TV column for Monday, Jan. 1

“Tournament of Roses” parade, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. ET.

This is the big one,
drawing massive attention. NBC has been covering it since 1954; ABC
joined in when it took over the Rose Bowl in 1989. Both stayed, after
the game moved to ESPN.

Also joining:
Hallmark (with a preview at 10 a.m. ET and a rerun at 1 p.m.) ... RFD
(preview at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m., rerun at 1:30) ... HGTV
(commercial-free, promoting its 8 p.m. “Dream Home” special) ...
and Amazon Prime, with Will Ferrell and Molly Shannon as fictional

II: Bowl games, all day.

After the parade is
done, the games begin. That peaks with the semi-finals for the
national championship, on ESPN. The Rose Bowl has Oklahoma and
Georgia, each 12-1, at 5:10 p.m. ET; the Sugar Bowl has Alabama
(11-1) and Clemson (12-1) at 8:45; the winners collide a week later.

There's more: The
Outback Bowl (noon, ESPN2) has Michigan and South Carolina, both 8-4.
The Peach Bowl (12:30, ESPN) has Central Florida, 12-0, and Auburn,
10-3. The Citrus Bowl (1 p.m., ABC) has Notre Dame and Louisiana
State, both 9-3.

ALTERNATIVE: “Independent Lens,” 10:30 p.m., PBS (check local

Armistead Maupin
grew up in a conservative North Carolina family. Jesse Helms gave him
first real job; he volunteered for Vietnam, returned there as a
helpful civilian and then met President Nixon.

In the background
was his own secret, as a gay man. When he began writing a daily,
fictional story in the San Francisco Chronicle, gay characters became
increasingly important. That became “Tales of the City,” a
mini-series that brought PBS huge success and then conservative
attacks. This beautifully detailed documentary traces Maupin, 73,
through a life of huge personal and social changes.

ALTERNATIVE II: “The Bachelor” opener, 8-10:01 p.m., PBS.

Five yeas ago, Sean
Lowe and Arie Luyendyk Jr. were “Bachelorette” contestants,
competing for Emily Maynard. Luyendyk finished second, Lowe was third
... but later was “The Bachelor,” where he chose and married
Catherine Giudici. Now it's Luyendyk's turn; first, he meets with the
Lowes for advice.

Then it's time to
meet the 29 women, many of them familiar with the Dutch-born
professional racer. One arrives in a miniature racecar; another has a
red, vintage Mustang convertible. Another whispers Dutch words in his
ear. Eventually, eight are sent home.

Other choices

Performances,” 9-10:30 p.m., PBS. Here's the Vienna Philharmonic's
New Year's Day concert (which a few stations also carry live at 2:30
p.m. ET). There are lots of Strauss waltzes, including pieces that
have ballet dances at a hunting lodge and at Emperor Franz Josef's
private train station.

“Lucifer” and
“The Gifted,” 8 and 9 p.m., Fox. Both shows have new episodes. We
flash back to Lucifer's arrival in Los Angeles. We also see tensions
mount among the mutant leaders

“The Big Bang
Theory,” 8 p.m., CBS. In a funny rerun from last season, two
problems pop up: Amy is temporarily leaving to teach at Princeton;
also, the guys' link with military people goes bad.

“Young Sheldon,”
8:30, 9 and 9:30 p.m., CBS. This enjoyable comedy is rarely flat-out
funny. One exception is tonight's first rerun, with hilarious moments
as the kids try to see their dad in the hospital. The second has
Sheldon discovering comic books; the third has him helping his dad
coach football.

“Better Late than
Never,” 9 and 10 p.m., NBC. Who knew that George Foreman is a major
ABBA fan? In the first hour, he meets a founding member; also, the
guys battle on a “Viking island” and try an etiquette class. In
the second, there's a detour to Lithuania, where William Shatner's
parents grew up.

“The Good Doctor,”
10:01 p.m., ABC. Here's a rerun of the first episode, smartly written
and beautifully played. Freddie Highmore is a young, autistic doctor,
with Richard Schiff as his mentor.

TV column for Sunday, Dec. 31

“New Year's Rockin' Eve,” 8-11 p.m., 11:30 p.m. to 2:06 a.m.,

For decades,
“Rockin' Eve” had a sly formula: Music was taped in advance, at a
pretend Eve party. Then competition got tougher abd in 2005, the show
needed a live concert; it chose Mariah Carey. When Carey returned
last year, however, the result was a mess; she blamed technical

Now she's back for
another try. She'll be live at Times Square, as will Nick Jonas,
Camila Cabello and Sugarland. Also live: Britney Spears in Las Vegas
and Imagine Dragons in New Orleans; the taped party has Ciara, Kelly
Clarkson, Alessia Cara, Kane Btown, Bebe Rexha, Shawn Mendes and

More New Year's Eve.

Others – NBC, MTV
and more – have quit trying to match ABC. That leaves Fox as the
main competitor. It has Steve Harvey in New York from 8-10 p.m. and
11 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., reportedly with Celine Dion, Macklemore, Neil
Diamond, Skylar Grey, Flo Rida and the Backstreet Boys.

There are also the
news channels. CNN (8 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. ET) again has Anderson
Cooper, this time with Andy Cohen replacing the ousted Kathy Griffin.
Fox News (10 p.m. to 1 a.m. ET) has Lisa “Kennedy” Montgomery and
Jesse Watters, with music from Andy Grammer and Lauren Alaina.

ALTERNATIVE: “Live From Lincoln Center,” 9 p.m., PBS.

For a brief time,
the classical and pop music worlds almost intersected. That was when
Leonard Bernsein wrote the music for “West Side Story,”
“Candide,” “Wonderful Town” and “On the Town.”

Now the New York
Philharmonic – which Bernstein led for 11 years – has a night of
his music. The vocals will be from Christopher Jackson of “Hamilton,”
plus other Broadway stars – Aaron Tveit (also known from the
“Graceland” series and “Les Miserables” movie), Laura Osnes
and Annaleigh Ashford.

Football on CBS and Fox, but not on NBC.

Each week, NBC's
“Sunday Night Football” has been a ratings-leader ... until now.
Last week, the night game was moved to Saturday, to avoid Christmas
Eve; this week, it's simply been eliminated.

The NFL arbitrarily
decided there won't be a game tonight, after all. Instead, all the
games with play-off possibilities will be at 4:25 p.m. ET, with
regional feeds. Moving there from 1 p.m. are Cincinnati-Baltimore,
Buffalo-Miami and Jacksonville-Tennessee on CBS and Carolina-Atlanta
and New Orleans-Tampa Bay on Fox. Some other key games (including
Arizona-Seattle) were already set for 4:25.

Other choices

films, Spike. Steven Spielberg's terrific “Jurassic Park” (1993)
is 10 a.m., with the sequels at 1 p.m. (1997) and 4 p.m. (2001); they
rerun at 6 p.m., 9 p.m. and midnight. And to complicate things, FX
has “Jurassic World” (2015) from 5-7:30 p.m.

(1997), 3 and 7:30 p.m. ET, BBC America. Like Spielberg, James
Cameron proved that blockbuster movies can also be splendidly
crafted. Here's his Oscar-winner.

“S.W.A.T.,” 8:30
p.m., CBS (8 p.m. PT). A night of CBS drama reruns starts here. Hondo
still has misgivings about the reckless Jim Street, but he lets him
go undercover to trace a car-thef ring.

“SEAL Team,”
9:30 p.m., CBS (9 p.m. PT). Terrorists have kidnapped an undercover
CIA operative, hoping to use her as a bargaining chip. Now the team
tries a rescue.

“Bull,” 10:30
p.m., CBS (10 p.m. ET). It's a double night for Christopher Jackson –
singing on PBS and acting (as Chunk, the fashion consultant for
Bull's defendants) here. Tonight, the friendship is strained when
Bull works for the accused killer of Chunk's mentor.

ALSO: There are
plenty of popcorn pleasures. Disney has its “Descendants”
musicals at 4 and 6:05 p.m. Freeform has the final five Harry Potter
films at 7 and 10:40 a.m., and at 1:50, 5:30 and 9 p.m.`And FXX has
the “Simpsons Movie” (2007) at 6 p.m., followed by a 28-hour
series marathon.

TV column for Saturday, Dec. 30

Orange Bowl, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN.

New games keep
popping up, bearing long names – Dollar General Bowl, Famous Idaho
Potato Bowl – and short histories. But now we're reaching the three
oldest games.

The Rose Bowl has
been an annual event since 1916, the Sugar Bowl since 1935. Those two
will be Monday; the Orange Bowl – which ties Sugar for the second
oldest – arrives first, with two strong teams. Wisconsin (12-1)
will be in its first Orange Bowl. Miami (10-2) will be in its 10th;
it's 6-3 so far.

“Ten Days in the Valley,” 10 p.m., ABC.

Next week, this
terrific mini-series has its two-hour conclusion. For now, ABC hints
that there may be a key moment: Jane (Kyra Sedgwick) might finally
find her daughter, who was kidnapped ... and then taken again,
apparently by a corrupt cop who killed one of the original

There's also a
confrontation between two people in Jane's life – her drug dealer
and her sister.

ALTERNATIVE: “Saturday Night Live,” 11:29 p.m., NBC.

It's been a big year
for Tiffany Haddish. “The Carmichael Show,” where she was used
sparsely, was canceled, but the “Girls Trip” movie was a hit.
It's brought Haddish a dozen nominations so far, including a couple
of early wins.

She's also had her
first stand-up special. And here's a rerun of the Nov. 11 “SNL”
she hosted, with Taylor Swift as music guest.

Other choices

“The New Edition
Story,” 8:45 and 10:53 a.m. and 1 p.m., BET. Here's the solidly
made, three-part mini-series about the group's quick career.

More bowl games.
The TaxSlayer Bowl (noon ET on ESPN) has Louisville and Mississippi
State, each 8-4. The Liberty Bowl (12:30 p.m. on ABC) has Memphis
(10-2) and Iowa State (7-5). And the Fiesta Bowl (4 p.m. on ESPN) has
Washington and Penn State; each is 10-2.

special, 8 p.m., ABC. On Monday, the show has Arie Luyendyk Jr.
launch his search. First, here's a rerun of an hour profiling him.

“The Gifted,” 8
p.m., Fox. Thunderbird leads a mission, to find out what Sentinel
Services did to his friend. Also, Lauren meets someone with useful
powers and Blink makes a key decision.

“Lethal Weapon,”
9 p.m., Fox. In an entertaining rerun, someone has died moments
before his horse won a race. Leo Getz (Thomas Lennon) insists it was

“Match Game,” 9
p.m., ABC. Alec Baldwin hosts this rerun.

“Office Christmas
Party,” 10 p.m., Showtime. As people recover from their own holiday
parties, they can watch this movie – uneven, but fairly good –
about a party gone extremely bad.

TV column for Friday, Dec. 29

“American Masters,” 9-11 p.m., PBS.

Bob Hope, a
biogapher says, was “a man of many contradictions.” He was a
symbol of a forthright life, someone who gave 100-plus days a year to
charity and risked his life in war zones. He also spent time in
juvenile detention, dropped out of high school and cheated throughout
his 69-year marriage.

He was a rebel whose
innovations – a conversational emcee, a movie actor talking to the
camera – were fresh. He also became tied to the old ways. “Dad
got out of touch,” Linda Hope, says here. He was, in short, far
more ineresting than most of us suspected; here's a fairly good

“iHeart Radio Music Festival,” 8-10 p.m., CW.

The “iHeart”
people have pretty much taken over the CW this week, filling
five-and-a-half of its 10 hours with reruns. On Monday was the
“Jingle Ball”; Thursday and today bring a Las Vegas concert.

Ryan Seacrest hosts
a pop line-up that includes Miley Cyrus, Lorde, Big Sean, DJ Khaled
and more.

ALTERNATIVE: Cotton Bowl, 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN.

In 1937, this bowl
began with Texas Christian beating Marquette. Eventually, Marquette
would drop football, but the Cotton Bowl would keep thriving. Its
most valuable players have included future pro stars (Troy Aikman,
Joe Montana, Jim Brown, etc.) and a Supreme Court justice (Whizzer

Texas has been there
22 times, Ohio State and Southern California only once each. (They
both won.) Now OSU (ranked No. 5) collides with Southern Cal (No. 8).

Other choices

More bowls, all day.
ESPN has two more – the Belk Bowl at 1 p.m. ET, with Wake Forest
and Texas A&M (each 7-5); then the Music City Bowl at 4:30, with
Kentucky (7-5) and Northwestern (9-3). CBS has the Sun Bowl at 3,
with North Carolina State (8-4) and Arizona State (7-5); then the CBS
Sports Network has the Arizona Bowl at 5:30, with Utah State (6-6)
and New Mexico State (5-6).

“Terminator 2”
(1991), 7-10 p.m., BBC America. James Cameron has made two terrific
sequels -- “Aliens” and this one. This time, the cyborg (Arnold
Schwarzenegger) is here to protect Linda Hamilton, not to kill her.
“Terminator 3” (2003) follows at 10.

“Hell's Kitchen,”
8 and 9 p.m., Fox. These two reruns range from fish dishes to a
five-course dinner. In between, there's a blind taste test and
(really) a camel.

“Law & Order:
Special Victims Unit,” 8 p.m., NBC. In a rerun, Rollins and Carisi
are convinced that a woman's bizarre rape story is fabricated. The
others aren't so sure.

“MacGyver,” 9
p.m., CBS. Nudged back an hour to make room for a new “48 Hours,”
this rerun has Mac looking for someone who leaked classified
information to the enemy. Fortunately, he has a screwdriver and bug
spray to help him.

“Blue Bloods,”
10 p.m., CBS. In a rerun, Kevin Dillon plays Linda's brother; in
trouble with the Mob, he begs Danny to let him stay until this blows
over. Also, Jamie takes his niece, Nikki, on a ride-along.

ALSO: Two Netflix
series offer new seasons today. It's the second season for “Bill
Nye Saves the World,” with lots of science talk, and the fourth for
the sci-fi anthology, “Black Mirror.”

TV column for Thursday, Dec. 28

Music, 8-10 p.m., Fox and CW.

It's a night of
big-deal specials -- new and rerun, hip-hop and pop. CW has the pop
rerun (continuing Friday), with Pink, Harry Styles, Coldplay, Christ
Stapleton. The Weeknd and more.

And Fox has the new
“Bad Boy Story.” Sean “Diddy” Combs was 23 when he was fired
by a record company; he promptly started the Bad Boy label, scoring
with The Notorious B.I.G., Craig Mack, Faith Evans and his own
records as Puff Daddy. Last year, he assembled a “hip-hop
homecoming” with Evans, plus French Montana (currently on the Bad
Boy label), Usher, Lil' Kim and Jay Z.

II: “Will & Grace,” 8:30 and 9 p.m., NBC.

With regular-season
football ending, the Thursday comedy battle resumes. It''s
CBS-vs.-NBC, with reruns tonight and new episodes next week.
Fortunately for NBC, “Will & Grace” has great reruns.

First, people talk
longingly (and foolishly) about the joys of 1890s New York. They soon
see variations of themselves, in a world that has no place for anyone
except rich, white heterosexuals. Then the friends are near big
career goals – a law-firm partnership for Will, a giant decorating
job for Grace. These are broadly funny episodes, each with Leslie
Jordan guesting as the bizarre Beverly Leslie.

ALTERNATIVE: “Big Bang Theory,” 8 and 9 p.m., and “Young
Sheldon,” 8:31, CBS.

This is why it's so
hard for even the clever NBC comedies to get a Thursday foothold. CBS
has TV's best comedy, along with its fairly good spin-off.

In the first “Big
Bang” rerun, Howard and Bernadette have trouble leaving their baby
at day-care; also, plain Bert introduces his girlfriend ...played by
the gorgeous April Bowlby of “Drop Dead Diva” and “Two and a
Half Men.” In the second, Penny gets a job offer from her former
boyfriend. In between, Sheldon – a 9-year-old in high school –
wants to soothe his mom's fears by finding one friend.

Other choices

Football, all day.
This is serious bowl turf, as top-20 teams collide in two 9 p.m. ET
games. Fox Sports1 has the Holiday Bowl, with Michigan State (ranked
No. 16) and Washington State (No. 18); both are 9-3. ESPN has the
Alamo Bowl, with Stanford (9-4, No. 13) and TCU(10-3, No. 15).
Earlier, ESPN has two more – the Military Bowl at 1:30 p.m. ET,
with Navy (6-5) and Virginia (6-6) and the Camping World Bowl at
5:15, with Virginia Tech (No. 22) and Oklahoma State (No. 19), both

“To Tell the
Truth,” 8 p.m., ABC. Thursdays will be in flux for ABC until the
dramas return Jan. 18. For tonight, we get game-show reruns,
including “$100,00 Pyramid” at 9 and “Match Game” at 10.

“Superstore,” 8
p.m., NBC. In a rerun, Amy tries to show her wild side, during a
quiet Christmas Eve.

“Great News,”
9:30 p.m., NBC. Here's the lone new comedy episode, amid a sea of
reruns. Shortly after her own break-up, Katie learns that her
grandparents are divorcing after 70 years. Now she's convinced that
love is dead ... while Chuck tries to steal the affection of Justin's
new girfriend.

“Mom,” 9:30
p.m., CBS. Ever since they quit drinking, Bonnie and Christy have
been relatively sedate. Now Adam's hard-partying friends (Bradley
Whitford and Nicole Sullivan) pay a noisy visit.

“S.W.A.T.,” 10
p.m., CBS. In a rerun of a fairly good (if a bit monotone) episode,
Sherilyn Fenn of “Twin Peaks” plays the manipulative mother of
Jim Street. Also, a drug ring endangers immigrants.

“Say Anything”
(1989), 10 p.m., Pop. Cameron Crowe (“Jerry Maguire”) wrote and
directed this gem about an underachiever (John Cusack) romancing a
beautiful valedictorian (Ione Skye).