” (ABC, 11 p.m.).

To attract visitors, Leslie proposes building the smallest park in Indiana on a new “Parks & Recreation” (NBC, 8:30 p.m.).

If Paula Abdul’s last remaining act is eliminated on “The X Factor” (Fox, 8 p.m.), can she also go home? Before the elimination, Rihanna, who previously dispensed some of the most potent criticism on the series as guest judge (“This is kind of corny” she said), returns to the show to sing.

The new “Big Shrimpin’” (History, 10 p.m.) is not exactly the Deadliest Catch but it is about fishermen – in Alabama, not Alaska. It follows a holiday celebration by the “Swamp People” (History, 8 p.m.) that they are calling “Swampsgiving” (History, 9 p.m.).

Morgan Fairchild guest stars on “Bones” (Fox, 9 p.m.). Jeff Goldblum and Sarah Silverman guest star on a Thanksgiving episode of “The League” (FX, 10:30 p.m.).

Production has halted on “Prime Suspect” (NBC, 10 p.m.), a cop show that some people actually liked.

Alan Dale, familiar from stints on shows from “The O.C.” to “Lost” and “24” now appears also on “Person of Interest” (CBS, 9 p.m.)

“Community” (NBC, NBC, 8 p.m.) will bail in midseason to make way for “30 Rock.” To continue straight through both shows, though, is “Whitney” (NBC, 9:30 p.m.), which tonight includes Lisa Lampanelli as guest.

An intervention is at the heart of a two hour “Private Practice” (ABC, 9 p.m.).

Andy’s done what he could as the new boss on “The Office” (NBC, 9 p.m.); tonight he tries to set up a field trip.

A motivation for economic stimulus coincides with actual need according to “The Race to Rebuild: America’s Infrastructure” (CNBC, 10 p.m.).

The dolphin movie “Beneath the Blue” (The CW, 8 p.m.) replaces the network’s usual Thursday night fare.

They finally address Mac’s weight gain on “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” (FX, 10 p.m.).

Let us now praise tie-dyed Hugh Romney in “Saint Misbehavin’: The Wavy Gravy Movie” (Showtime, 7:55 p.m.), the documentary that first came out last year.

More movies about ocean liners tonight on Turner Classic Movies, with “The Last Voyage” (8 p.m.), “Juggernaut” (9:45 p.m.), “Rich and Strange” (11:45 p.m.), “Ship of Fools” (1:15 a.m.), “Abandon Ship” (3:45 a.m.) and “Seven Days Ashore” (5:30 a.m.).

On Thursday Night Football, it’s Jets at Broncos (NFL, 8 p.m.).

Daytime Talk

Regis and Kelly: Kathie Lee Gifford, Josh Groban. The View: Regis Philbin, Martin Scorsese, Asa Butterfield, Hope Solo. The Talk: Beau Bridges, Stana Katic, Megyn Price. Ellen DeGeneres: Robin Williams, Selena Gomez & the Scene. Wendy Williams: Fran Drescher.

Late Talk

David Letterman: Regis Philbin, John Fogerty. Jay Leno: Jimmy Fallon, Drew Brees, Gym Class Heroes. Jimmy Kimmel: Peter Facinelli, Jamie Oliver, Vince Gill. Jimmy Fallon: Bill Maher, Ashley Greene, Dierks Bentley. Craig Ferguson: Robin Williams, Black Dub, Jason Schwartzman. Tavis Smiley: Jimmy Cliff. Carson Daly: James Bobin, Evan Wright, We Were Promised Jetpacks. Jon Stewart: Martin Scorsese. Stephen Colbert: Susan Orlean. Conan O’Brien: Kristen Stewart, Jimmy Pardo, Pete Holmes. Chelsea Handler: Miranda Lambert, Jo Koy, Loni Love, Josh Wolf.

This entry was posted in What's On TV. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.