Don't miss of the week: MTV Video Music Awards
We don't recall how many Moonmen trophies Lady Gaga nabbed last year, but we sure do remember that she showed up in a freaky meat dress. Yeah, this awards show is like that. We dig the VMAs more for their outrageous moments (the Britney-Madonna kiss; Kanye's West's dissing of Taylor Swift, etc.) than for their nods to artistic achievement. The live acts aren't bad, either, and this year's roster of performers at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles includes Gaga, the red-hot Adele, Lil Wayne, Bruno Mars and Chris Brown. On a more somber note, legendary crooner Tony Bennett is scheduled to introduce a tribute to the late Amy Winehouse. 9 p.m. Sunday, MTV and VH1.
Other bets for the week:
Sunday: The summer finale of Leverage finds Nate (Timothy Hutton) and the team in Dubai, where an international chess tournament is being held. But will they be pawns in Sterling's (Mark Sheppard) plans to steal a nuclear reactor calibration weight? 9 p.m., TNT.
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Sunday: Another strange case presents itself on The Glades, when the body of an Ernest Hemingway look-alike is found with a bullet hole in his head during an ocean cruise. Let's hope the script is penned with a distinctive economy of words and understatement. 10 p.m., A&E.
Sunday: On Top Gear, our intrepid hosts race $500 clunkers along the Pacific Coast Highway to see which ones perform the best. At least the scenery will be worth the hassle. 10 p.m., History.
Monday: Will Basketball Wives LA be a ratings slam dunk — or a brutal brick shot? This spinoff follows a group of NBA players' spouses, girlfriends and exes as they live the glam life in Los Angeles, home to the Lakers and Clippers. 8 p.m., VH1.
Monday: Apparently, the residents of Southern California's San Fernando Valley could use a good Neighborhood Watch program. The new dark comedy Death Valley informs us that the place is overrun with vampires, werewolves and zombies who make life miserable for the agents of the Undead Task Force. 10:30 p.m., MTV.
Tuesday: Say it isn't so! The summer finale of Pretty Little Liars is upon us already? We can't wait to see what other devious doings "A" has planned for the girls. 8 p.m., ABC Family.
Tuesday: On Auction Kings, a Cadillac once owned by Elvis Presley arrives at Gallery 63. The rock 'n' roll theme continues as the crew obtains an authentic flag-themed guitar signed by Bruce Springsteen. 9 p.m., Discovery.
Tuesday: A powerhouse electric and slide guitarist, Albert Castiglia brings original tunes and soulful vocals to the next Jubilee: Summertime Blues, recorded at the 2010 W.C. Handy Blues and Barbecue Festival in Henderson. 10 p.m., KET.
Wednesday: As Rescue Me nears the end of the show's distinguished run, it's wedding day for Colleen and Black Shawn (Natalie Distler, Larenz Tate). Oh, you just know it's not going to go off without a hitch — or two, or three. 10 p.m., FX.
Thursday: Nick News With Linda Ellerbee presents a special installment in "What Happened? The Story of September 11, 2001." The veteran newswoman explains the terrorist attacks for children who weren't born yet, or were too young to understand. Also included: misconceptions about the attacks. 9 p.m., Nickelodeon.
Thursday: Everything is, indeed, bigger in Texas — even the aquariums. On Tanked, they put the finishing touches on a 57,000-gallon monstrosity at a Dallas mega church. Apparently it will house more than guppies. 8 p.m., Animal Planet.
Friday: The college football season has just begun and we already have a marquee matchup on the menu as Oregon clashes with LSU. The game between highly ranked teams that had just three losses between them last year is being played in Arlington, Texas. 8 p.m., ABC.
Herald-Leader staff, Contra Costa Times