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May highlights include sleaze, cheese, finales

It’s been a tough first year for MyNetworkTV. But what else would you expect of a multimillion-dollar venture that sounds like something you’d pull out of a discount bin to amuse a 6-year-old.

Several series on the network, seen locally on KVMY-TV, Channel 21, are neck and neck with reruns of "Charlie’s Angels" and "Growing Pains" — in 309th place — on the ION network, and if you know where that is on your TV, you’re a better viewer than I.

But leave it to the little network that couldn’t to almost single-handedly uphold the tradition of May sweeps programming. While the mainstream networks are backing away from big events next month — no earthquakes destroying Las Vegas or deadly swarms of insects — MyNetworkTV is presenting such high-minded efforts as "America’s Trashiest Weddings" (8 p.m. Tuesday), "The Hooters Dream Girl Challenge" (8 p.m. May 8), "Anna Nicole Smith: Centerfold Revisited" (8 p.m. May 16) and "Britney Spears: A Pop Idol Exposed" (9 p.m. May 16).

Here’s a look at some of the other May highlights, if you can still call them that after seeing that stellar lineup:

SPECIALS

Tim McGraw, George Strait, Kenny Chesney and Carrie Underwood perform at the 42nd Annual Academy of Country Music Awards, hosted by Reba McEntire, at the MGM Grand (8 p.m. May 15, KLAS-TV, Channel 8).

Possible new "Las Vegas" resident Tom Selleck returns for his fourth Jesse Stone movie, "Sea Change" (9 p.m. May 22, Channel 8).

And two TV institutions are saluted with "Saturday Night Live in the ’90s: Pop Culture Nation" (9 p.m. Sunday, KVBC-TV, Channel 3) and "The Price Is Right Million Dollar Spectacular" (8 p.m. May 16, Channel 8) and "Bob Barker: A Celebration of 50 Years on Television" (8 p.m. May 17, Channel 8).

SPECIAL EPISODES

NBC should call it "The Night of the Crazy Start Times." The network put "Laugh ‘N’ Sniff" cards in this week’s TV Guide for viewers to use during "My Name Is Earl" (8 p.m. Thursday, Channel 3). It’s followed by "The Office" (8:35 p.m.), "Scrubs" (9:19 p.m.) and "ER" (9:53 p.m.).

Addison (Kate Walsh) visits L.A.-based friends from medical school and sets up next season’s spinoff in a two-hour "Grey’s Anatomy" (9 p.m. Thursday, KTNV-TV, Channel 13).

And "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" puts its spin on the diaper-wearing astronaut (9 p.m. Tuesday, Channel 3) and Anna Nicole Smith (9 p.m. May 8, Channel 3), with Kristy Swanson as the Anna Nicole stand-in and David Cross as the Howard K. Stern knockoff.

SEASON FINALES

Las Vegas turns up as "Two and a Half Men" guest star Robert Wagner flies Charlie (Charlie Sheen) and Alan (Jon Cryer) to the Strip (8:30 p.m. May 14, Channel 8), and a casino is put on trial, blamed for a woman’s huge gambling losses, on "Boston Legal" (10 p.m. May 22, Channel 13).

One of the town’s leaders dies on "Jericho" (8 p.m. May 9, Channel 8), a few casualties are expected on "Heroes" (9 p.m. May 21, Channel 3) and there’s no telling who’ll survive on "Lost" (9 p.m. May 23, Channel 13).

"The King of Queens" ends its surprisingly popular nine-year run (9 p.m. May 14, Channel 8). And for the second time in roughly a year, "7th Heaven" airs a series finale (8 p.m. May 13, KVCW-TV, Channel 33).

"24" limps away from its first unsatisfying season (8 p.m. May 21, KVVU-TV, Channel 5), but fans may prefer seeing Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) and Chloe O’Brian (Mary Lynn Rajskub) visit "The Simpsons" (8:30 p.m. May 20).

Gaby (Eva Longoria) and Victor’s (John Slattery) wedding and a "surprise wedding" are on tap for "Desperate Housewives" (9 p.m. May 20, Channel 13), and Marshall (Jason Segel) and Lily (Alyson Hannigan) get married on "How I Met Your Mother" (8 p.m. May 14, Channel 8).

The "miniature killer" is revealed on "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" (9 p.m. May 17, Channel 8).

And winners are crowned on "The Amazing Race" (8 p.m. Sunday, Channel 8), "Survivor: Fiji" (8 p.m. May 13, Channel 8), "America’s Next Top Model" (8 p.m. May 16, Channel 33), "The Bachelor: Officer and a Gentleman" (9 p.m. May 21, Channel 13), "Dancing with the Stars" (8 p.m. May 21 and 22, Channel 13) and "American Idol" (8 p.m. May 22 and 23, Channel 5), assuming anyone still cares now that Sanjaya’s gone.

Christopher Lawrence’s Life on the Couch column appears on Mondays. E-mail him at clawrence@reviewjournal.com.

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