Some Real Celebrities, For A Change

Say what you will about "The Marriage Ref," (NBC, 10 p.m.), but no one can deny the A-listers they are bringing to serve as the show's jury.

I have to admit, I'm probably going to watch tonight because its guests include Madonna, Ricky Gervais and Larry David. Heck, I'd watch just for Gervais or Davis by themselves, but the two of them together could make for a lot of fun. And no one can deny Madonna's celebrity stature.

Other guests have included Alec Baldwin, Tina Fey, Eva Longoria and series creator Jerry Seinfeld.

It's nice for a series that promotes having celebrities to actually have real-life celebrities that people might want to spend an hour with.

Compare it to NBC's "Celebrity Apprentice," which debuts Sunday and features the likes of disgraced Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, ex-baseball washout Darryl Strawberry and former Poison frontman Bret Michaels among others. (Is Poison still even together?)

Is there anyone among that group that anyone wants to root for, or spend the next three months watching?

For some reason, ABC's "Dancing With The Stars" remains popular, even though its "Stars" include Pamela Anderson, who hasn't been relevant for a decade, and former astronaut Buzz Aldrin, whom sadly probably few of the 18-to-24 demographic networks covet have probably heard of.

It's interesting to note that Corey Haim, who died yesterday at 38, and who was briefly a teen hearththrob in the '80s before having his career fizzle out due to drugs and such, made his last appearance with fellow washout Corey Feldman on "The Two Coreys," another so-called reality show that seemed to celebrate these guys as a joke.

If networks are going to advertise "celebrity" editions of programs, then at least make it worthwhile. Seinfeld is doing it, "American Idol" does it when they bring on big-time singers as guest acts and judges, but few others do. Perhaps that's the problem with the TMZ-ification of things, about who actually qualifies as a celebrity any more, and why.

THURSDAY'S BEST BETS: "The Marriage Ref" is preceded by an all-new night of NBC comedies, including guest stars Katharine McPhee on "Community," Kathy Bates on "The Office," and Elizabeth Banks on "30 Rock."

ABC has new episodes of "Grey's Anatomy" and "Private Practice," beginning at 9 p.m. CBS is all-new with "Survivor," followed by "CSI" and "The Mentalist."

Fox airs the results for "American Idol" at 8 p.m., followed by "Kitchen Nightmares."

On cable, "Archer" (FX, 10 p.m.) is new with guest voice Jeffrey Tambor as the head of a rival agency that tries to hire Archer.