Comedy shows up in unusual forums

Covering the news does not usually provide much comedy, but Michael Moore's "TV Nation" tries for laughs along with insight, as it moves to Fox tonight. Penn and Teller do the same for the proper Boston Pops Orchestra.

* "TV Nation" (8 p.m.-9 p.m., WBFF, Channel 45) -- Perhaps too satirical for NBC, where it aired a year ago, the sly "docu-comedy" series from filmmaker Michael Moore ("Roger & Me") and the BBC premieres a new season. Among tonight's stories, correspondent Louis Theroux visits a Maryland couple, Ray and Louise Barnes, whose Fallston business specializes in cleaning up grisly crime scenes. Fox.


* "Evening At Pops" (9 p.m.-10 p.m., MPT, Channels 22, 67) -- Macabre magicians Penn and Teller appear to perform a "Psychic Psymphony" with new conductor Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops Orchestra. Also on the program: piano phenom Helen Huang. PBS.

* "Dateline NBC" (9 p.m.-10 p.m., WBAL, Channel 11) -- Earlier this month Barbara Walters talked to the biological parents of "Baby Richard." Tonight this rival news magazine show talks to the adoptive parents in the notorious custody case. Another segment also explores the latest research into chronic headaches. NBC.


* "Circus of the Stars Goes to Disneyland" (9 p.m.-11 p.m., WJZ, Channel 13) -- Leslie Nielsen, Scott Baio and Harry Anderson are the ringmasters of this repeat, in which entertainment stars try some big-top tricks. Most impressive is the high-wire walking of soap stars Shemar Moore ("The Young and the Restless") and Schae Harrison ("The Bold and the Beautiful"). CBS.

* "MGM: When The Lion Roars" (11 p.m.-1 a.m., MPT, Channels 22, 67) -- Patrick Stewart is the host of the first of three clip-rich shows, originally produced for cable. The series documents the astonishing productivity of the legendary early Hollywood film studio.


* "Ancient Mysteries" (10 p.m.-11 p.m., A&E; Network) -- Despite the de-bunking of some claims, this documentary suggests that a very big something really does seem to be swimming deep in the dark waters of Loch Ness. Can we still call it "Nessie"?

* "Howie Mandel's Sunny Skies" (11:30 p.m.-midnight, Showtime) -- He stirred up the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis a few years back with a risque performance. Now he's starring in his own weekly sketch comedy cable series, which premiered last week. The late hour pretty much telegraphs the adult content, although the comic's appeal lies in his baby-face presentation.