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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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ABC promises livelier ‘Bachelor’

Kevin McDonough United Feature Syndicate

Few things accentuate the “Groundhog Day” aspects of watching and reviewing television like the constant onslaught of “new” seasons of “The Bachelor” (9 p.m., ABC). What are we up to now? Bachelor 97?

The latest lucky fella is named Charlie. ABC vows to really shake things up this time. We’re promised far less formal rose ceremonies. Whoa, hold on there, Charlie! Talk about petal to the metal!

ABC also vows, and these are their words, “More Real and Spontaneous Reality.” Is there any other kind?

ABC had better handle this with care. Talk of real reality and more spontaneous spontaneity can get out of hand. Are they implying that previous “Bachelor” installments were less than “real” and nonspontaneous? Are they insinuating, ever so slightly, that we may have wasted our time, whole months of our lives, watching “The Bachelor”?

The four-hour series “Conquest of America” (9 p.m., History) recalls the men who claimed a new continent for an Old World, and the motivations – including greed, glory and God – that drove them. The first hour focuses on the conquistador Francisco Vasquez de Coronado, whose fruitless search for the seven cities of gold led Spanish soldiers and explorers to America’s Southwest and Midwest for the first time.

The hour on Coronado uses an unusual narrative format. Most of the historical re-enactments are based on actual court records from 16th-century Spain, where Coronado faced charges of cruelty, brutality and the murder of American Indians.

This reminds us that even at the high tide of Spanish exploration and accompanying plunder, the explorers were held to legal, moral and religious standards of decent behavior. Of course, history teaches us that these standards were quickly discarded when the explorers found themselves beset by danger and besotted with avarice in a strange land thousands of miles from “civilization.”

Curtis wants to use Behrooz to catch Marwan on “24” (9 p.m., Fox). Think you’ve had a bad day? In the space of about 12 hours, Behrooz has seen his mother poison his girlfriend; driven his girlfriend’s body to the desert, where he was to be bumped off on his father’s orders; killed the killer; seen his mother shot by his father’s henchman; seen his uncle shot by his father; shot his own father; and now Marwan’s henchmen have killed his mother. I think Behrooz deserves a little personal time.

With March Madness in full throttle, the documentary “Perfect Upset” (9 p.m., HBO) recalls the underdog story of Villanova vs. Georgetown in the 1985 NCAA Basketball Tournament.

Cameron Diaz and an entourage of buddies travel on the rough to promote National Parks and environmental awareness in the new series “Trippin’ ” (10:30 p.m., MTV).

Other highlights

Overwhelmed on “Nanny 911” (8 p.m., Fox).

“Extreme Makeover: Home Edition: How’d They Do That?” (8 p.m., ABC) provides an unpaid political commercial for California’s showbiz governor.

Tonight’s repeat episode was considered the most popular “Everybody Loves Raymond” (9 p.m., CBS) ever by an Internet poll of Barone-ophiles.

Don Knotts appears (as himself) as the source of some seriously vintage threads on “Las Vegas” (9 p.m., NBC).

A carjacking is more than it first appears to be on “CSI: Miami” (10 p.m., CBS).

Sensory overload on “Medium” (10 p.m., NBC).

Cult choice

Based on a comic strip and directed by blacklist exile Joseph Losey, the 1966 espionage thriller “Modesty Blaise” (5 p.m., Fox Movie Channel) stars Monica Vitti, Terence Stamp and Dirk Bogarde. In one scene, “op art” is used as a torture device. Now that’s groovy, baby!

Series notes

Cholesterol and co-dependency on “Still Standing” (8 p.m., CBS) … Joe Rogan hosts “Fear Factor” (8 p.m., NBC) … Too many choices on “One on One” (8 p.m., UPN) … Wayne Newton guest-stars on “7th Heaven” (8 p.m., WB).

Yellow streaks on “Listen Up” (8:30 p.m., CBS) … Old bad habits on “Cuts” (8:30 p.m., UPN).

Tricky guest stars on “Girlfriends” (9 p.m., UPN) … A change of plans on “Summerland” (9 p.m., WB) … Ecstasy in Aisle 5 on “Two and a Half Men” (9:30 p.m., CBS),

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