• Ready for a first and a last? Or the last first? How about the final finalists? For what it’s worth, tonight marks the first appearance of the top 10 finalists on “American Idol” (9 p.m., Fox, TV-PG). This is the final top 10 of a series that has been making such lists since 2002.
Surely there are fans of the show who will be able to recite, and perhaps rank, all 150 top 10 finalists from the show’s 15 seasons. And perhaps “Idol,” in full valedictory mode, will showcase them.
Last Wednesday marked the first time that “Idol” was pitted against CBS’ “Survivor,” another long-lasting relic from the dawn of reality TV. The two series attracted almost the same-sized audience, roughly 8 million viewers — healthy numbers in today’s fractured marketplace, but far from the days when “Idol” was considered the “Death Star” of television.
• Overexposure has been a facet of reality television since 1999, when ABC discovered that it could score high ratings with relatively cheap programming called “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” and resorted to blanketing its schedule with the show.
This election cycle, cable “news” outlets have presented a seemingly endless round of debates between the Republican candidates. For the record, this is the 10th debate. They’ve offered a great deal more heat than light, but they’ve been cable ratings winners.
Proof that not everybody loves the process arrived last weekend when the former “Apprentice” host and the apparent “star” of this cable spectacle described the party-organized debates as “like death.”
Call it ironic, poignant, fitting or merely coincidental, but tonight’s debate, the first since the end of Jeb Bush’s White House bid, takes place in Houston, longtime home to former President George H.W. Bush.
• British television fixture John Simm (“Life on Mars”) returns in “Prey” (11 p.m., BBC America, TV-14) as a Manchester police detective who vanishes into the city’s criminal underworld to clear his name after being accused of killing his wife.
• Hosted by the Oscar-winning star of “The Theory of Everything,” “War Art With Eddie Redmayne” (8 p.m., Ovation) explores the connection between the brutality of armed conflict and artistic expression, profiling artists inspired by war and visiting scenes of carnage, from World War I battlefields to the horrors of contemporary Syria.
Tonight’s other highlights
• Jamie gets worrisome news about his wife on “You, Me and the Apocalypse” (9 p.m., NBC, TV-PG).
• The master of a secret vault becomes a murder suspect on “The Blacklist” (10 p.m., NBC, TV-14).
• Olivia ponders Jake’s next move on “Scandal” (10 p.m., ABC).
• Country band Little Big Town needs a new look on “Project Runway All Stars” (10 p.m., Lifetime, TV-PG).
• Philip proves threatening on “How to Get Away With Murder” (11 p.m., ABC, TV-14).
• Family can deliver the bitterest blow on “Baskets” (11 p.m., FX, TV-MA).
• An app addict goes old-school on “Portlandia” (11 p.m., IFC, TV-14).
• Will unravels his wife’s secret on “Colony” (11 p.m., USA, TV-14).
• Rollo wrestles with his princess bride on “Vikings” (11 p.m., History, TV-14).
A touchstone of its era, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” (9:20 p.m., Freeform) turns 30 this year.
Cake and candles for Sheldon on “The Big Bang Theory” (9 p.m., CBS, TV-PG) ... Flashbacks reveal April and Jackson’s evolving relationship on “Grey’s Anatomy” (9 p.m., ABC, TV-14) ... Star City falls on hard times on “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow” (9 p.m., CW, TV-14) ... A fateful text on “Life in Pieces” (9:30 p.m., CBS, TV-14).
Smuggler’s cove on “Mom” (10 p.m., CBS, TV-14) ... Clarke wavers between vengeance and mercy on “The 100” (10 p.m., CW, TV-14) ... A West Coast adventure on “2 Broke Girls” (10:30 p.m., CBS, TV-14).
Facts emerge about Sherlock’s mother on “Elementary” (11 p.m., CBS, TV-14) ... Harlee has a change of heart on “Shades of Blue” (11 p.m., NBC, TV-14).
Michael Hayden is booked on “The Daily Show With Trevor Noah” (Midnight, Comedy Central) ... Robert Patrick, Kate Hudson and Lake Street Dive appear on “Conan” (Midnight, TBS) ... Tom Papa sits down on “The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore” (12:35 p.m., Comedy Central) ... Jimmy Fallon welcomes Gerard Butler, Jenny Slate and The 1975 on “The Tonight Show” (12:35 p.m., NBC) ... Kelly Ripa, Billy Brown and Tinashe & Snakehips appear on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” (12:35 p.m., ABC).
Angela Bassett and MisterWives visit “Late Night With Seth Meyers” (1:35 a.m., NBC) ... Casey Affleck and Lucy Hale appear on “The Late Late Show With James Corden” (1:35 a.m., CBS).