1) Town hall, 8 p.m. ET, ABC, with news follow-up at 9:30 ET. This was supposed to be the big one – the second debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden; then it fell apart. When Trump was infectious with COVID, the debate commission said this round would have to be done from separate locations. He said he wouldn’t do it… Biden promptly scheduled this town hall … and the commission dumped the debate. Biden’s event — moderated by George Stephanopoulos (shown here) matches Trump’s town hall with ABC last month; Biden also had an NBC town hall on Oct. 5 … and Trump (see next paragraph) has tried to set up a similar one for tonight.
2) “Connecting” … or not, 8 p.m., NBC. This social-distance comedy-drama is scheduled for its second episode tonight; it’s a fairly good one, as the characters go on a home-delivery spree. That schedule, however, is uncertain: There’s an effort to have a Trump town hall, simulcast on NBC, MSNBC and CNBC; that’s tentative, as the networks demand independent proof of Trump’s health.
3) More changes. Fox was expecting a huge night: While other networks had the debate, it would have top-tier football, with the undefeated Buffalo Bills hosting the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs. Alas, the debate was canceled … and the game was postponed; it will now be Monday, Oct. 19. Other networks are also scrambling; CBS, for instance, has comedy reruns – “Young Sheldon” at 9 p.m., “The Neighborhood” at 9:30 – and then a new “Star Trek: Discovery,” mentioned next.
4) “Star Trek: Discovery,” 10 p.m., CBS. The first three episodes were a tad stagnant. Still, they loaded the ship with fascinating characters – a warrior captain, a peace-loving chief engineer who’s willing to talk back, a stoic science officer, her socially clumsy roommate and a disapproving first officer, Now things escalate, with a perilous rescue mission. The result – sometimes hampered by complex Klingon scenes – is visually spectacular, a strong blend of big adventure and small character drama.
5) “Supernatural” and “The Outpost,” 8 and 9 p.m., CW. Thursdays can be all-fantasy, if you watch these two prior to “Trek.” First, “Supernatural” has Casteel and Jack work a case involving a church, while Sam and Dean search for Amara. Then “Outpost” sees Tobin and Munt escape to recruit help.