The night belongs to Vieira, Macchiarini, Zendaya, Puccini and Zeffirelli. It’s only the first paragraph and I’ve run out of vowels.
As discussed yesterday, summer is the perfect time for network news divisions to present long pieces on subjects that may not be ratings winners. Tonight’s news presentation "A Leap of Faith: A Meredith Vieira Special" (7 p.m., NBC) profiles Dr. Paolo Macchiarini, whose controversial techniques may spark a revolution in medicine.
What if patients in need of organ replacement no longer had to wait for donors, but could "grow" a spare part from their own stem cells? According to this report, Macchiarini is the only doctor to perform such transplants, using completely artificial, bio-engineered organs.
In addition to Macchiarini, Vieira visits with patients from the United States, South Korea and Russia, who see him as their last and only hope. That’s where the phrase "Leap of Faith" starts to make sense.
These sick individuals and their families are willing to become medical pioneers to save themselves, and push the boundaries of science along the way.
It’s too bad, and frankly, illogical, that such medical specials appear so infrequently on networks in prime time. They are a fairly regular, and popular, staple of "60 Minutes," a show that has been highly rated for more than four decades. Vieira was on the "60 Minutes" team from 1989-91.
• Zendaya ("Dancing With the Stars," "Shake It Up") stars in the TV movie "Zapped" (7 p.m., Disney) as Zoey, a teen surrounded by rambunctious stepbrothers after her mother’s messy remarriage. Beset by teen testosterone, unkempt beds and even an untrained male dog, Zoey downloads a magical app that allows her to "control" the men and boys around her.
"Zapped" sets up the "new" series "Girl Meets World" (8:45 p.m., Disney, TV-G), produced by Michael Jacobs ("Boy Meets World").
• "Great Performances at the Met" (8 p.m., PBS, TV-G) presents "La Boheme," Giacomo Puccini’s romantic opera, the most-performed opera in Met history. Italian tenor Vittorio Grigolo stars as the poet Rodolfo and Latvian soprano Kristine Opolais portrays the seamstress Mimi. Among the most popular and familiar of Puccini’s operas, "La Boheme" was the inspiration for the Broadway musical "Rent."
This "Great Performances" presentation was produced by Franco Zeffirelli ("Romeo and Juliet," "Jesus of Nazareth") and was seen earlier this spring in more than 2,000 theaters as part of "The Met: Live in HD" series that brings performances to more than 15 million "patrons" in 66 countries.
— Lowe’s attitudes toward Jagger (Julian Sands) and Blackbeard become confused on "Crossbones" (9 p.m., NBC, TV-14).
For a more vintage pirate adventure, Jackie Cooper, Lionel Barrymore and Wallace Beery star in the 1934 adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel "Treasure Island" (7 p.m., TCM). The 1960 adventure "The Boy and the Pirates" (9 p.m.), directed by cult B-movie director Bert I. Gordon ("The Amazing Colossal Man"), follows.
Tonight’s other highlights
• Contestants create a menu for a wedding on the beach on "MasterChef" (7 p.m., Fox, r, TV-14).
• The gang investigates a murder-kidnapping case on "Hawaii Five-0" (8 p.m., CBS, r, TV-14).
• A mother and son confess to the same homicide on "Rake" (8 p.m., Fox, TV-14).
• Danny and Baez run into community dissent on "Blue Bloods" (9 p.m., CBS, r, TV-14).
• Kiera and Liber8 collaborate on the season finale of "Continuum" (9 p.m., Syfy, TV-PG).
Directed by Taylor Hackford ("Ray"), the 1987 documentary "Hail! Hail! Rock ‘n’ Roll" (8 p.m., Vh1 Classic) captures a 60th birthday concert salute to Chuck Berry, a brown-eyed handsome man.
Traveling light on "Undercover Boss" (7 p.m., CBS, r, TV-PG) … Bike-power, smoothies and a spy school get pitched on "Shark Tank" (7 p.m., ABC, r, TV-PG) … "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" (7 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., CW, r, TV-14).
Ethical dilemmas on "What Would You Do?" (8 p.m., ABC) … Joel adjusts on "Hart of Dixie" (8 p.m., CW, r, TV-PG) … "20/20" (9 p.m., ABC).
Meagan Good, Ben Gleib, Fortune Feimster and Ryan Stout appear on "Chelsea Lately" (10 p.m., E!, r) … Jack Hanna and Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks visit "Late Show With David Letterman" (10:35 p.m., CBS, r) … Jimmy Fallon welcomes Kevin Spacey and Lewis Black on "The Tonight Show" (10:35 p.m., NBC, r) … Ludacris, Kesha, Josh Groban, Brad Paisley and Michael Stevens appear on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" (10:35 p.m., ABC, r) … Charlie Rose, Gayle King, Aidy Bryant and Linda Fairstein visit "Late Night With Seth Meyers" (11:35 p.m., NBC, r) … Craig Ferguson hosts Ice-T, Mackenzie Davis and Body Count on "The Late Late Show" (11:35 p.m., CBS).
Kevin McDonough is a nationally syndicated columnist and television critic whose column Tune In Tonight (distributed by Universal) appears in more than 50 newspapers nationwide, with a total readership numbering in the millions. He can be reached at email@example.com.