Friday, Feb. 20
8-9 p.m. (ABC)
Daytona 500 (CBS, noon-4 p.m.): Precisely 50 years to date, NASCAR hit the track. And, unlike any other sport, motor racing doesn't save its best for last, but rather turns on the ignition with its marquee event: the Daytona 500. Jeff Gordon, the boy wonder and defending champion, is favored. The legendary Dale Earnhardt, who hasn't won here in 19 tries, will try again.
Wonderful World of Disney: The Garbage Picking, Field Goal Kicking, Philadelphia Phenomenon (ABC, 7-9 p.m.): This Cinderella fantasy stars Tony Danza as a sanitation worker lifted from his humble work into the glories of pro football. As the failing team's star field-goal kicker, Danza's goofy working-class humor is always sweet if sometimes downright sappy - or preachy. Still, wholesome, engaging family fare. (TV-G)
Motown 40: The Music Is Forever (ABC, 9-11 p.m.): This toe-tapping retrospective is music to the ears. The Motown label that Berry Gordy founded 40 years ago has left an indelible mark on the American cultural landscape. It has launched a thousand voices: Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, Lionel Richie, Marvin Gaye, and the Supremes, among others. The second part of this four-hour documentary airs Thursday. (TV-PG)
When We Were Kings (Showtime, 10-11:30 p.m.): This documentary is so complex, so exquisite, so intricately layered with interpretations, that it might be possible to explain it in a word: compelling. Basically, this Oscar-winning 1996 documentary recounts the events surrounding the 1974 fight between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman in Kinshasa, Zaire. But at its core, "Kings" is about people, places, politics, love, war, pride, humor, showmanship. It's about Ali.
Scientific American Frontiers - The Science of Art (PBS, 8-9 p.m.): Ever wondered how they filmed the rumbling-tumbling crowds in the movie "Titanic"? They are digitally manufactured "people." Host Alan Alda explores this engrossing technology in this program, which looks at the commonalities between science and art. (TV-G)
Elmopalooza (ABC, 8-9 p.m.): A lively musical tribute to 30 years of music and laughs from the award-winning program "Sesame Street." After host Jon Stewart gets locked in a dressing room with the crew, Elmo decides to host the show, with his furry friends helping out. The one-hour musical showcases classic "Sesame Street" songs with original music videos performed by the Muppets with Shawn Colvin, Gloria Estefan, En Vogue, and the Fugees. Rosie O'Donnell, Cindy Crawford, and Conan O'Brien make guest appearances. (TV-G)