1) Billboard Music Awards,” 8-11 p.m. Wednesday, NBC. After a half-year delay, the awards finally arrive, with lots of top performers. They include Kelly Clarkson (shown here), the host; Garth Brooks, getting the Icon Award; and Post Malone, leading with 16 nominations. Songs will range from a premiere by Demi Lovato to En Vogue’s 30-year-old “Free Your Mind.” Also performing are BTS, Sia, Alicia Keys and Luke Combs, plus links – Deja Cat with Tyga; Khalid with Swae Lee and country’s Kane Brown.
2) “The Simpsons: Treehouse of Horror,” 8 p.m. Sunday, Fox. How many ways can a ninth birthday go wrong. Lisa finds out during a “Groundhog Day” take-off; people keep getting crunched and mashed, usually in funny ways. That’s one of three bits (plus an election-themed opener) in this Halloween-time tradition, which is (as always) darkly clever. In one, we have six Homers – which is five (or maybe six) more than society can handle. And in a “Toy Story” take-off, the toys finally get revenge on Bart,
3) ABC town hall (details pending). This was supposed to be the night of the second debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden. Then the debate commission said the candidates must be in separate locations, due to COVID concerns. Trump said he wouldn’t do it; Biden promptly scheduled a town-hall event moderated by ABC’s George Stephanopoulos … who had a similar session with Trump last month. Now that’s set … unless there’s another change and the debate plan is revived.
3) Presidential debate, 9-10:30 p.m. ET Thursday, ABC, CBS. NBC, PBS and news channels. The first debate brought great interest – in the same way that earthquakes and hurricanes do. Now the second is scheduled but indefinite, with new rules regarding interruptions (the Washington Post counted 71 by Donald Trump and 22 by Joe Biden in the opener) and COVID separation. Alternatives include movies and football: The Chiefs and Bills collide at 8:20 p.m. ET on Fox, with the pre-gtame show at 7:30.
4) “The Bachelorette” season-opener, 8 p.m. Tuesday, ABC. It’s been a long road for Clare Crawley. Six years ago, she was the “Bachelor” runner-up; she did “Bachelor in Paradise” twice and became engaged at the “Bachelor Winter Games” reunion. That fell through and she was chosen for this summer’s “Bachelorette” … which was then delayed by COVID and reduced in scope. Crawley, 39, a hair-stylist, is the oldest bachelorette and (Latina on her mother’s side) one of the few with ethnic roots.
5) “The Amazing Race” season-opener, 9 p.m. Wednesday, CBS. Let’s credit people with keeping a secret: This race ended almost two years ago. CBS planned to air it last season, then set it for this summer. When COVID struck (halting the next “Race”), it saved it or this fall. Now the show arrives, as reality fills a scripted-show void. It’s part of a corridor with “Dancing With the Stars” on Mondays, “Bachelorette” Tuesdays, “Masked Singer” and “Race” Wednesdays and multiple “Big Brother.”
6) “One Day at a Time” season-opener, 9 and 9:30 p.m. today, CBS. Three decades ago, this was a typical CBS comedy– smart, slick and produced by Norman Lear. Rebooted with a Latina cast and Lear (now 98) still as producer, it ran three seasons on Netflix and six episodes (before a COVID shutdown) on Pop. Now those six reach CBS on three Mondays. Tonight’s first episode, with Ray Romano as a census-taker, is clever; the second is OK, if you forgive some broad comedy and overblown characters.
7) “Tell Me a Story” season-opener, 9 p.m. Tuesday, CW. The second 10-episode season again etwines three stories semi-based on fairy tales. A few actors return – Paul Wesley again as a troubled chap, this time a writer, Danielle Campbell again plays a potential victim. Tonight’s main story involves a gorgeous young country star (Natalie Alyn Lind of “The Gifted”) whose life changes suddenly. Like the first season, this is beautifully filmed and acted, with tough tales that may or may not resolve well.
8) “Coco” (2017) and “The Con,” 8 and 10:02 p.m., Wednesday ABC. First is a film that fits neatly this Halloween month. Set during Mexico’s “Day of the Dead,” a boy traces his family’s musical past. It’s a Pixar gem that made $800 million worldwide and won Oscars for best song (“Remember Me”) and best animated feature. Then “Con” debuts, with a weekly look ar deceptions. In the opener, a prominent surgeon is accused of fraud in his research and beyond; in one case, seven of his eight patients died.
9) “Baroness Von Sketch” season-opener, Wednesday night at midnight ET, IFC. This is the fifth and final season of a show that gives a fresh twist to sketch comedy – four Canadian women, writing and starring in bits that are often done in a cinematic style. The opener starts with a very clever bit, as a judge is accused of being … well, judgmental. It also ends well. In between, “Baroness” – like most sketch shows – is inconsistent. Even then, you’ll admire the visual details, especially during a take-off of mobster tales.
10) “Great Performances: Grammy Salute to Legends,” 9 p.m. Friday, PBS. For a few early moments, this really is great. In a tribute to Roberta Flack, Cynthia Erivo beautifully sings “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” and (with Leslie Odom, Jr.) “Where Is The Love?” Then the show falls apart under a sea of words – badly written film tributes and marathon acceptances … including separate ones from every member of Chicago. Good musical moments do come from Sam Moore, Yola and Brandi Carlile.