1) Academy Awards, 8 p.m. ET Sunday, ABC. The worst is over now. For three humorless years, there was no host; last year, there was little music, no fun … and lots of time for winners to drone on, thanking agents and such. Now the Oscars try to make up for that with three hosts, two (Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes) quite funny; the third is a gifted actress, Regina Hall. Still, the early list of presenters had only a few (Chris Rock, for instance) capable of fun.
2) Best-picture nominees, HBO. You can catch three this week –“West Side Story,” 6 a.m. Tuesday; “King Richard,” 8 p.m. Thursday; “Dune,” 8 p.m. Saturday and 6:15 p.m. Sunday. Or stream them: Netflix has “Don’t Look Up” and “The Power of the Dog”; Apple TV+ has “Coda”; HBO Max has “Dune,” “Drive My Car,” “Nightmare Alley” (with Hulu) and “West Side Story” (with Disney+). “Belfast,” “King Richard” and “Licorice Pizza” have video-on-demand rental or sales.
3) “Atlanta” season-openers, 10 and 11 p.m. Thursday, FX. We’re used to delays – but four years?!? The second season ended on May 10, 2018, drawing praise and 16 Emmy nominations; then “Atlanta” vanished. That was partly because of Covid and partly because creator/star Donald Glover was busy with music and a “Star Wars” film. This third season and next year’s fourth and final one were filmed together, mostly abroad, with Big Boi’s European tour.
4) “9-1-1” return, 8 p.m. today, Fox. After a 14-week rest, “9-1-1” again shares the night with its spin-off, “9-1-1: Lone Star.” It returns with an OK episode that has a couple of emergencies – a paraglider loses control; a car will explode if it slows down – and a lot of personal problems. One firefighter has left to help Maddie; another took a call-center job to spend more time as a dad. New firefighters are needed … and Buck soon falls for a daring young woman.
5) “American Song Contest” debut, 8-10 p.m. today, NBC. Since 1956, the Eurovision contest has drawn huge TV audiences in Europe. Now – on the day ABC’s “American Idol” adds Mondays – an eight-week U.S. tourney begins. There’s one act for each state, plus five territories and DC. Many are unknowns, but others include Macy Gray (Ohio), Jewel (Alaska), Michael Bolton (Connecticut), Sisqo (Maryland) and “Voice” champion Jordan Smith (Kentucky).
6) “iHeartRadio Music Awards, 8-10 p.m. Tuesday, Fox. Getting a two-week jump on the Grammys, this has LL Cool J – a five-time Grammy host – as host and performer. Also performing: Megan Thee Stallion, John Legend, Charlie Puth, Jason Aldean, Maneskin and more; Jennifer Lopez gets a special award. Justin Bieber and Olivia Roderigo lead with nine and eight nominations, including male and female artist of the year. There are even awards for cover songs and TikTok.
7) “Expedition with Steve Backshall: Unpacked,” 10 p.m. Wednesday, KVPT. We can spend the night watching people stray from civilization. At 8 and 9 p.m., CBS has “Survivor,” on a Fiji island, and then “Beyond the Edge,” in a Panama jungle. Then switch to PBS for a show in which Backshall offers highlights of his past journeys. This episode has great footage as he scales an African cliff, paddles through Greenland ice and tries a Mexican cave.
8) Basketball, Thursday through Sunday. The college tournament is down to 16 teams and is ready to eliminate most of them. On Thursday and Friday, CBS has games at 7 and 9:30 p.m. ET; TBS has games at 7:15 and 9:45. Then the two networks take turns – TBS at 6 and 8:30 p.m. Saturday, CBS at 2 and 4:30 p.m. Sunday. That gives us the final four; those teams will head to New Orleans for the semi-finals April 2 and the championship game, April 4.
9) “Halo” debut, Thursday, Paramount+. Few shows have matched the ambition of adapting this videogame. Plans started seven years ago, filming started two-and-a-half years ago. The show shifted networks (from Showtime), countries (from Canada to Hungary) and producers. The reported budget topped $200 million for nine episodes. It arrives during a huge streaming week; on Friday, the elegant “Bridgerton” starts its second Netflix season.
10) ALSO: Oscar buffs can go all-out on Sunday. The red carpet starts at 6:30 p.m. ET on ABC and 5 p.m. on E – which starts previews at 2. Also, Turner Classic Movies has past winners, peaking with “Gone With the Wind” (1939), from 4-8 p.m. ET. There are also strong post-Oscar choices – at 8 p.m., “Killing Eve” on BBC America; at 9, “Outlander” (Starz), “Walking Dead” (AMC) and terrific hours of “Sanditon” (PBS) and “Winning Time” (HBO).
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