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Where to be and what to watch...

Monday, Jan. 23

What has Jenna Elfman been working on since Dharma & Greg? Well, her abdominals, as evidenced in the ubiquitous CBS promos. And her new comedy Courting Alex, which debuts at 9:30 p.m. ET. Can Elfman return to late-'90s form? And what do you get when you put several thousand National Association of Television Program Executives in a Vegas hotel? Find out at the NATPE Conference & Exhibition at the Mandalay Bay Resort. Not for nothing, but Steven Bochco, Marc Cherry and Pat Mitchell might leave room in the suitcase for a Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Award, sponsored by B&C, along with sister mags Multichannel News and Variety, plus NBC Universal.

Tuesday, Jan. 24

Can CBS trick the jaded viewing public into eagerly anticipating a car commercial? We'll find out, as the first airing of 60-second serialized short film/long ad The Courier hits during CSI: Miami (9 p.m. ET). Seven installments run over the next nine days, as federal agents trail a bad guy in a Mohawk—and a Pontiac Torrent. Back at NATPE, B&C Editor in Chief Max Robins moderates a session on Hurricane Katrina coverage, with insights from New Orleans Mayor n and a cadre of Gulf Coast station and newspaper bosses. Across the desert, NASA's Stardust spacecraft has touched down in Utah after years in space. Check out the comet dust gathered by Stardust robots when Catching the Comet airs on Science Channel (9 p.m. ET).

Wednesday, Jan. 25

What goes on behind closed doors in the writers' room of a hit sitcom? Find out at NATPE session “Inside the Writers' Room,” as Everybody Loves Raymond creator Phil Rosenthal and his gang of jokesters share their secrets. Plenty of nutty stuff is going on behind closed doors at this reality show: One housemate gets a brain tumor. Another spies on housemates while they're in the bathroom. One gets arrested. It's the season premiere of Drawn Together on Comedy Central (10:30 p.m. ET), starring Captain Hero, Spanky Ham and the rest of the gang. Toon in to see if ghetto-fabulous Foxxy Love can escape a trip to “cartoon erasement camp.” There's a Foxxy character over on NBC as well, as Jamie Foxx—who's really not kidding about this singing thing—warbles on Jamie Foxx: Unpredictable (9 p.m. ET). Mary J. Blige and Snoop Dogg make sure things stay unpredictable.

Thursday, Jan. 26

National Geographic Channel debuts two deadly doses of its The Final Report series. There's D.C. Sniper Case (9 p.m. ET), followed by Waco Tragedy (10 p.m. ET). Sniper retraces the steps of John Muhammad and Lee Malvo as they terrorize the D.C. area, until Police Chief Charles Moose susses things out. Waco wacko David Koresh is the focus of Tragedy, as ATF agents storm his Branch Davidian compound. On a brighter note, '70s TV icons Mary Tyler Moore, Dick Van Patten and Gavin MacLeod jazz up Fox's That ' 70s Show (8 p.m. ET).

Friday, Jan. 27

Cyndi Lauper is the belle of the ball on VH1's Decades Rock Live (8 p.m. ET) at the Trump Taj Mahal. The doyenne of bag-lady chic pairs up with a host of intriguing duet partners, including Pat Monahan of Train (currently playing at a prom near you) and Shaggy. She'll also team with Stone Temple Pilots frontman Scott Weiland (currently playing at a detox center near you) for a version of “Time After Time”—perhaps an homage to the Pilots pilot's long litany of drug lapses.

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