The Long-Delayed Tony Awards, Fox’s Tuneful Toons, HBO’s ‘Nuclear Family,’ ‘BMF’ on Starz
As Broadway begins to reopen, the Tony Awards looks back to celebrate a truncated 2019-2020 season, then puts on a show on CBS. Fox’s animated lineup returns with musical episodes of The Simpsons and The Great North. An HBO docuseries explores the dynamics within a family of two lesbian mothers embroiled in a legal paternity suit. As the curtain falls on Starz’ Power Book III: Raising Kanan, the network launches a new urban melodrama, BMF (Black Mafia Family).
SUNDAY: Few industries suffered more during the pandemic than Broadway, shuttered in March 2020 and only now turning the lights back on. To honor the shows that premiered during the truncated 2019-20 season, the long-delayed Tony Awards ceremony will be streamed live on Paramount+ (non-subscribers can tune in via a free trial), with six-time Tony winner Audra McDonald hosting. The majority of awards will be presented during the two-hour event, immediately followed by a prime-time concert special on CBS, which traditionally carries the awards show. Hamilton Tony winner Leslie Odom Jr. hosts Broadway’s Back! (9/8c) a musical salute featuring Broadway classics and performances from nominated musicals including Moulin Rouge! The Musical, Jagged Little Pill and Tina Turner: The Tina Turner Musical. Other highlights include a Hairspray cast reunion, David Byrne with the cast of American Utopia, John Legend with the cast of Temptations musical Ain’t Too Proud, and an improvisational finale from Freestyle Love Supreme featuring Lin-Manual Miranda and friends. The Tonys for best musical, play and play revival will be announced during the CBS broadcast.
SUNDAY: Also getting in the musical-theater spirit, the undying animated comedy kicks off its 33rd season with a tuneful showcase for Marge (Julie Kavner), who sees herself as the “Star of the Backstage” as she rekindles memories of stage-managing her high-school musical about Y2K. (Which doesn’t really scan with The Simpsons’ flexible timeline, but whatever.) Kristen Bell provides Marge’s imagined singing voice, with a score co-written by Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s Jack Dolgen. But Marge’s trip down memory lane hits a sour note when the show’s leading lady returns to Springfield, reminding her of how much she missed out on back when she was still a Bouvier.
The Great North
SUNDAY: Another tuneful episode launches the second season of the adorable animated comedy set in Alaska, where teenage Judy (Jenny Slate) braces herself for a rite of passage when a hip new dentist (Wyatt Cenac) tells her it’s time to take her braces off. Judy is buffeted between being told this is a “big step toward adulthood” and being warned it’s a “funeral for your childhood.” The rest of the Tobin family seems more interested in singing about toast, when their toasters keep catching fire. (Fox’s animated lineup continues with premieres of Bob’s Burgers at 9/8c and Family Guy at 9:30/8:30c.)
SUNDAY: Filmmaker Ry Russo-Young’s very personal docuseries examines her childhood in the 1970s and ’80s, raised by two lesbian parents and conceived through a gay sperm donor. This unorthodox but happy family, including Ry’s sister Cade, was rocked when Ry’s biological dad, Tom Steel, sued the family for paternity and visitation rights, setting off a landmark lawsuit that would redefine the way gay families were perceived.
SUNDAY: The premium cabler has found its niche in urban melodrama. Following the first-season finale of Power prequel Power Book III: Raising Kanan (8/7c), in which Raquel (Patina Miller) goes to great lengths to keep her teenage son Kanan (MeKai Curtis) out of harm’s way, Starz premieres a fact-based drama, executive produced like Power by Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, about a ruling “BMF” (Black Mafia Family) in 1980s Detroit. In an intriguing twist, the central character of Demetrius “Big Meech” Flenory is played by his son, Demetrius “Lil Meech” Flenory Jr., with Da’Vinchi as brother Terry “Southwest T” Flenory, who together expand their drug empire into the world of hip hop. Co-stars include Russell Hornsby, Steve Harris and Snoop Dogg as Pastor Swift.
SUNDAY: The ultimate “what the hell” episode of this inventively weird thriller has a little bit of everything: a literal blood bath, an exorcism (featuring Michael Emerson as Leland Townsend, who may or may not be suffering for real), and an assignment from the IRS to assess a Satanist cult to judge if it’s worthy of religious tax-exempt status. As if agnostic Kristen (Katja Herbers) needed more of an excuse to walk on the wild side in what becomes a crisis of faithlessness. And we can’t even begin to discuss what her wayward mother Sheryl (Christine Lahti) is up to.
Inside Weekend TV:
- Elvira’s 40th Anniversary, Very Scary, Very Special Special (Saturday, 8/7c, Shudder TV feed and app): Having made news this week by publicly coming out at 70, the campy horror hostess (aka Cassandra Peterson) presides over a scary-movie lineup including her own Elvira: Mistress of the Dead, the OG House on Haunted Hill from 1959, The City of the Dead and Messiah of Evil. The special will be available on all Shudder platforms and AMC+ starting Monday.
- Global Citizen Live (starts Saturday, 1 pm/ET, ABC News Live and Hulu): A 24-hour global concert event promoting the international advocacy organization will be streamed live, with excerpts airing in a four-hour special on FX on Sunday (3 pm/2c) and an hourlong highlights special on ABC in prime time Sunday (7/6c). Among the headliners: Coldplay, Billie Eilish, Jennifer Lopez and more from New York’s Central Park, and Stevie Wonder, Adam Lambert, One Republic and more in Los Angeles; Ed Sheeran, Elton John and Doja Cat in Paris; Duran Duran and Kylie Minogue in London; and performances from Rio de Janeiro, Seoul, Sydney, Mumbai and Lagos.
- Champions for Change (Saturday, 8/7c, CNN): Victor Blackwell and Alisyn Camerota host the news network’s fifth annual salute to community leaders across the country, who’ve been featured in a weeklong series.
- Gabby Petito Investigation: Cross-Country Nightmare (Saturday, 8 pm/ET, HLN): The case that captured the nation’s attention earns two live specials on the crime-focused network, starting with a moment-by-moment breakdown of the 911 call and police bodycam footage that helped make Petito’s disappearance go viral. HLN continues the story on Sunday with Gabby Petito: Murder Investigation (8 pm/ET).
- 60 Minutes (Sunday, 7/6c, CBS): Segments include Bill Whitaker’s report on the giant 3,000-gallon Chinook helicopters being used to battle the California wildfires, and Sharyn Alfonsi’s profile of record-holding free diver Alexey Molchanov, who in July dove 430 feet, holding his breath for four and a half minutes without a scuba tank. Don’t try this anywhere.
- ABC’s Sunday lineup returns with new seasons of Celebrity Wheel of Fortune (8/7c) and Supermarket Sweep (9/8c) leading into the fourth-season premiere of The Rookie (10/9c), picking up from the cliffhanger when escaped drug lord La Fiera (Camille Guaty) kidnapped Detective Angela Lopez (Alyssa Diaz) right before she was to marry public defender Wesley Evers (Shawn Ashmore).
- Toxic: Britney Spears’ Battle for Freedom (Sunday, 8/7c, CNN): The high-profile legal tug-of-war over the controversial pop star’s conservatorship prompted a second installment of The New York Times Presents “Controlling Britney Spears” on FX and Hulu earlier this weekend. Now it’s CNN’s turn to weigh in with an hourlong special.