1) College football season-openers, cable. The first football Saturday is a modest one, with a bigger line-up coming next week. For now, ESPN packs in three games – Eastern Kentucky at Marshall at 1 p.m. ET; Southern Methodist at Texas Tech at 4:30; and Arkansas at Memphis at 8. It also has two games on its ESPN3 streaming service. The CBS Sports Network had the first game, Thursday; today, it has Army (shown here last season) hosting Middle Tennessee — with a crowd consisting only of cadets – at 1:30 p.m. ET.
2) More sports. Football will pick up quickly, with a Monday game (Brigham Young-Navy) on ESPN and then the start of the pro season Sept. 10 and 13. Today, there’s baseball (Padres-A’s at 4:10 p.m. ET) on Fox Sports1 and the basketball playoffs (Raptors-Celtics at 6:30 p.m. and Nuggets-Clippers at 9) on TNT. NBC starts its Kentucky Derby coverage at 2:30 p.m. ET, even though the race isn’t until 7.
3) “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” 8-11 p.m., ABC. With no football game until next week, ABC improvises with reruns, sometimes showing good ideas gone bad. In the first hour, gender-reveal parties flub … in the second, selfies go bad … in the third, kids are upset when Santa eats their cookies.
4) V.C. Andrews marathon, noon to midnight, Lifetime. This reruns “My Sweet Audrina” at noon and then all five films from the “Heaven” series, starting at 2; the final three also rerun from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.) All are from V.C. Andrews novels; so are the “Flowers in the Attic” films – which rerun from 4 p.m. to midnight Sunday – and the “Ruby” films, which will debut next year.
5) Also: Two key documentaries rerun. For sheer beauty, catch “Planet Earth: A Celebration,” at 9:10 p.m. on BBC America; it repackages great scenes from “Planet Earth II” and “Blue Planet II,” with new narration and score. For human insight, try “On the Trail” (9 p.m. ET, CNN, barring breaking news). It originally aired on HBO Max, focusing on CNN reporters covering this year’s Democratic primaries.