Critic’s corner: What’s on TV Thursday

Zack Stone Is Gonna Be Famous 10:30 p.m., MTV

Twist! MTV, the home of “Jersey Shore” and its spinoffs, the network that brought you “Rich Girls” and “The Hills,” is premiering a satire of reality TV on Thursday night. Comic Bo Burnham’s Zack Stone (above) just graduated from high school and, like so many kids, he desperately wants to be famous. So he’s using his savings to make an “EdTV”-like series about himself. He pays a crew to follow him, and he tries to trump up his dull life to make it look dramatic. Some of his contemporaries, including a pretty girl, go out of their way to appear on screen, while his entire family dodges him. The show is sly, mildly funny, and Burnham manages to be both foolish and sweet. I love to see MTV trying new approaches.

The Big Bang Theory 8 p.m., Channel 4


Bob Newhart guest stars tonight. I love the idea of the fast-talking Sheldon, played with breathless nerdery by Jim Parsons, in a scene with the master of slow comic timing and suggestive eyes. Newhart (above left, with Parsons) plays Professor Proton, a TV host who was a hero to Sheldon and Leonard when they were kids.

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Chasing Tail 10 p.m., History Channel

More bang at the buck.

Live Here, Buy This 11 p.m., HGTV

Someone’s a bossypants.


The Sopranos 8 p.m., HBOS

Some carry guns, others ricotta pie.

Matthew Gilbert can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @MatthewGilbert.