Tonight your regularly scheduled programming will mostly be absent as Barack Obama and Mitt Romney square off for the first Presidential debate on all of the networks, beginning at 9 p.m.
I find the debates to be a necessary evil, in that I think most Americans already have an idea as to whom they will vote for in November. Generally, one of the candidates probably won't say anything so stirring as to attract many undecided voters, but one or the other may commit a gaffe tonight that will cost them support.
In this age of punditry, people who have already settled on their candidate will then go to Fox News or MSNBC, which will tell them the reasons why their guy won the debate (provided there are no major gaffes, which I don't expect). The candidates are so prepped that they should be ready to anticipate any questions thrown at them, and have their responses (including whatever zingers they intend to throw at their opponent) already prepared.
Debates aren't always an indicator of who will win -- Ronald Reagan was trounced by Walter Mondale in their first debate, but did well enough in the second to roll to a huge victory -- but a poor performance, such as Michael Dukakis rather emotionless debate against the elder George Bush, can prove costly.
Anyway, I expect the supporters of both candidates to say tomorrow that their guy clearly won the debate.
NBC PICKS UP THREE: NBC announced Tuesday full season pickups for "Revolution" and the sitcoms "Go On" and "The New Normal," even though the latter has seen its ratings dip each week. Still, it's a good sign for the struggling Peacock.
WEDNESDAY'S BEST BETS: Probably lost amid the debate coverage is the season premiere for "Supernatural" (CW, 9 p.m.), with Dean still trapped in Purgatory. Why, it's almost a metaphor for sitting through the Presidential race.
ABC will air new episodes of "The Middle" and "The Neighbors" from 8-9 p.m. before the debates, while CBS will do the same with "Survivor." Fox has a new "X-Factor" at 8 p.m., and NBC offers "Animal Practice" and "Guys With Kids."