“The History of Comedy,” 10 p.m. ET, CNN (barring breaking news).
How tough was the
comedy business for women? Treva Silverman says she thought she had a
great interview for Johnny Carson's show ... then was told “the
guys wouldn't be comfortable” with a woman in the writers' room.
She would go on to win two Emmys with “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.”
Gail Parent recalls
being the only woman among 100 variety-show writers; Rosie O'Donnell
says in 1979 the stand-up circuit only had six women. This episode
(the second in a series, with reruns on Saturdays) views the female
pioneers and the shows, especially “Saturday Night Live,” that
“Scandal,” 9 p.m., ABC, and more.
ABC has already
renewed all three of its regular Thursday shows for next season, a
key step. During the time when they were missing, the night fell
All three shows are
from Shonda Rhimes, with a cinematic feel and a great sense of
character ... even when it's a tad excessive. Or A LOT excessive, in
the case of “Scandal” ... which has Olivia convinced that Cyrus
schemed the whole thing – being elected vice-president and then
having the president-elect killed on election night. Tonight, he
insists on his innocence and the team finds shocking information.
ALTERNATIVE: “MasterChef Junior,” 8 p.m., Fox; “Project Runway
Junior,” 9 p.m,, Lifetime, repeating at 10:34.
One show is just
starting, another is near its finale and both are stuffed with whiz
kids. In a charming opener last week, “MasterChef” chose eight
young cooks; now it chooses its other 12 finalists.
Recent episodes (rerunning from 6-9 p.m.) trimmed it to five teens,
14-17, preparing for next week's finale. There are three girls (two
started in fashion after watching “Runway”) and two boys (one
didn't start sewing until taking a home-ec class at 12). They're
varied – one from each coast, plus a Louisiana guy, a Michigan girl
and a headscarf-wearing Muslim girl from Mankato, Minn.
ALTERNATIVE II: “Riverdale,” 9 p.m., CW.
can be large – murders and affairs and such – or subtle, with the
closing of a theater that's crucial to youth culture. Tonight, all of
those merge in a strong episode.
As always, this is a
mixed blessing. One character is accurately described as “a stock
character from a '90s teen movie”; another (Betty's mom) is almost
as absurd. But flaws and all, this is a solid episode. Tonight,
“Riverdale” disposes of its worst plot element and offers fresh
insights on Jughead.
“RED” (2010) and
“RED 2” (2013), 6:30 and 9 p.m., Syfy. Bruce Willis tries to
retire to suburbia ... a life choice that's apparently not available
to former secret-agent killers. These are big, clever films, with
great support from Helen Mirren, John Malkovich, Mary-Louise Parker
and many more.
8 p.m., ABC. The surgical residents want to spend their time fretting
about the next step by Eliza, the consultant who has been altering
their program. For now, however, they're tangled in a battle among
the attending physicians. Also, April has a tough first day in her
“The Big Bang
Theory,” 8 p.m., CBS. Sheldon and Amy have a modest sex life –
once a year, on her birthday – but he still managed to talk about
it to co-workers. Now she's furious.
“Mom,” 9 p.m.,
CBS. Last week, Bonnie managed to ruin her great romance with Adam.
Now she's making everyone miserable, so Christy begs him to take her
10 p.m., NBC. We always knew Brent Spiner – who played Data in
“Star Trek” tales – could be a master criminal. Now he plays
someone who will plan the perfect crime, for a price.
“How to Get Away
With Murder,” 10 p.m., ABC. Once fiercely potent, Annalise is
determined to take down the district attorney and assistant who
robbed her of her power.