Tonight's most notable TV happening is the return of several late-night variety shows that had halted production due to the Hollywood writers' strike. Unfortunately, the strike isn't over; the shows are just coming back without writers, except The Late Show with David Letterman (11:35 p.m., CBS), which struck a special deal with the WGA and will have its full writing staff at its disposal. I'm not sure how that all works, but I know it seems pretty unfair. Could the Lost writers please strike a special deal?
Anyway, hopefully Americans will see what a mess these shows become without the writers and this will help bring the strike to a resolution sooner. I fear that the opposite will happen: No one will notice or care about the drop in quality, the writers' value will decrease and those of us who have some degree of taste will be screwed. Bah. The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (11:35 p.m., NBC), Jimmy Kimmel Live (12:05 a.m., ABC) and Late Night with Conan O'Brien (12:35 a.m., NBC) make their return as well.
One other intriguing programming note: Tonight at 8 PBS launches a four-part documentary series called Pioneers of Television. It will look back at I Love Lucy, The Honeymooners and the like.
A band called Blastronauts with Columbus tie-ins is the best live music option for the night. The band, with members based in New York, Boston and the UK, will convene in Columbus to present their contribution to the melancholy pop-rock canon, a set of songs that remain compact and catchy despite their space-rock leanings. They'll be at Bernie's, 1896 N. High St., with Athens' Russenorsk and Medina's Con and the Mongols. All three are likely to leave you with some pleasant melodies circulating come morning time.