Friday TV: Billie Eilish Behind the Scenes

One of the biggest pop stars around and one of the most enigmatic, opens up her world a bit in the new R.J. Cutler documentary “Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry” (Apple TV+, streaming).

One of the great voices in history is dramatized in the new film “The United States vs. Billie Holiday” (Hulu, streaming), with Andra Day in the title role. 

The big Hollywood premiere is an animated one, updating the old cartoon team “Tom & Jerry” (HBO Max, streaming) with vocal contributions from Chloe Grace Moretz, Michael Peña, Colin Jost and Rob Delaney. 

In the imported Spanish comedy “Crazy About Her” (Netflix, streaming), a man checks into a mental hospital in order to see a woman. 

The animated “Bigfoot Family” (Netflix, streaming) is a sequel to “Son of Bigfoot.” It will not be featured in a new episode of “The UnXplained” (History, 9  p.m.) that considers whether Bigfoot exists. 

The Zen and jazz-inflected “Painting with John” (HBO, 11 p.m.) has its season finale. 

The careers of Nicki Minaj, Gucci Mane, French Montana, Nipsey Hussle, Wake Flocka and 50 Cent are covered in the series finale of “Hip Hop Uncovered” (FX, 10 p.m.). 

“Dickinson” (Apple TV+, streaming) as does the engaging “Losing Alice” (Apple TV+, streaming), its movie wrapped.

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Thursday TV: Ludacris Gets in the Kitchen

The rapper Ludacris wants up up his culinary skills from Chef Meherwan Irani, but the title of his new series indicates he fails on “Luda Can’t Cook” (Discovery+, streaming).

Soleil Moon Frye, who wasn’t all that great as the original Punky Brewster is back and not all that much better in her 40s as a grown up “Punky Brewster” (Peacock, streaming), a single mother who welcomes a foster child into the fold. Cherie Johnson reprises her role as best friend in the rebooted sitcom.

The life of four young roommates in L.A. provide the comedy in the new sitcom “Millennials” (AllBlk, streaming). 

“Floribama Shore” (MTV, 9 p.m.) starts its season by belying its title, as the cast travels to Montana and Arizona. 

The new “She’s the Boss” (USA, 10:30 p.m.) follows marketing entrepreneur Nicole Walters and her husband, a stay-at-home lawyer. 

Weird that “Talking Dead” (AMC+, streaming), the former after show of “The Walking Dead,” now runs four days before the new episodes air on cable (though the 10th season premiere streamed before its cable premiere). 

“Mr. Mayor” (NBC, 8 p.m.) is already reaching its first season finale in an episode about palm tree maintenance. 

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Wednesday TV: Different Kind of ‘Snowfall’

The fourth season of drug saga “Snowfall” (FX, 10 p.m.) begins with a pair of episodes. By now, it’s 1985 following the reelection of Ronald Reagan and a new war on drugs, including the dealers of South Central Los Angeles.

Dog training is the job of Jas Leverette in the new series “Canine Intervention” (Netflix, streaming).

Antonia Gentry and Brianne Howey play a mother-daughter team who try to escape past troubles by settling down in New England in the new series “Ginny & Georgia” (Netflix, streaming). 

An updated iteration of “HGTV Design Star” comes on the Discovery+ streaming service, but you can also watch “Design Star: Next Gen” (HGTV, 9 p.m.) on cable.  

The final episodes of the Canadian sketch comedy series “Baroness von Sketch Show” (IFC, midnight) begin to roll out. 

Archie, Betty, Veronica and Jughead are now teachers at “Riverdale” (CW, 8 p.m.), so that’s Mr. Jughead to you now. 

“NOVA” (PBS, 9 pm., check local listings) reviews the recent triumphs in the exploration of Mars. 

A surprise visitor introduces “Resident Alien” (Syfy, 10 p.m.) to the institution of marriage. 

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Tuesday TV: Another ‘Superman & Lois’

Tyler Hoechlin and Elizabeth Tulloch are the latest two to play “Superman & Lois” (CW, 8 p.m.) in a new series where they’re parents of teens, one of whom may have dad’s superpowers. So it’s a teen series as well as another facet of the network’s overcrowded Arrowverse. The 90-minute premiere is followed by a half hour behind the scenes special, “Superman & Louis: Legacy of Hope” (CW, 9:30 pm.)

Not that anyone asked, but Tim Allen and Richard Karn, the “Tool Time” hosts from “Home Improvement” host an actual home improvement competition in the new “Assembly Required” (History, 10 p.m.). First challenge: An all-season leaf blower. 

The Brazilian soccer star and icon is profiled in the documentary “Pelé” (Netflix, streaming).

“Brian Regan: On the Rocks” (Netflix, streaming) is the third standup special from the Miami-born comic. 

The perfectly reasonable hospital series “Nurses” (NBC, 10 p.m.) concludes its first season, with Grace going public with her claims against Dr. Hamilton. 

K-pop may go acoustic on the new “BTS: Unplugged” (MTV, 9 p.m.).

“Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” (HBO, 10 p.m.) looks at the lack of diversity in NFL coaching. 

A new “This is Us” (NBC, 9 p.m.) is told through a series of car rides. 

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Monday TV: More Scandanavian Drama

HBO’s Monday nights go further Scandanavian with the premiere of “Beartown” (HBO, 9 p.m.), an adaptation of the bestseller by the same name from Fredrick Backman, who also wrote “A Man Called One.” It’s about a Swedish hockey star who returns to his small northern town after a stint in the Canadian NHL team, to coach its fledgling team.

With the senior squad hopeless, he focuses on the junior team to start winning and a young star player who has an interest in his daughter. The five-episode series looks pretty compelling, even as it reflects the winter chills we’ve been having stateside.

It’s followed by the latest episode of another fine import, “The Investigation” (HBO, 10 p.m.), on which  the Swedish cadaver dogs come to help the grim Danish search in the chilly Baltic. 

Ellis Haizlip’s public television variety show “Soul!” Which aired from 1968 to 1973 and had guest that ranged from Muhammad Ali to Al Green, James Baldwin to Roberta Flack, is recalled in Melissa Haizlip’s award-winning documentary “Mr. Soul!” making its TV debut on “Independent Lens” (PBS, 10 p.m., check local listings). 

Rhiannon Giddens’ musical explorations are featured on the special “Reclaiming History: Native Daughters” (Smithsonian, 9 p.m.). 

Kendall Kyndall hosts a new weekly talk show, “Social Society” (AllBlk, streaming) on the streaming service formerly known as UMC. 

“The Bachelor” (ABC, 8 p.m.) visits to the hometowns of Bri, Michelle, Rachael and Serena and meets their families. 

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Sunday TV: Dismaying ‘Allen v. Farrow’

Ready to disavow every work by one of America’s most talented and prolific filmmaker for the last half century? The harrowing four-part “Allen v. Farrow” (HBO, 9 p.m.) slams a legacy like no work since the Michael Jackson-damning “Leaving Neverland” (also on HBO) to make one reconsider everything in light of the barrage of evidence Mia Farrow produces of child abuse, including a lot of family home footage, surreptitiously recorded audio, as well as a methodical debunking of official records the filmmakers claim were covered up due to the Allen’s celebrity.

The only time Allen is heard from is from self-serving press conferences from more than 25 years ago and the audiobook narration from Allen’s memoir last year, “Apropos of Nothing.”  The series by Kirby Dick, Amy Ziering and Amy Herdy is disturbing and thoroughly dismaying stuff, but it raises questions about devotion to celebrity, separating art and art-maker and whether to ever watch another Woody Allen film (HBO’s answer is clear: A half dozen of his titles are currently streaming on HBO Max).

If you have a stomach for another off-putting entertainer, “Supervillain: The Making of Tekashi 6ix9ine” (Showtime, 10 p.m.) tells the story of the purposely repugnant rapper who advanced his career by linking up with gangs, only to rat them out in the end. Karam Gill’s three-part documentary is interrupted by its own annoyance – the building of a villain action figure. 

“All Creatures Great and Small” (PBS, 9 p.m., check local listings) ends its season at a Christmas Eve party.

Eliza gets to the bottom of her father’s death on the season finale of “Miss Scarlet and the Duke” (PBS, 8 p.m., check local listings). 

After being bumped by a rain-delayed Daytona 500 last week, “The Great North” (Fox, 8:30 p.m.) gets to have its premiere tonight. 

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Saturday TV: Serial Killer on Long Island

Kim Delaney stars as a mother whose search for her daughter leads to finding 19 bodies in the made-for-TV movie “The Long Island Serial Killer: A Mother’s Hunt for Justice” (Lifetime, 8 p.m.), produced by Deborah Norville, who once covered the case for “Inside Edition.” 

“A Wild Year on Earth” (BBC America, 8 p.m.) looks at wildlife reaction during the fall. 

Anderson Cooper sits down the the third richest man Earth on “AC360: The Bill Gates Interview” (CNN, 9 p.m.). 

The made for TV romance “Mix Up in the Mediterranean” (Hallmark, 9 p.m.) involves a twin who takes his brother’s place in a cooking contest and falls fr the woman running it. Jeremy Jordan and Jessica Lowndes star. 

Turner Classic Movies has a double feature of Sidney Poitier, on the occasion of his 94th birthday, with “Lillies of the Field” (8 p.m.) and “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” (10 p.m.). Then comes the Argentine adaptation of Richard Wright’s “Native Son” (midnight), in which the author also stars, followed by Barry Levinson’s “Diner” (2 a.m.) and its prequel “Avalon” (4 a.m.). 

Basketball gets a prime time broadcast showcase with Miami at Lakers (ABC, 8:30 p.m.).

Hockey goes outdoors for its annual open air game with Vegas vs. Colorado (NBC, 3 p.m.). Other hockey includes  Rangers at Washington (NHL, 12:30 p.m.), Chicago at Carolina (NHL, 7 p.m.) and Calgary at Edmonton (NHL, 10 p.m.).

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Friday TV: McDormand Out in ‘Nomadland’

Frances McDormand stars in the new “Nomadland” (Hulu, streaming) about a woman who decides to travel around after her Nevada gypsum plant closes. David Strathairn also stars in the movie by Chloe Zhao.

In the new movie “I Care a Lot” (Netflix, streaming), Rosamond Pike plays a woman who tries to scam old people, until she runs into Dianne Wiest. Peter Dinklage also stars in the film by J Blakeson. 

Lily Rabe, Amy Brenneman and Hamish Linklater star in the new series “Tell Me Your Secrets” (Amazon Prime, streaming) about a woman in witness protection to keep her safe from a serial killer. 

In the new imported German sci-fi series “Tribes of Europe” (Netflix, streaming) is set in the year 2076 the the continent has been broken into warring factions.

The NASA saga “For All Mankind” (Apple TV+, streaming) returns for a second season in 1983 amid the Cold War. 

The film “Flora & Ulysses” (Disney+, streaming) stars Matilda Lawler as a young comic book fan who discovers a squirrel with super powers, based on KateDiCamillo’s Newbery Award winning book. 

John addresses the disappearance of Chicken Man on “Painting with John” (HBO, 11 p.m.). 

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Thursday TV: ‘Dateline’s Own Crime Series

Why should streaming services be the only place for multi-episode true crime documentary series? Network newsmagazines have been doing true crime episodes for decades, so why not their own crime series? So here’s the there part “The Widower” (NBC, 10 p.m.) about a Las Vegas man with a terrible mullet who is accused of killing his sixth wife (after four earlier ones also died mysteriously). The decade-long investigation continues with episodes Friday and Sunday. 

The new five-episode “It’s a Sin” (HBO Max, streaming) follows the lives of young gay men in Manchester, England, at the beginnings of the AIDS epidemic. It’s from Russel T. Davies, who previously created “Queer as Folk.”

“The March on Washington: Keepers of the Dream” (National Geographic, 10 p.m.) catches up with some of the activists of the 1960s. 

“Clarice” (CBS, 10 p.m.) goes to Tennessee to investigate a fringe militia group. 

Chuck teaches Mike a lesson on “Last Man Standing” (Fox, 9:30 p.m.).

“Young Sheldon” (CBS, 8 p.m.) is thrown for a loop by his philosophy teacher, played by Melanie Lynskey. 

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That Time I Interviewed Rush Limbaugh

The mistake I made when I met Rush Limbaugh 30 years ago was that I thought he was just kidding.

The bluster, the self-promotion, the exaggerated outrage of the radio star, who died Wednesday at 70, was so over the top you’d think he was trying to portray every liberal’s idea of a stereotypical right wing nut on the radio.

When I visited him in his WABC studio in a New York skyscraper next to Penn Station, the eight lights blinking on his phone (though he’d never put a caller through) he was going on about condoms in the school. Why not just have a complete show and tell session between the principal and school nurse, he exclaimed. “If we’re going to be ridiculous about this, let’s be all the way ridiculous about it!”

And I thought that was his shtick — taking everything to their extremes for comic effect. 

Surely, it was working. Even then the one time Kansas City disc jockey had an audience of 1.5 million on 323 stations, with 6 million different people listening in a week (which would double to 650 stations and 15 million listeners by the time he took his final commercial break).

And what once seemed like oafish bad taste — playing Clarence “Frogman” Henry’s “Ain’t Got No Home” for his homeless updates, turned dangerous as the guy who’d marry four times coined the term FemiNazis, doubted Obama’s birthplace, imagined “death panels” a part of Obamacare — all the way up to promoting Trump and doubting the results of the last election. (And suggesting, outrageously, that Democrats may have been behind the Jan. 6 uprising).

But back then, it almost seemed like he was exaggerating for effect.

“Our sole reason for existing is to acquire an audience,” he told me. “And if it’s good quality and a lot of fun, and not available anywhere else, they’ll tune in.” 

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