“The Italian Americans” opener, 9-11 p.m., PBS (check local
Here were immigrants
facing a double bias – against Italians in general and the southern
half of Italy (including Sicily) in particular. Officials even
designated which half people came from; those from the South found
jobs were harsh and low-paying; solutions were legal (labor unions)
or not (crime).
On the West Coast,
however, there were signs of prosperity. Italian fishermen thrived in
San Francisco. After the earthquake, the Bank of Italy moved to the
docks to make personal loans; it would thrive and become the Bank of
America. This strong opener goes through 1930, then wraps up next
“Repeat After Me” debut, 8:30 p.m., ABC.
So imagine you're
applying for a job as actor Scott Foley's nanny. Soon, he announces
that his 6-year-old smokes; then he's doing role-playing, curled up
in the fetal position and demanding his mommy.
That happens in the
opener, with sometimes-funny results. Ellen DeGeneres produces this
series (based on a bit from her talk show), with Wendi McLendon-Covey
(“The Goldbergs”) whispering odd orders into people's ears. In
this opener, she has Sarah Hyland (“Modern Family”), Randy
Jackson and Foley.
ALTERNATIVE: “The Book of Negroes,” 8 p.m., BET; or “12 Years a
Slave” (2013), 8:30 p.m., HBO.
Two projects revisit
some bleak history. “Slave,” based on a true story, was nominated
for nine Oscars; it won for for best picture and for John Ridley's
script and supporting actress Lupita Nyong'o.
“Negroes” has a
tad of real-life behind it: There really was such a book, listing the
3,000 blacks who could flee after the Revolutionary War. That was
spun into a novel about Aminita. In the opener (rerunning at 5:30
p.m., she was kidnapped at age 11 and taken to the colonies. Now
she's an adult (Aunjanue Ellis) in New York, trying to flee. The
miniseries concludes Wednesday.
“Zero Dark Thirty
(2012),” 6:30 to 10 p.m., FX. As the Oscars near, here are three
best-picture nominees. This one (terrific, except for its torture
obsession) won for best sound. “The Fugitive” (1993, 7:15 and 10
p.m., Sundance) won for Tommy Lee Jones in support. “Ben-Hur”
(1959, 8-11:47 p.m. ET, Turner Classic Movies) won 11 Oscars, a
record matched by “Titanic” and “Lord of the Rings.”
Recreation,” 8 and 8:30 p.m., NBC. In the first episode, Andy
(Chris Pratt) ends his TV show; in the second, he and Donna help Ron
(Nick Offerman) adjust to a life change and Leslie helps Tom (Aziz
Ansari) get ready for a big night. That sets up next week's finale of
this quietly clever show.
“Fresh Off the
Boat,” 8 p.m., ABC. The family restaurant needs to give its
employees a sexual-harassment seminar. When Eddie's mom botches it,
his dad hires a professional instructor.
“NCIS,” 8 p.m.,
CBS. Joe Spano has been a terrific actor since his “Hill Street
Blues” days. Now he returns to his recurring role as Fornell,
Gibbs' former mentor. After his wife's murder, he's ready to implode;
Gibbs must focus on him, even ignoring the search for his nemesis.
Orleans,” 9 p.m., CBS. A petty officer has been killed during Mardi
Gras. Also, Pride must decided whether to tell his daughter about his
strained relationship with his dad (Stacy Keach).
“Countdown to the
Oscars,” 10 p.m., ABC. Five days before the Academy Awards, Robin
Roberts reveals a list of 15 films that transformed Amercan cinema,
including comments from key people.