Tuesday TV: The Battles of Muhammad Ali

muhammad-ali-the-greatestAntoine Fuqua’s three hour documentary of the champ, “What’s My Name: Muhammad Ali” (HBO, 8 p.m.) presenting his long career through recordings of his voice – much of it in rhyme.

“The Flash” (CW, 8 p.m.) faces Reverse Flash on the season five finale.

On the fifth season finale of “NCIS: New Orleans” (CBS, 10 p.m.) Side is speared from the team in South Ossetia. Sounds like a cliffhanger in the offing.

“FBI” (CBS, 9 p.m.) reaches its fist season finale uncovering a large criminal operation.

The Black Panthers get the focus on tonight’s episode of “1969” (ABC, 10 p.m.).

Bob is pulled between “Lenny” and “Chicago” on “Fosse / Verdon” (FX, 10 p.m.).

Katie and Greg look forward to a romantic evening on “American Housewife” (ABC, 8 p.m.),

“Intervention” (A&E, 8 p.m.) is on the menu for a pair of brothers.

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Upfronts: More Dramas, Cartoons from Fox

Fox-NetworkThe new Fox network, following the acquisition by Disney, presented a larger than usual slate for 2019-20.

In addition to four new comedies (three of which are animated) and six dramas (just two of which start in the fall), they’re picking up WWE Smackdown weekly on Fridays.

“Empire” will be having their final season, and the relatively-new “9-1-1” already will have a spinoff set in Austin, “9-1-1: Lone Star,” with Rob Lowe.

They’re still building on the goofy “The Masked Singer” and launching third season after the Super Bowl (after a second season in the fall).

Entertainment chair Charlie Collier described the new season as “a startup” but began the star parade Monday by marching on the middle-aged cast of “BH90210,” the reboot of the old “Beverly Hills 90210” with most of the originals.

The biggest star at the upfront may have been Justin Timberlake, who will only be a producer of a quiz show coming this summer, “Spin the Wheel.”

New dramas announced Mondays are:

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Upfronts: NBC Announces Three for Fall

NBC LogoThere’s still a lot of fuss around the annual tradition of network upfronts, when the big five broadcasters announce plans for the new season in order to excite advertisers.

Truth to tell, Netflix probably presents more new shows in a week than all of broadcasters will in a season. Nevertheless, the annual announcements give a opportunity to see where networks are going, what they hold dear and especially what they are canceling.

NBC began the process Sunday by announcing just three new shows for the fall, a drama and two comedies. They’ll be joined by three additional dramas midseason and two more new comedies midseason. In addition, the network made the unusual move of announcing three new seasons for “This is Us” that will take it up to season six. Melissa McCarthy will take over as host of “Little Big Shots” midseason, one of the mostly returning reality shows.

The new dramas are:

  • “Bluff City Law” — Jimmy Smits and Caitlin McGee star as a father-daughter law firm in Memphis, an “aspirational” legal saga that also features Scott Sheperd and Bary Sloane. Mondays this fall.
  • “Council of Dads” – When a father has a health scare, he assembles three buddies to step in as back-ups Clive Standen, Tom Everett Scott, Sarah Wayne Callies star. Midseason.
  • “Lincoln” — Not about the president, but the NYPD detective from “The Bone Collector,” cracking new cases. Russell Hornsby of “Grimm” stars alongside a new partner played by Arielle Kebbel of “Midnight, Texas.” Midseason.
  • “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” — Jane Levy of “Suburgatory” stars as a computer coder who starts to hear the thoughts of people around her through songs. Skylar Astin, Peter Gallagher and Mary Steenburgen are part of the cast.

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Monday TV: Women with Weapons

las-finestGabrielle Union revives her character from the “Bad Boys” franchise into a new action cop series in which she’s paired with Jessica Alba. “L.A.’s Finest” (Spectrum Originals, streaming), available only for Spectrum cable or internet subscribers.

Being “The Bachelorette” (ABC, 8 p.m.) means she doesn’t have to be called Hannah B. any more. But former Miss Alabama Hannah Brown doesn’t seem the most articulate one they’ve ever hard, which may make it more difficult for the 30 men who will knock heads in the spirit of competition if not love. Eventually, they’ll travel.

But already in an exotic locale are the ill-clad, bed hopping singles of “Paradise Hotel” (Fox, 9 p.m.)

“The Daily Show” is pre-empted by a special, “Desi Lydic: Abroad” (Comedy Central, 11 p.m.), in which the correspondent travels the world to compare rights for women.

It’s harvest season in Napa Valley in Bernardo Ruiz’s film on “Independent Lens” (PBS, 10 p.m., check local listings), which is serious in a way that “Wine Country” (Netflix, streaming) is not.

“Gentleman Jack” (HBO, 10 p.m.) is seen as the perfect tonic for Ann Walker’s nerves.

“-9-1-1” (Fox, 8 p.m.) ends its second season responding to mail bombs; next season it will return with a spin-ff.

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Sunday TV: Political Farce Ends on HBO

VeepFinaleThe election is over on “Veep” (HBO, 10:52 p.m.) and with it, the splendidly profane, fast-moving and incisive political satire ends as well after seven seasons, and we are left with our own farce.

A big confrontation is brewing, meanwhile, on “Game of Thrones” (HBO, 9 p.m.), which is still producing 80 minute episodes.

Major auditions on “Barry” (HBO, 10:22 p.m.) don’t cover half of the action.

Back with a third batch of episodes is the funny and incendiary “Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj” (Netflix, streaming).

An overflow of material ensures a new season of “Our Cartoon President” (Showtime, 8 p.m.).

Former star of a sitcom and more recently producer of the fine comedy “Remy,” the comic turns his cameras inward with “Jerrod Carmichael: Home Videos” (HBO, 7 p.m.) in which he talks to the women of his household about their lives and thoughts.

All of the Fox animated shows have season finales tonight, “The Simpsons” (Fox, 8 p.m.), “Bob’s Burgers” (Fox, 8:30 p.m.) and “Family Guy” (Fox, 9 p.m.). So does the third season of “Unforgotten” (PBS, 10 p.m., check local listings) and second season of “Very Cavallari” (E!, 10 p.m.).

“Shark Tank” (ABC, 10 p.m.) ends its 10th season, though there will probably be so many reruns you won’t be able to tell.

The French Revolution finally starts on “Les Misérables” (PBS, 9 p.m., check local listings).

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Saturday TV: Making Fun of Dad’s Prose

MyDadWroteWhen Jamie Morton discovered his father wrote some erotic novels earlier in his life, he picked up a copy and read it to his friends, who made snide comments as it went along. That became a podcast, which became a stage show, which was filmed at the Roundhouse in London to become the comedy special “My Dad Wrote a Porno” (HBO, 10 p.m.). It features the reading from the series “Belinda Blinked.”

The instant special on the week’s royal event is called “Meghan & Harry: It’s a Boy!” (TLC, 10 p.m.).

“Night School” (HBO, 8 p.m.), the comedy with Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish, gets its premium cable debut, as does “Adrift” (Showtime, 9 p.m.) with  Shailene Woodley and Sam Claflin in the shipwreck story based on a true story.

The Stanley Cup Western Conference Finals begin with the prime time broadcast showcase for St. Louis at San Jose (NBC, 8 p.m.).

Jonna Walsh plays an internet homemaker who is supposed to represent New England but whose persona may be shaken when she runs into her Texas ex (Nathan Parsons) in the made for TV romance “A Feeling of Home” (Hallmark, 9 p.m.).

A young woman desperate for the homecoming crown becomes the “Homekilling Queen” (Lifetime, 8 p.m.). Ashley Jones and Kaitlyn Bernard star.

For those who can’t take a day off, Donny Deutsch hosts the new “Saturday Night Politics” (MSNBC, 8 p.m.).

Perhaps the searchers for “Lost Gold of World War II” (History, 8 p.m.) should be aware of “The Curse of Wold War II Gold” (History, 11 p.m.).

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Friday TV: Who’s Who in Wu-Tang History

wu-TangThe new four-part documentary series “Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men” (Showtime, 10 p.m.) takes a look back at the history of the influential hip hop group, on the even of the anniversary of their debut album “Enter the Wu-Tang (36 chambers).” Filmmaker Sacha Jenkins talks to the nine surviving members and their origins in Staten Island and Brooklyn.

Amy Poehler directs her own girls weekend out movie, “Wine Country” (Netflix, streaming), in which a gang that includes Ana Gasteyer, Maya Rudolph, Poehler and Tina Fey celebrate the 50th birthday of Rachel Dratch’s character.

“Easy” (Netflix, streaming), the series set in Chicago, with Orlando Bloom, Malin Ackerman, Jake Johnson, Marc Maron, Hannibal Buress and Aya Cash,  among others, returns for its third season.

In the new series “The Society” (Netflix, streaming), kids find themselves in a version of their town, but without parents. “Lord of the Flies” stuff ensues.

A second season begins for “The Mechanism” (Netflix, streaming), the drama about political corruption in Brazil.

“Sneaky Pete” (Amazon, streaming) is also back for its third season.

A number of season finales are scheduled tonight, from “Last Man Standing” (Fox, 8 p.m.), to “MacGyver” (DBS, 8 p.m.), “The Cool Kids” (Fox, 8:30 p.m.), “The Cool Kids” (Fox, 8:30 p.m.), “Proven Innocent” (Fox, 9 p.m.) and “Blue Bloods” (CBS, 10 p.m.).

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Thursday TV: Jordan Klepper Returns

klepperHis post-“Daily Show” show gig, posing as a far right provocateur in “The Opposition with Jordan Klepper” didn’t work out (some figures are beyond parody). So the sardonic host is back with a more sincere effort, “Klepper” (Comedy Central, 10:30 p.m.) in which he embeds himself with various groups to find out more about them, rather like “United Shades of America with W. Kamau Bell.”

He starts off by getting in the ring with military vets who use wrestling to deal with PTSD, but gets embedded enough among protesters in a future episode to get himself arrested.

It might sound like fun on paper — a dating competition in an exotic locale. But the dim bulbs in bathing suits who populate the revived series hosted by Kristin Cavallari make “Paradise Hotel” (Fox, 8 p.m.) not exactly worth checking out; but rather something you want to check out of. Patterned now after the even more icky UK “Love Island” (Hulu, streaming), the first episode of “Paradise Hotel” is two hours.

Still, it’s probably elegant compared to “Double Shot at Love with DJ Pauly D & Vinny” (MTV, 8 p.m.).

Cavallari also is among the gullible on “Hollywood Medium with Tyler Henry” (E!, 8 p.m.) alongside Kris Jenner and Khloe Kardashian.

Christy celebrates her birthday on the sixth season finale of “Mom” (CBS, 9 p.m.).

Elton John is the inspiration on “Project Runway” (Bravo, 9 p.m.).

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Wednesday TV: ‘Lucifer’ Moves to Netflix

LuciferSatan has been around a long time. So maybe it wasn’t a surprise when “Lucifer” (Netflix, streaming) was picked up by a popular streaming service after it was canceled on Fox a year ago, after three seasons. Tom Ellis revives his role as the Devil turned club owner and police consultant. And there’s some business to resolve after season three’s big jolt: Lauren German’s Det. Chloe Decker finally getting wise to the devil’s identity. New in season four is the introduction of the Biblical Eve (Inbar Lavi). Being on Netflix theoretically means more freedom in storytelling, but also no commercial breaks, and the ability to watch the next episode (or all of the season’s ten) in one setting.

Otherwise, finales dominate terrestrial TV.

The tenth season finale of “Modern Family” (ABC, 9 p.m.) has everyone looking back on how they celebrated their birthdays.

On the fifth season finale of “Empire” (Fox, 8 p.m.), Cookie and Lucious determine the future of their relationship.

It’s the finale, too, on “The Goldbergs” (ABC, 8 p.m.) where there is  breakdancing battle and a plan to follow the Grateful Dead for the summer.

Glascott faces removal as principal on the first season finale of “Schooled” (ABC, 8:30 p.m.).

On the third season finale of “Star” (Fox, 9 p.m.) two acts battle for the top spot at the ASAs.

“Single Parents” (ABC, 9:30 p.m.) ends its first season with an appearance by Angie’s ex.

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Maren Morris Goes Pop at The Anthem

marenMaren Morris paused a couple times in her splashy headlining show at The Anthem in D.C. to take it all in.

It was her largest sellout to date, with 6,000 people, and just about everybody in the young, largely female crowd knew every lyric of her new album, which she only released a couple months ago.

Its messages of empowerment, love and occasional loss strikes a chord, even if its genre transcends its Nashville roots. There was nary a note in the 100 minute show you’d identify with country music. Even when she picked up an acoustic guitar to sing “A Song to Everything” solo, its references were to Springsteen, Katy Perry and Coldplay.

Maren may have come up writing songs recorded by Tim McGraw, but she’s no more country than Taylor Swift these days. In fact, it’s her voice on last year’s ubiquitous dance record, “The Middle,’ with which she closed her big show, setting off that big earworm again.

Her main pop influence, though, judging from how often it surfaced in the show, though, is Beyonce, particularly her uplifting “Halo,” which was not only covered at the tail end of “Second Wind,” but seemed to have incorporated into the title song to her new album, “Girl,” which kicked off the show.

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