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UNDERCOVER BILLIONAIRE LOOKS FOR THE AMERICAN DREAM
Nobody watches television for the realism. Particularly when it comes to work, class and status. Sometimes it takes a rich person to show viewers how hard life can be when you have no money.
In Undercover Billionaire (10 p.m., Discovery, TV-PG), self-made financial tycoon Glenn Stearns hopes to prove that the American dream endures. He volunteers to get dropped into a strange city with only $100 in his pocket. His goal is to create a million-dollar business in just 90 days. If he fails, he promises to cough up $1 million from his own pocket.
The first eight minutes of Undercover are little more than an advertisement for Stearns lifestyle. There are numerous shots of him in a helicopter, literally on top of the world.
Things get interesting only after he is deposited in Erie, Pennsylvania, a Rust Belt city with a proud industrial history. At first, he hopes to find discarded truck tires to sell and parlay them into cash. After some serious industrial dumpster diving, he comes up empty. He tries his hand at commission sales and cant close a single deal.
All the time, a little ticker shows the audience how far hes dipped into his $100 kitty, or how close hes come to his million-dollar goal. Spoiler alert: The numbers get kind of scary in the pilot episode as he tires of sleeping in a truck in frigid conditions and is reduced to a ramen-only diet.
Stearns deserves credit for admitting that he may have been overconfident. Billionaire also respects its audiences intelligence enough to show how Stearns explains the presence of a camera crew as he scrounges for jobs, money and meals.
The notion that viewers will only watch poverty when it is experienced by a secret rich person is hardly new to this show, or even television. Two of the best movies of the Depression era, My Man Godfrey and Sullivans Travels, operated on the same premise. They were both comedies. It remains to be seen in what genre Billionaire belongs as it continues its reality television take on Horatio Algers message.
The American Experience (9 p.m., PBS, TV-MA, check local listings) presentation Woodstock: Three Days That Defined a Generation recalls a mass gathering at an Aquarian music festival that marked the end of the 1960s.
Filled with rare footage, Woodstock focuses on the business side of a festival run by people who had no business running a major event. It shows how a positive vibe kept major catastrophes at bay and how rural Bethel, New York, residents shed their suspicions to offer medical aid and food to a hippie throng nearly half a million strong.
While this is an American Experience, theres little historical perspective offered. We never hear how the spirit of the festival has survived or withered over the past five decades. Rich in performance footage and observations by those who were there, its a celebration of a celebration that has already inspired many retrospectives.
Cameras capture First Responders Live (9 p.m., Fox, TV-14).
Farouks master plan changes everything on the season finale of Blood Treasure (10 p.m., CBS, TV-14).
First-round survivors compete on Bring the Funny (10 p.m., NBC, TV-14).
The new extreme travel series Code of the Wild (10 p.m., Travel, TV-PG) hopes to unravel historical mysteries. First up: El Dorado.
Damon spills secrets on Pose (10 p.m., FX, TV-MA).
After an affair, a scorned woman (Glenn Close) attacks her lover (Michael Douglas) and his wife (Anne Archer) in the 1987 thriller Fatal Attraction (10 p.m., TMC).
Tropical distractions on Love Island (8 p.m., CBS, TV-PG) Jay Leno appears on Americas Got Talent (8 p.m., NBC, TV-PG) Spin the Wheel (8 p.m., Fox, TV-PG) Footprints in the sand on Bachelor in Paradise (8 p.m., ABC, TV-14) Jax joins Xander on Pandora (8 p.m., CW, TV-14).
Halloween horrors on NCIS (9 p.m., CBS, r, TV-14) You gotta have faith on The 100 (9 p.m., CW, TV-14) Goodbye, city life on Bless This Mess (10 p.m., ABC, r, TV-PG) Throwing shade on black-ish (10:30 p.m., ABC, r, TV-PG).
Kevin Bacon appears on Conan (11 p.m., TBS, r) Jimmy Fallon welcomes Dakota Johnson, Post Malone, Jon Lovitz and Tyler Childers on The Tonight Show (11:35 p.m., NBC).
Michelle Williams, Noel Gallagher and Tommy Orange visit Late Night With Seth Meyers (12:35 a.m., NBC) Melissa McCarthy, Elisabeth Moss, Jakob Dylan and Jade Castrinos appear on The Late Late Show With James Corden (12:35 a.m., CBS).
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