Inside the Actors Studio, one of TV's smartest and most engaging productions, celebrates its 200th episode tonight by putting host James Lipton in the guest's seat with comedian Dave Chappelle doing the interviewing.
The two-hour program covers the celebrated 14-year run of the program, revisiting interviews by Lipton with Tom Hanks, Angelina Jolie, Will Smith, Sally Fields, Al Pacino and, it seems, just about everyone who is anyone in the world of theater, film and TV. During an era of increasing incivility on television and in American life, Lipton has achieved the near-impossible feat of creating and starring in a show that is both popular and distinguished for its intelligence and grace. The grace comes from Lipton. Watch how gracefully he turns a bit of self-deprecation from Chappelle into a compliment for the comedian's skill with words. You almost want to cheer. (8 p.m. Bravo) *** 1/2
REPEATING THE PAST American Experience, the finest history series on TV, takes a look at the start of the Great Depression with a replay of its 1990 production The Crash of 1929. (10 p.m., MPT-Channels 22 and 67) ***
LATE-NIGHT GUESTS Taylor Swift performs on the Late Show with David Letterman. Talk-show host Martha Stewart and actor John Stamos appear on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.