The ratings success of the venerable CBS newsmagazine 60 Minutes in recent weeks brings to mind another storied TV franchise, Nova, the science series now in its 35th season on PBS and still going strong.
To see how strong, spend a couple of hours tonight with The Bible's Buried Secrets, a compelling documentary that combines literary criticism, archaeological discovery, scientific testing and historiography to get at the origins of the Hebrew Bible and the roots of religion as we know it today.
This film is an epic undertaking. Passage after passage in the Bible is tested against the latest archaeological findings, scientific analysis of artifacts and analysis by the leading scholars in the field. (Included in that group is P. Kyle McCarter, professor of biblical and Near Eastern studies at the Johns Hopkins University.)
Don't let any preconceptions you might have about science programs or studies of the Bible keep you from watching. The Bible's Buried Secrets is a detective story driven by a narrative of discovery as powerful as anything you'll find across the prime-time landscape tonight. (8 p.m., MPT-Channels 22 and 67) *** 1/2
LATE-NIGHT GUESTS Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, first lady of France, visits The Late Show with David Letterman. MSNBC anchorman Chris Matthews visits The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.