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    Critic’s corner: Nov. 18

    Getty Images For Mtv


    By Sarah Rodman

    The 40th American Music Awards 8 p.m., Channel 5

    Dick Clark’s Grammy alternative celebrates 40 years of lauding popular artists, and in turn, the show itself celebrates the late music impresario and media mogul. Stevie Wonder will handle the honors for honoring Clark while a parade of contemporary stars strut their stuff before being handed the pointy hardware. Among those scheduled to perform on the three-hour telecast are Taylor Swift (above), Nicki Minaj, Justin Bieber, Carrie Underwood, Ke$ha, Christina Aguilera, No Doubt, Kelly Clarkson, Carly Rae Jepsen, and “Gangnam Style” viral phenomenon Psy. Rihanna and Minaj lead the nominee pack with four apiece.

    It’s Christmas, Carol!

    8 p.m., Hallmark


    It has begun. The annual avalanche of made-for-cable holiday movies featuring hokey titles, hoary plots, and fabulous B-list casting is upon us. “Carol!” is a female spin on “A Christmas Carol” with the Scrooge-ette a meanie in the publishing world. It stars Carrie Fisher and Carson Kressley. We have our fingers crossed that at some point Carol will turn to Fisher’s character and utter the line: “Help me ghost of Christmas past, you’re my only hope!”

    Oprah’s Favorite Things

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    8 p.m., OWN

    Winfrey hands out goodies to military families.

    Cupcake Wars

    8 p.m., Food Network

    Honoring Elvis, with frosting.

    The Dust Bowl


    8 p.m., Channel 2

    Ken Burns does it again.