Monday TV: Bios of Two Southern Writers, Championship too

Two Southern women who earned worldwide fame for writing a single novel – and never releasing another – are profiled separately tonight on back-to-back editions of “American Masters” (PBS, 9 and 10 p.m., check local listings).

Margaret Mitchell, pictured at left, is first – a feisty former newspaperwoman who almost didn’t finish “Gone with the Wind,” but finished what is called the most popular novel ever released almost on a dare.

Like the biography that follows on Harper Lee, it conflates the film with the book to an unnerving degree, and when it isn’t illustrated by actual words on paper, they cut to the equally famous film version as if it were a direct substitute.

Lee, author of “To Kill a Mockingbird” is in some ways a tougher subject, as she’s refused interviews for decades. Still the film succeeds in tracking down the woman who played Scout in the Gregory Peck film and almost makes the grade by hearing the gravelly voice of Lee’s older sister, now in her 90s.

It’s quite a mess of storytelling though, as author interviews, quotes from kid readers and, of course, the omnipresent film, are interspersed with her biography. Also unavailable for comment was her childhood friend Truman Capote, who was the model for the character Dill, and dropped their friendship out of jealousy when “Mockingbird” won the Pulitzer.

March is over and the Madness ends once and for all with the NCAA Men’s Basketball National Championship in New Orleans between Kansas and Kentucky (CBS, 9 p.m.).

“Bones” (Fox, 8 p.m.) returns, with the baby having been born. It was renewed last week for an eighth season.

The inventive and amusing cartoon “Adventure Time” (Cartoon Network, 7:30 p.m.) begins a new season for its boy and dog. Their problem in the season four return is being smitten by a woman, which you might say is like playing with fire. Bu Finn’s got a thing for the Flame Princess.

The live performances begin on “The Voice” (NBC, 8 p.m.). But there’s 24 acts to get through. Half of them perform tonight and viewers for the first time can vote.

With Martina Navratilova out, the remaining 11 perform on a new “Dancing with the Stars” (ABC, 8 p.m.) doing mostly the rumba, though some do  another dance they had not learned — the jive, samba, jive, waltz, foxtrot and salsa. Each also has to tie a dance to a personal story.

Ivy and Karen are in competition now for an orange juice commercial on “Smash” (NBC, 10 p.m.).

Keith Olbermann parted ways with Current TV Friday, his replacement is the former New York Governor on a new show called “Viewpoint with Eliot Spitzer” (Current, 8 and 11 p.m.). It joins the primetime lineup of “Young Turks with Cenk Uygur” (Current, 7 and 10 p.m.) and “The War Room with Jennifer Grandholm” (9 p.m. and midnight).

The star of the month on Turner Classic Movies is Doris Day. The month long Monday night salute begins with “The Lullaby of Broadway” (8 p.m.), “By the Light of the Silvery Moon” (9:45 p.m.), “My Dream is Yours” (11:30 p.m.), “On Moonlight Bay” (1:15 a.m.), “Romance on the High Seas” (3 a.m.) and “Tea for Two” (4:45 a.m.).

In hockey, it’s Capitals at Lightning (NBC Sports, 7 p.m.).

Daytime Talk

Kelly Ripa: Jason Biggs, Heejun Han, Mark Consuelos. The View: Shannen Doherty, Rachel Dratch, Rev. Mother Dolores Hart. Ellen DeGeneres: Colin Farrell, Seann William Scott, Lionel Richie.

Late Talk

David Letterman: Dana Carvey, Jon Fisch, Los Campesinos! (rerun). Jay Leno: Bety White, Pauly DelVecchio, Eric Huthinson. Jimmy Kimmel: Seann William Scott, Christa Miller, Eli Young Band. Jimmy Fallon: Jennifer Love Hewitt, Emeril Lagasse. Craig Ferguson: Julie Chen, Pau Gasol. Conan O’Brien: Kate Micucci. Chelsea Handler: Nicole Richie, Dan Levy, Arden Myrin, Bill Bellamy (rerun).

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