Tribute shows can be engaging and illuminating when the person being honored matters and the people doing the honoring are a little deeper than the usual celebrity suspects. That's the case on the AMC cable channel with The American Cinematheque Honors Samuel L. Jackson. The annual award goes to an artist who has made a significant contribution to the motion picture industry.

Director George Lucas will present the award. His presence alone accounts for more than twice the normal brainpower at most Hollywood gatherings. But the performers who present their own tributes are winners as well: Denzel Washington, Sharon Stone, Andy Garcia and Vin Diesel.

AMC is sandwiching the broadcast between two showings of Pulp Fiction, the brilliant and unsettling 1994 film that featured Jackson and Uma Thurman. (10 p.m., AMC).

More Talk: William Shatner's new show, Shatner's Raw Nerve, returns for its second week with late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel. This conversation was the one that sold me on Shatner's skill as an interviewer. If you can make Kimmel seem interesting, you're a skilled interviewer. (10:30 p.m., Bio) **1/2

Late-Night Guests: Actress Amy Adams appears on the Late Show with David Letterman. Actress Kate Beckinsale visits The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

online Read David Zurawik's daily blog at baltimoresun.com/zontv

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