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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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‘Antichrist’ looks into history of belief

Kevin McDonough United Feature Syndicate

It seems like just last week that Barbara Walters took us to heaven.

Tonight we have to get ready for the “Antichrist” (8 p.m., History). This two-hour documentary explores the history of belief in a demonic presence on Earth and the growing popularity of “end times” prophecies and biblical interpretations.

According to polls cited in the documentary, as many as half of all Americans believe in elements of popular “end times” scenarios. This may explain the best-seller status of books from “The Late Great Planet Earth” (Bantam Books, 1980) to the series of “Left Behind” apocalyptic pulp thrillers.

“Antichrist” explores the beliefs of previous generations, who also were convinced that they lived in the final days. Biblical scholars and skeptics debate interpretations of the New Testament’s Book of Revelations and the notion that the original Antichrist may have been a thinly disguised critique of the Emperor Nero.

Others contend that the Antichrist is not a symbol and that his time has not yet come. Others assume that he is already in our presence. And rumor has it he’s just made a major deal with Google.

On a lighter note, Lifetime repeats the popular 1999 holiday made-for-TV romance “One Special Night” (7 p.m.) starring James Garner and Julie Andrews. A tale of a middle-aged man who meets a widowed doctor while visiting his dying wife in a hospice, this film is nothing if not emotionally charged.

But Garner and Andrews (who co-starred in the 1964 film “The Americanization of Emily”) transcend the film’s more formulaic elements and share genuine chemistry.

Country singer Blake Shelton hosts a five-night countdown of the “Top 50 Videos of 2005” (8 p.m., GAC, nightly through Friday). The videos were chosen by viewers who logged on to the Great American Country Web site (www.gactv.com) and voted for their favorites.

It would be unfair to reveal the winner. But it’s safe to say that Dierks Bentley (“Come A Little Closer”), Keith Urban (“Better Life”), Kenny Chesney (“Anything But Mine”) and Faith Hill (“Like We Never Loved At All”) are in contention.

Tonight will count down from numbers 50 through 40 with 10 more every night until Friday, when the top 10 are announced.

Howard Stern’s departure for Sirius Satellite Radio means curtains for his show on E!, where his morning radio antics have been televised for the past 12 years. Every night this week, “Howard Stern” (11 p.m., E!) will present a “best of” edition of his raunchy shenanigans. Beginning next week, episodes from the 2004-2005 season of “Saturday Night Live” will air in Stern’s stead.

Other highlights

The NASCAR-themed series “Roush Racing: Driver X” (7 p.m., Discovery) returns for a new 13-episode season. “Roush” repeats at 11 p.m.

On back-to-back episodes of “Arrested Development” (Fox), a mother-son pageant (8 p.m.), and holiday havoc (8:30 p.m.).

Husbands do the house switching on “Wife Swap” (10 p.m., ABC).

Visitors from Boston on “Las Vegas” (9 p.m., NBC).

A wife’s diagnosis makes her husband jealous on “House” (9 p.m., Fox).

The playoff-bound New England Patriots take on the beleaguered New York Jets on “Monday Night Football” (6 p.m., ABC), live from New Jersey.

“American Experience” (9 p.m., KSPS) presents the first of a two-part 1998 profile of Ronald Reagan.

A shady confession on “CSI: Miami” (10 p.m., CBS).

A talk-show nightmare on “Medium” (10 p.m., NBC).

A team member turns Benedict Arnold on the season finale of “Wanted” (10 p.m., TNT).

Cult choice

It’s the second night of Hanukkah. Celebrate with Adam Sandler in the 2002 comedy “Eight Crazy Nights” (8 p.m., Family).

Series notes

The case of the purloined billfold on “The King of Queens” (8 p.m., CBS) … A roll of the dice on “Crossing Jordan” (8 p.m., NBC) … Meddling Flex on “One on One” (10 p.m., UPN) … Lucy’s college visit hides a secret agenda on “7th Heaven” (8 p.m., WB) … Party central on “How I Met Your Mother” (8:30 p.m., CBS) … Dating again on “All of Us” (10:30 p.m., UPN) … Brothers divided on “Two and a Half Men” (9 p.m., CBS) … Bonding over a drink on “Girlfriends” (11 p.m., UPN) … Attacked by an in-flight monster on “Supernatural” (9 p.m., WB) … Ben detects an intervention on “Out of Practice” (9:30 p.m., CBS) … Dee Dee’s new leaf on “Half & Half” (11:30 p.m., UPN).

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