What’s Worth Watching: ‘Saturday Night Live’, ‘Real Time with Bill Maher’, ‘Hunted’ and more for Friday, Jan. 20 thru Sunday, Jan. 22
Saturday Night Live (Saturday, 11:30/10:30c, NBC): Equally adept at scene-stealing (in Parks and Recreation) and stand-up comedy, and in his Emmy-winning Netflix series Master of None proving to be a deft hand at semi-autobiographical writing and acting, Aziz Ansari has the credentials to be among the better first-time Saturday Night Live hosts. He’ll be joined by Big Sean, also making his first appearance as musical guest.
Real Time With Bill Maher (Friday, 10/9c, HBO): In other late-night (ish) comedy news, the outspoken Maher picks a fine time to kick off his 15th season of political satire, on the night of the new president’s inauguration. Expect no punches to be held, with interview guests including Jane Fonda at the top of the show and Keith Olbermann at mid-show. A new set will be unveiled, and also, inevitably, some “New Rules.”
Hunted (Sunday, approximately 10/9c, CBS): With the AFC Championship game delivering a mammoth lead-in, CBS launches what it hopes will be its next big reality-adventure hit. Nine teams of two go off the grid and on the run, hiding as fugitives from an elite team of investigators and surveillance experts. Any team that can last 28 days without being caught earns a $250,000 prize.
Inside Weekend TV: A new Great Performances series kicks off with Alicia Keys—Landmarks Live in Concert (Friday, 9/8c, PBS, check local listings at pbs.org), in which artists perform in locales with personal connections. In the case of Keys (“Empire State of Mind”), that means New York in all of its glory, including a harbor tour on the Circle Line. … The Santa Ana winds blow through West Covina in The CW’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (Friday, 9/8c), throwing everyone for a loop, including Rebecca (Rachel Bloom) and her snarky new boss, Nathaniel (Scott Michael Foster). … From the file of unnecessary remakes comes Lifetime’s Beaches (Saturday, 8/7c), with Wicked and Frozen diva Idina Menzel and Nia Long as the BFFs who stick by each other through thick and (often) thin. Of note mainly because it gives the gifted Menzel a chance to cover such standards as “Wind Beneath My Wings” and “The Glory of Love.” … PBS presents a full night of historical drama on Sundays, with the return of Civil War potboiler Mercy Street for a second season (8/7c), a new episode of Victoria on Masterpiece (9/8c), and the three-part Secrets of the Six Wives (10/9c, check local listings for all at pbs.org). The latter takes me back to my first memories of imported costume drama on PBS with 1970’s The Six Wives of Henry VIII. This new version looks at the monarch’s ill-fated harem from the wives’ point of view.