“America’s Got Talent” finale, 8-10 p.m. Tuesday and 9-11 p.m. Wednesday, NBC. Singers use to dominate this ratings-leader, winning the championship in five of the first six years. Since then, however, they’ve only won two of nine. This year’s final-10 has three singers and a nurses’ chorus, plus two comedians, two magicians, an acrobat and a taekwondo team. The youngest is Victory Brinker (shown here), 9, a singer; the oldest is comedian Josh Blue, 42, who has already won a “Last Comic Standing” title.
2) “Hell’s Kitchen” and “MasterChef” finales, 8-10 p.m. today and Wednesday, Fox. Gordon Ramsay names two champions. This round of “Hell’s Kitchen” is just for young pros, 24 and under; the semi-finalists (23, 23 and 22) do the first round; the final two prepare five-course dinners. “MasterChef,” by comparison, is strictly for home chefs; the semi-finalists are a bartender, 27; a physical therapist, 32; and a food-blogger, 30. They prepare appetizers; then the two finalists offer entrees and desserts.
3) More finales. With the new season officially starting next Monday, summer shows are wrapping up. “American Ninja Warrior” (8-10 p.m. today, NBC) has its third round of finals and names its winners. “Lego Masters” (8-9 p.m. Tuesday, Fox) gives its three final duos 24 hours for a build that has two looks – for day and night. Two ABC shows, usually on Mondays, are pre-empted by football this week and will now be Tuesdays-only; “Ultimate Surfer” ends Sept. 21, “Bachelor in Paradise” ends Oct. 12.
4) Emmy awards, 8-11 p.m. Sunday, CBS. Last year’s Emmys were the best awards show of the pandemic era, thanks to clever production (Reginald Hudlin and Ian Stewart) and witty hosting (Jimmy Kimmel). Now those producers return; Cedric the Entertainer takes over as host, hoping to have an outdoor audience, plus a big opener taped in advance. As usual, cable and streamers dominate; broadcast has only one nominee each for best drama (“This Is Us”) and comedy (“Black-ish”).
5) “Muhammad Ali” opener, 8 p.m. Sunday, PBS, rerunning at 10:15. Ken Burns again focuses on a larger-than-life figure, rippling with contrasts. The former Cassius Clay was a sweet-spirited kid who grew up in a devout Baptist home. He stumbled in school, with dyslexia and attention deficit disorder, and became the class clown. But he started boxing at 12 and his 6-foot-3 frame began to fill out. He became a great athlete and a dynamic – and controversial – force, ideal for Burns’ four-night profile/
6) “American Experience: Sandra Day O’Connor: The First,” 9-11 p.m. today, PBS. Growing up on a 160,000-acre Arizona ranch, O’Connor savored independence. She drove a truck at 10, entered Stanford at 16, graduated near the top of her law-school class … and couldn’t get a job interview. She rose through Barry Goldwater’s Republicans, got Ronald Reagan’s appointment as the first female Supreme Court justice – and surprised people with her centrist views. Here’s a sharp, balanced portrait.
7) “Back to Life” season-opener, 10 p.m. today, Showtime. This could have ended after one splendid season. We saw Miri (creator Daisy Haggard) return to her seaside town, after 18 years in prison for murder. She soon learned that the whole thing was the fault of her friend Mandy. Now this opener has two wonderful scenes – early, with her parole officer, and then later with Mandy. That’s surrounded by “The L Word: Generation Q” (moving to 9 p.m. Mondays) and a “Work in Progress” rerun (10:30).
8) “Fantasy Island,” 9 p.m. Tuesday and 8 p.m. Sunday, Fox. This reboot – with lush visuals and so-so stories – wraps up its eight-week summer run. The Sept. 12 episode (a reunion of “Melrose Place” actresses) was a disappointment, but Tuesday, does some neat time-twisting: A bookworm (Australian newcomer Caitlin Stasey) meets a long-ago author; an adventurer (Eric Winter of “The Rookie”) meets … well, his boyhood self. On Sunday, an artist meets his mentor (Leslie Jordan of “Call Me Kat”).
9) “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” finale, 8-9 p.m. Thursday, NBC. One of TV’s top comedies wraps up. “Nine-Nine” started hot in 2014 – Golden Globes for best comedy and comedy actor (Andy Samberg), Television Critics Association nominations for best comedy and new show. Its only Emmys have been for stunts, but Andre Braugher has been nominated four times for supporting actor. Fox cancelled it after five seasons, but NBC aired three more; after this finale, the network has a no-laughs fall season.
10) ALSO: As the new season nears, networks offer final reruns. On Saturday, CBS has the “S.W.A.T.” season finale at 8 p.m. and the “NCIS: New Orleans” series finale at 9. Meanwhile, Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Red Shoes” shows up twice Friday: It’s a beautifully filmed ballet on PBS’ “Great Performances,” at 9 p.m., and a plot point in the “Morning Show” season-opener on Apple TV+; also streaming Friday are Clint Eastwood’s “Cry Macho” (HBO Max) and Netflix’s “Sex Education.”