SUNDAY: Whether you tune in for the game—the Philadelphia Eagles vs. Kansas City Chiefs—or the half-time show, with Rihanna taking center stage at the State Farm Stadium outside Phoenix, or possibly even for the ads in case there are any that didn’t leak online, you won’t be alone. This is typically the most-watched TV night of any year, and given the quality of the teams, there’s no reason to think 2023 will be any exception.
Marc Maron: From Bleak to Dark
SATURDAY: “I don’t wanna be negative, but I don’t think anything’s ever gonna get better ever again,” goes one of Marc Maron’s punchlines in his first HBO comedy special. The hilariously raw stand-up set, from New York’s Town Hall, deals frankly with aging, death, anti-Semitism, and the loss of his partner in 2020. Doesn’t sound like knee-slapping material, but Maron’s gruff and bawdy humanism sells it. Plus, he’s a cat guy.
Next Level Chef
SUNDAY: (Approximately 10:30/9:30c, 7:30 pm/PT). Remember when networks would use the Super Bowl as a launching pad for promising new series or extra-special episodes of hot hits? (Two cycles ago, Fox premiered 24: Legacy in 2017, and more recently, CBS used the slot to launch its Equalizer reboot in 2021.) As a sign of the diminished state of network programming, Fox uses this coveted time period to jump-start one of the many Gordon Ramsay cooking competitions on the network. Season 2 of the multi-tiered Next Level Chef opens with new teams striving to make good first impressions on Ramsay and co-mentors Richard Blais and Nyesha Arrington. How the masses who’ve gorged for hours on junk food, wings and beer will respond is anyone’s guess.Ramsay is also executive producer of Kitchen Commando, streaming Sundays on Tubi, featuring chef Andre Rush, former US Army Master Sergeant and White House Chef, whose new mission is saving struggling restaurants with his inspirational fervor.
All Creatures Great and Small
SUNDAY: In the moving Season 3 finale (with the traditional Christmas special airing next week), Britain declares war in September 1939, rattling the composure of the Yorkshire village where Siegfried (Samuel West), his brother Tristan (Callum Woodhouse) and newlywed James (Nicholas Ralph) share a veterinary practice. James especially feels the call to duty—“If I don’t put myself forward, who am I?” he worries to wife Helen (Rachel Shenton)—but first there’s a TB crisis at Helen’s family farm. A night of PBS finales includes Miss Scarlet and the Duke (8/7c) dealing with a deadly delivery for Eliza (Kate Phillips), and Vienna Blood (10/9c) concluding its search for the murderer of a screen star.
INSIDE WEEKEND TV:
- Murdoch Mysteries (Saturday, 7/6, Ovation): Turn-of-the-20th century Canadian crime solver Det. William Murdoch (Yannick Bisson) has a new baby girl to spoil in Season 16—but killers keep distracting him, like the “corpse” who emerges from a dirt-filled coffin to slay two unsuspecting gravediggers.
- The Girl Who Escaped: The Kara Robinson Story (Saturday, 8/7c, Lifetime): Fellow kidnap survivor Elizabeth Smart is executive producer of a docudrama starring Ginny & Georgia’s Katie Douglas as Kara, who survived her brutal 2002 kidnapping/assault by escaping and leading authorities to her captor, serial killer Richard Evonitz (Kristian Bruun). Followed by the two-hour documentary Escaping Captivity: The Kara Robinson Story (10/9).
- A Paris Proposal (Saturday, 8/7c, Hallmark Channel): On a lighter note, Alexa PenaVega stars in this romcom as Anna, an NYC ad exec who’s sent to the City of Lights with co-worker Sebastian (Nicholas Bishop) to pitch the Durand Diamonds account. Their conflicting styles make for an awkward match when the Durands assume they’re married.
- Masters of Illusion (Saturday, 8/7c, The CW): Illusionists and escape artists perform for a studio audience and host Dean Cain as a ninth season of the magic show gets underway.
- Puppy Bowl XIX (Sunday, 2 pm/1c, Animal Planet): Before the big game, be aww-inspired by the competition animal lovers wait for every year, featuring 122 adorable pups from 67 different shelters and rescues (available to adopt at shelters throughout the U.S.).
- Great American Rescue Bowl (Sunday, 7:30 am/6:30c, Great American Family): Earlier in the day, animal advocate Beth Stern and pet rescue expert Larissa Wohl host a two-hour special taking viewers inside the adoption process. Followed by a live four-hour special raising money for animal shelters across the country.