1) BET Awards, 8 p.m., BET. Nearing the 50th anniversary (Aug. 11) of the first hip hop event, BET calls this a “non-stop hip hop party.” It has the Sugar Hill Gang, which had the first top-40 rap single, in 1980. Others include MC Lyte (shown here), Ja Rule, Soulja Boy, Kid ‘N Play, Fat Joe, Big Daddy Kane, Chief Keef, DJ Unk, E-40, Fat Joe and more. Also performing are GloRilla (with six nominations, trailing only Drake), Coco Jones, Doeschii and more.
2) “Ridley,” 8 p.m., PBS. Like “Endeavour” (at 9 p.m.), this has movie-length mysteries, slow, smart and somber. The difference is that “Endeavour” tells each story in one night – a good one last week, a so-so one now. “Ridley” tales are spread over two weeks; last week’s bland opener gave no hint of tonight’s powerhouse finish. Last week, a sullen farmer was killed; Ridley, a retired cop, is still haunted by an unsolved case (a missing little girl) 13 years earlier.
3) Football (Fox) and NASCAR (NBC), both 7 p.m. ET. On Saturday, NBC has football (a USFL semi-final game) and Fox had baseball. Now they switch sports: NBC has NASCAR, from Nashville; Fox has the other USFL semi-final, with Birmingham (8-2) and New Orleans (7-3).
4) “The Lazarus Project,” 9 p.m., TNT, rerunning at 10:05. Last week, George got a sobering look at what happened when one man wanted to alter the use of the go-back-in-time device. Still, he’s intent on using it to save his late girlfriend’s life. As he puts his plan in motion, he’s being tracked. That faces AMC’s “The Walking Dead: Dead City,” with Maggie and Negan confronting native New Yorkers.
5) “Top Gun: Maverick” (2022), 6:45 p.m., MGM. Boosted by whiz-bang visuals, solid writing and Tom Cruise, this was a big box-office hit and a best-picture Oscar nominee. For an opposite approach (elegant schemers), catch Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn in “Charade” (1963), at 10 p.m. ET on Turner Classic Movies. Or for sheer fun, catch the first two “Ghostbusters” movies (1984 and 1989), at 6 and 8:30 p.m. on BBC America.
— Mike Hughes, TV America