Sunday TV: Some Kind of Football Thing

It’s all about a football game today, even when it’s not.

Super Bowl XLVI (NBC, 6 p.m.) officially starts at sundown but the preshows begin at 1 p.m. Though commercials have leaked all week, their appearance during the game is still meaningful (and costly as heck). Madonna helms what sounds to be the most interesting halftime show in years (she promises no costume malfunction).

After the game is usually a prime time to launch a new network show, but people may be just to exhausted to watch another competition so soon after another. At any rate, there are big hopes for the second season of “The Voice” (NBC, approximately 10 p.m.). And to take further advantage of TV’s biggest audience (for the game), “Late Night with Jimmy Kimmel” (NBC, 11:35 p.m.) plans a special Sunday night show.

Counter programming is just as important so there’s an intriguing episode of “Downton Abbey” on “Masterpiece Theatre” (PBS, 9 p.m., check local listings) that will either signal the series has jumped the shark or at least will remind you how close it is to actual soap operas.

Instead of the pregame you should probably watch Puppy Bowl VIII (Animal Planet, 3 p.m.) if only for the sake of your pets.  It repeats at 5, 7 and 9, so you can check all those plays again.

Lingerie Bowl IX (MTV2, 4 p.m.) has the Philadelphia Passion vs. the Los Angeles Temptation.

Dolly Parton, Meryl Streep and Anna Wintour are profiled on “60 Minutes” (CBS, 7 p.m.). Speaking of other fun girls, there’s an eight hour marathon of “Sex and the City” (E!, 3 p.m.).

Frank tries to get Eddie’s life insurance benefits on a new “Shameless” (Showtime, 9 p.m.).

Dustin Hoffman’s Ace meets his parole officer on the second episode of “Luck” (HBO, 9 p.m.) and Jerry keeps losing at Texas Hold-Em.’ The premiere episode runs before and after on HBO2 at 8 and 10 p.m.

They jump from “Alien” (IFC, 6 p.m.) direct to ‘Alien 3” (IFC, 8:30 p.m.) without pausing for 2.

Oscar movies on Turner Classic Movies tonight are set in England: “The Entertainer” (8 p.m.), “Far from the Madding Crowd” (10 p.m.), “Darling” (1 a.m.), “Blow-Up” (3:15 a.m.) and “The V.I.P.S.” (5:15 a.m.).

Look! Other sports: In the NHL it’s the Bruins at Capitals (NBC Sports, 12:30 p.m.). and Manchester United at Chelsea (Fox, 10:30 a.m.) in English soccer.

Sunday Talk

ABC: Ron Paul. CBS: Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani. NBC: Gingrich, Govs. Deval Patrick and Mitch Daniels, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. CNN: Govs. Bob McDonnell and Martin O’Malley, Tony Perkins, Dick Army, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, Alice Rivlin, Rep. Mike Rogers. Fox News: Rick Santorum, McDonnell, former Rep. J.C. Watts.

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