1) Academy of Country Music awards, 8-11 p.m. Wednesday, CBS. With a five-month delay, this found ways to do live, social-distanced music. Performers will be scattered over three spots – the Grand Ole Opry’s past and current home and a nightclub. And there will be plenty of them. Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani (shown here) do “Happy Anywhere”; Carrie Underwood does a medley of women’s hits. Also: host Keith Urban, Luke Bryan, Trisha Yearwood, Kane Brown, Miranda Lambert, Tim McGraw, more.
2) Emmy awards, 8-11 p.m. Sunday. ABC. This is a tough show to do in a pandemic, with little music and with Jimmy Kimmel in a mostly empty theater. Comedy nominees are “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” “Dead to Me,:” “The Good Place,” “Insecure,” “The Kominsky Method,” “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” “Schitt’s Creek,” “What We Do in the Shadows.” Dramas: “Better Call Saul,” “The Crown,” “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “Killing Eve,” “The Mandolorian,” “Ozark,” “Stranger Things,” “Succession.”
3) “Dancing With the Stars” opener, 8-10 p.m. today, ABC. There’s a new host (Tyra Banks) and a new judge (Derek Hough, who won six “Stars” titles as a dancer). And there’s new distancing: Duos will be close to each other, but away from others; the professional dancers will even avoid their spouses. And the “stars”? They include Carole Baskin, the animal activist from “Tiger King”; Kaitlyn Bristowe, the ex-“Bachelorette”; plus skater Johnny Weir, Nelly, Jesse Metcalfe, Anne Heche, Charles Oakley, more.
4) “VOMO: Vote or Miss Out,” 10 p.m. today, and “Presidential Town Hall,” 6 p.m. PT Tuesday, ABC. Seven weeks from the election, the big networks perk up. Tonight, Kevin Hart hosts a get-out-the-vote hour, filled with stars, including Tim Allen, Tiffany Haddish, Will Ferrell, Jay Leno and 2 Chainz. On Tuesday, Donald Trump takes questions from undecided voters; George Stephanopolous is monitor. Joe Biden, who has a CNN town hall at 5 p.m. PT Thursday, has been invited to a separate ABC event.
5) “MasterChef” finale, 8-10 p.m. Wednesday, Fox. Next week, Fox will launch the fall version of its line-up, a rerun-free blend of sports, “Masked Singer,” acquisitions and shows delayed from spring. For now, here’s a rerun of the finale from last September. Returning from home town visits are the final three chefs – Nick DiGiovanni, 22, a college student from Rhode Island; Dorian Hunter, 45, a creeler (textile worker) from Georgia; and Sarah Faherty, 31, a former Army interrogator from San Diego.
6) “Islands of Wonder” debut, 8 p.m. Wednesday, PBS. Over three weeks, this will take us to places we’d really like to be. Borneo and Hawaii are next, but the opener visits Madagascar. Humans have had their impact lately, converting 80 percent of the rainforest to farming. But animals had a long time to evolve in unusual ways, We meet lemurs found only on the island. We also see Labord’s chameleon, which lives four-to-five months … the shortest lifespan ever recorded for a four-legged vertebrate.
7) “Archer” season-opener, 10-11 p.m. Wednesday, FXX, rerunning at 11 and 11:30. Recent seasons have taken wild swings into other genres – a film-noir detective story, a space mission, a jungle adventure. All of that, it seems, was in Archer’s feverish dreams; he emerges from a three-year coma, ready to be cheered by his co-workers … except that they’ve done fine without him. Cheryl is oddly well-adjusted; Cyril is downright macho. Now the show returns to being a slick action-comedy that’s fairly fun.
8) “World’s Funniest Animals” debut, 9 and 9:30 p.m. Friday, CW. The animals do their part, offering great moments; the humans don’t do nearly as well. One dog pretends to play the piano (with a hidden human’s help) and another really does play it. There are surfing dogs, a biking parrots, a caressing elephant, a cat climbing the underside of the stairs. Most are funny; the humans aren’t. The host (Elizabeth Stanton) is bland and her commentators (with the exception of Brian Cooper) are no help.
9) “Saturday Night Live,” 11:29 p.m. Saturday, NBC. Will Ferrell has been entwined with “SNL” approximately forever. He was a regular for seven years, playing everyone from George W. Bush to Alex Trbek to a teen cheerleader; in a 2014 poll, he was voted viewers’ all-time favorite. Then he and Adam McKay (former “SNL” head writer) created Funny or Die, produced TV shows and made movies, from “Elf” to “Anchorman.” This reruns his fifth time as host; King Princess is music guest.
10) Also: “Monday Night Football” opens its season today with a doubleheader – the Steelers-Giants at 4:15 p.m. PT, then Titans-Broncos at 7:10. There’s more, at 5:20 p.m. Thursday (Bengals-Browns) and all day Sunday, with the Patriots and Seahawks at 5:20 p.m. ET on NBC. And if you need a Sunday alternative to football and Emmys, catch the second “Masterpiece: Van der Valk,” at 9 p.m. on PBS. It gets tangled and strains credibility, but is still a fascinating mystery in impressive Amsterdam settings.