My name is Karl

"The Ricky Gervais Show" (8 p.m. Friday, HBO), an animated version of his popular podcasts, should really be retitled "The Karl Pilkington Show" since it's his offbeat observations about everything from evolution to charity donations that provide the greatest howls. The series, also featuring "The Office" co-creator Stephen Merchant, suffers from crude animation that only gets in the way of enjoying Pilkington's far-fetched thoughts and Gervais' bewildered reactions. In this case, it's better to be heard and not seen.

Cannon's canon

I can't be certain, but I'm guessing that Nick Cannon gets by on only 90 minutes of sleep a night. How else could he manage to run TeenNick, direct music videos, stoke a movie career and keep wife Mariah Carey from having another meltdown? Cannon's résumé continues to build with "School Gyrls" (6 p.m. Sunday, NICK), an hourlong musical comedy that he directed and wrote. That's followed by the airing of his breakout hit, 2002's "Drumline" (7 p.m., NICK).

Strange Ed-fellows

Lou Grant is back. Sort of. Ed Asner, who lent his pipes to "Up," takes on the role of an editor in a new episode of "The Cleveland Show" (7:30 p.m. Sunday, KMSP, Ch. 9). He joins an eclectic list of voice-over guests, including Kristen Wiig, Ashley Tisdale and David Lynch.

Strip tease

Julie Benz, best known for playing the goody-two-shoes girlfriend on "Dexter," is showing off her sultry side on "Desperate Housewives" (8 p.m. Sunday, KSTP, Ch. 5), playing an exotic dancer who shakes up the neighborhood. Can a strip pole in Bree's bedroom be far behind?

NEAL JUSTIN