What will Chad Johnson pull out of his hat if he scored a touchdown Monday night?
Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
MONDAY, OCT. 1
A League of Their Own, ABC Family, 7 pm: Would Rosie O’Donnell have been as amusing to us as a gritty tomboy of a third baseman (third basewoman?) if we had been able to see into her future back in 1992? Sadly, I don’t think so.
Dancing With the Stars, ABC, 8 pm: I haven’t watched yet, but Mark Cuban’s participation lead to curiosity, which lead me to his blog, Blogmaverick.com. Yikes. There, Cuban reveals that DWTS has him "under 200 pounds for the first time since college" (didn’t need to know that) and blabs about "daddy treats" -- snacks he presumably makes for his daughter. (Cuban: "Of course no treat goes unfinished by dad!") As if that hadn’t sold me on DWTS, he promises, "No matter what, [tonight] is going to be fun !!" Great. Fun.
Heroes, NBC, 9 pm: Sometimes I feel like I’m speaking another language when I describe Heroes plot lines. This week: Saresh goes in search of the Haitian, Claire tries to keep her secret from Flying Boy (who seems evil to me), plus Nikki and Micah leave Vegas.
Patriots at Bengals,ESPN, 8:30 pm: Last I looked, the over-under had reached 54. I could see these two teams topping that by halftime. Easy money.
The pick: Patriots by 13.
TUESDAY, OCT. 2
Death to Smoochy, Comedy Central, 5 pm: Just because.
Dancing With the Stars, ABC, 9 pm: Who doesn’t love results shows? Probably the same people who wouldn’t tune in to see Queen Latifah shamelessly plug her new album, which she’s doing here, too.
101 Most Unforgettable SNL Moments, E!, 9 pm: For 10 of the most forgettable, go to the tape of this weekend’s LeBron-hosted SNL episode. Almost 100 percent unwatchable.
Ernest Goes to Camp, CMT, 10:15 pm: It’s like an Ernest Litmus Test. Everyone who thinks Ernest Goes to Jail was Jim Verney’s best work, please take one step to the left. Everyone else, you’re with me on the Camp side.
WEDNESDAY, OCT. 3
Pushing Daisies, ABC, 8 pm: What a marketing dilemma. How would you promote this quirky paranormal drama? From the director of RV? From the producer of Wild Wild West? They chose The Adams' Family and Get Shorty, but I think “From the director of photography on Throw Momma From the Train” would have been best. I’ll tune in either way.
1996 NBA Playoffs: Bulls at Knicks, Game 3, ESPN Classic, 10 pm: The Bulls finished that season 72-10, marking the single most successful campaign in league history; then they hammered the Sonics 4-2 in the Finals. So, why show Game 3 -- the Knicks’ only Conference Semis win -- here?
THURSDAY, OCT. 4
30 Rock, NBC, 8:30 pm: As Curb Your Enthusiam plods through its sixth -- and worst season -- this much is becoming clear: we all miss Jerry Seinfeld. So, three cheers for his return to primetime. Here he plays himself (did we ever know him as anything else?) in a bitter feud with Alec Baldwin’s network honcho.
Kentucky at South Carolina, ESPN, 7:30 pm: It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad conference, that SEC; especially in 2007.
Mad Men, AMC, 10 pm: Don gets opportunistic when his best friend and boss, Roger, is out of the office because of a heart attack. Ass. (Two episodes left!)
FRIDAY, OCT. 5
Footloose; Dirty Dancing, CMT, 7 pm; Showtime, 6:15: It’s a good old fashioned dance-off, people!
Friday Night Lights, NBC, 9 pm: Mixed feelings over the Season 2 premier, which already posted on Yahoo! last week. On the surface, I love it -- especially the five-minute poolside opening, backed by T Rex’s Bang a Gong -- but probably not for the same reasons that I loved the majority of last year’s episodes. Football seems to have been pushed to the background, and the final five minutes are so absurd that I debated giving up on the show altogether. (Deep breath: OK, I’ll give it another week.) What did everyone else think?
SATURDAY, OCT. 6
Oklahoma at Texas, ABC, 3:30 pm: What do you think was more disappointing to Sooner and Longhorn fans: losing last week; or knowing that the Red River Shootout will now be of 100 times less importance after their dual debacles? The pick: Oklahoma by 13.
Florida at LSU, CBS, 8 pm: You have to just hate to see games like this played so early in the season. The pick: Florida by 5.
Saturday Night Live, NBC, 11:30 pm: Did I say how much I despised last week’s episode, which LeBron hosted? Good then. I’ll give SNL ’07 a second chance, mostly on host Seth Rogen’s accord.
SUNDAY, OCT. 7
Bears at Packers, NBC, 8:15 pm: Yes, I’m a Bears fan. And yes, I think we’re as bad as our record indicates (though mostly due to injuries). But I do not believe the Packers are half as good as they seem, and I can only trust that the blue-and-orange will be the ones to bring 'em crashing back down to earth. The pick: Bears by 6.
Jets at Giants, CBS, 1 pm: What a weird season for all New York sports fans. The Giants play defense pretty much once every other week. And the Jets -- well, I can’t really seem to explain them except to note that they’ll only ever be as strong as Chad Pennington’s arm, which looked exceptionally flimsy against Buffalo. But they need this more, so I take them over the Giants in Jersey. The pick: Jets by 3.
Check out U.S. goaltender Hope Solo in action on Tuesday.
Photo by LIU JIN/AFP/Getty Images
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 17
Prison Break, Fox, 8 pm: Personally, I don't watch the show, but this marks the official kickoff of Fall Television 2007, so I guess we should all get up, fire out pistols in the air and do a jig -- or something. Plus, I'm happy to give a shout out to PB writer Nick Santora, a New York sports fan who likes to slip in sly references to his favorite (and least favorite) athletes throughout the show.
Redskins at Eagles, ESPN, 8:30 pm: By failing to do just about anything against Green Bay, the Gulls killed my best Week 1 parlay. Washington blew up another of my sure-fire picks (money line on the Fins, who were 3-point dogs). I curse them both and hope they tie. The real pick: Eagles by 4.
Rocky IV, Vs., 9 pm: Remember on Freaks and Geeks when Coach Fredricks told Sam that Rocky II was the best movie ever (because of Carl Weathers' abs) and that Bill Murray was just a wise-ass? Well, the Murray crack is unforgiveable, but I pardon the guy for getting the rest wrong because, technically, the far superior Rocky IV wouldn't have come out yet at the time.
WWE Monday Night Raw, USA, 9 pm: "The McMahon family's reaction to Vince McMahon's illegitimate son." Classy, guys. Classy.
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 18
Women's World Cup Soccer: US vs. Nigeria, Vs., 5 pm: I'm not saying that there aren't 10 better reasons to watch Team USA, but 5-foot-9 keeper Hope Solohas a figure that's just as memorable as that name. Just sayin'.
Muhammad Ali vs. Ken Norton, ESPN Classic, 7 pm: The Scrap in San Diego, which The Greatest walked away from with a split-decision loss (his second, after Frazier) and a broken schnoz.
Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel, HBO, 10 pm: Again, a mixed bag of fluff and fantastic: A chat with survivors of 1972's Air Force Flight 571, which was carrying a Uruguayan rugby team, is buttressed by Campbell's Soup spokeswoman Wilma McNabb.
Weeds, Showtime, 10 pm:Mary-Kate Olsen! On Weeds! As a stoner! When '80s TV stars play against their wholesome stereotypes, everyone wins.
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 19
The Lake House, HBO, 7 pm: I took in this whopper of a Keanu Reeves pic late one sleepless night a few weeks back. Without any experience, I can only guess that an acid-trip-gone-wrong is something like this.
Jerry Maguire, Oxygen, 8 pm: As if it wasn't neutering enough to be a fan of the movie that made "You had me at Hello" famous, now it finds regular rotation on Oprah's station. Awesome.
Kid Nation, CBS, 8 pm: Forty kids. No parents, no teachers anywhere. No, I can't imagine this being a problem.
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 20
Major League: Back to the Minors, WGN, 8 pm: In terms of Unnecessary Sports Movie Sequels, this would be like Rocky XIII or The Son of Waterboy.
The Office, NBC, 9 pm: One last rerun (the two-part Season 3 finale) before a week off -- and then we get a whole new season of the shockingly-just-as-good-as-its-British-predecessor masterpiece. Best moments: Schrutebucks and the don't-blink-or-you'll-miss-it revelation that Ryan landed the management job in New York.
Swingers, IFC, 9 pm: No matter how many times Trent makes Gretzky's head bleed, it's always funny.
Mad Men, AMC, 10 pm: You know that moment when you realize something beautiful is coming to its end -- like the last days of summer camp or the 52nd minute of the Super Bowl? Well, this is episode 9 of 13. Get it while it's here.
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 21
Brewers at Braves, ESPN, 7 pm: There's, like, a pennant race or something going on, eh?
Days of Thunder, Bravo, 8 pm: Two Tom Cruise plugs in one TV Watch. See, Tom Cruise wasn't always this cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 22
Shaun of the Dead, Comedy Central, 3 pm: Find a college football game today that's better than this insta-classic -- I dare you.
South Carolina at LSU, CBS, 3:30 pm: ... OK, this one comes pretty close. Has Steve Superior seriously turned this program around this quickly? The short answer will be pretty obvious after this tussle at Death Valley.
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 23
Indianapolis at Houston, CBS, 1 pm: Has Houston (which obliterated Kansas City in Week 1 and rolled Carolina in Week 2) turned a corner? We should get a good sense when they host Indy, whom they have beaten just once -- last year -- in 10 division match-ups. The pick: Colts by 8.
Super Troopers, Comedy Central, 8 pm: Some people suggest Diet Coke... Cool compresses... Fruit... But my go-to hangover cure is still two hours with the Broken Lizard boys.
Cowboys at Bears, NBC, 8:15 pm: A homer pick for Game of the Week. If Eli Manning passed for 300 yards and four TDs, then Rexy should be able to manage at least 200 and two. Here's hoping that's enough against the Romo-to-Owens connection. Career-wise, Owens has 41 catches for 141 ypg in four games against the Bears. The pick: Bears by 6.
The O.C. Marathon, Soap, 12 pm: Says TV Guide: "Twelve episodes about Summer explore her relationship with Seth, her high school years and her transformation at college." I'm sold.
Jerry Lewis Telethon, WGN, 7 pm: How do you know when your charity cause has lost traction? For one, your guest hosts include Louie Anderson, David Cassidy and two Muppets -- Sal Minella and Johnny Fiama -- that no one has ever heard of.
Florida State at Clemson, ESPN, 8 pm: Addition by subtraction at the Bowden Bowl: Florida State should be much improved after firing offensive coordinator Jeff Bowden. FSU's Bobby Bowden leads the series over son Tommy 5-3, but he's lost the last three. (By the way: those are the only three wins by a son-coached-team over a father-coached-team in major sports history.)
Justin Timberlake: FutureSexLoveShow, HBO, 9 pm: Not to rain on anyone's parade here -- I mean, heck, I'll watch this, too. But the Prince rip-off has gone on for far too long. Anyone remember a little album called Lovesexy? Or the spectacularly-titled single Anotherloverholenyohead?
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 4
Say Anything, FM, 6 pm: Best rationale for pursuing a career in kickboxing ever: "I don't want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don't want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed."
Dale, CMT, 8 pm:The Story of The Intimidator, as told by Paul Newman.
Biggest Loser: Did They Keep the Weight Off?, NBC, 9 pm: From the people who brought you Survivor Reunion: Did They Miraculously Become Less Callous, Self-Obsessed Jerks?
The Contender: Season Three, ESPN2, 10 pm: What's not to like in this premier? Same kick-ass show, same "16 dudes box for a million bucks" format, same hosts and -- wait... I don't see Slyvester Stallone's name anywhere. I can think of about 30 reasons why ESPN would have cut ties with Sly (life goes on without his once-every-10-seconds reaction shots), so I'm not even going to bother asking. Let's just assume things will be that much better.
Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team 2, CMT, 10 pm:Making the Band minus Diddy and Farnsworth, plus bedazzled skirts and gorgeous gams.
Hey Rookie, Welcome to the NFL, ESPN2, 11 pm: Whereas following a struggling fourth-round draft selection might provide more drama, ESPN traditionally takes the easy route on this show, tailing guys like Vince Young, Byron Leftwich and Matt Leinart in the past. Nothing new this year. We get to see sure-things Adrian Peterson, Amobi Okoye and Ted Ginn Jr. on draft day and at training camp, which makes it a poor man's Hard Knocks.
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 5
One Day in September, ESPN Classic, 8 pm: This Michael Douglas-narrated, Oscar-winning doc about a terrorist attack at the Munich Olympics is probably what Steven Spielberg was going for in Munich. He missed wildly.
Costas Now, HBO, 9 pm: The little guy dishes with LT, Roger Goodell, Gene Upshaw and Earl Campbell.
Invincible, Starz, 9 pm: Never has there been a better example of one last scene saving a movie. And never has it come this late in the movie. Stick around for all 105 minutes, well past the climactic Marky Mark finale.
Hard Knocks, HBO, 10 pm: Last week, we were teased by a few moments with Director of Pro Personnel Ray Farmer, the man who has to wittle the Chiefs' roster down to 53. (His tete-a-tete with Rod Gardner was one for the ages.) This week, we should get far more, as there's still plenty of fat-cutting to do.
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 6
Seinfeld, TBS, 6:30 pm: "The Face Painter," or as you're more likely to know it: The one where Puddy turns out to be a freakish sports fan, George waffles on saying "I love you," and Kramer tangles with a chimp.
NFL Opening Kickoff, NBC, 8 pm: Before we get things going, a quick reminder that John Mellencamp's Our Country isn't going away anytime soon. The Hoosier native performs pre-game, as does Faith Hill, who penned NBC's new football anthem, Waiting All Day For Sunday Night. Afterwards, some actual football: Saints at Colts.
DC United at Chivas USA, ESPN2, 10:30 pm: MLS brass can only hope and pray that in the 310 minutes David Beckham had fans' attentions people saw something they liked -- like these two top Cup contenders. United won a close match 2-1 back in May.
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 7
Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinement, ESPN Classic, 7:30 pm: Inductions for Phil Jackson, Van Chancellor and Roy Williams, plus the 1966 Texas Western team. Afterward, re-familiarize yourself with that Texas Western team by watching the '66 NCAA Championship game, which airs at 10 pm.
Trapped in the Closet: Chapters 13-22, IFC, 9 pm: How the second installment of R. Kelly's rap opera ended up on the typically high-brow IFC, we may never know. If you like it, then check out Jimmy Kimmel's hilarious six-part send-off (replete with Mike Tyson cameo), titled Pizza, here.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 8
Ocean's Eleven, TNT, 8 pm: Good movie? Not at all. Entirely amusing movie worth lounging around in front of while dinner simmers and the curling iron warms? Absolutely.
Virginia Tech at LSU, ESPN, 9:15 pm: So go the early weeks of the college football season: Only two games this week feature ranked opponents against each other. This is the better (TCU-Texas is at 7 pm) of the match-ups. Whoever loses has some serious catching up to do.
Saturday Night Live, NBC, 11:30 pm:Peyton Manning hosts this rerun (make sure to catch his spoofing of a slow extra in the movie 300) and he's arguably the best athlete ever to do so. Who's better? Jordan? Nope. Gretzky? Nah... LeBron gets next crack at the title in three weeks; he'll host the season premier with Rilo Kiley.
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 9
The Big Green, AMC Family, 12 pm: Big fat freckled catcher from The Sandlot plays big fat freckled soccer goalie. Steve Guttenberg tags along for the ride.
Patriots at Jets, CBS, 1 pm: All sorts of divisional fun in Week 1, including Part III of the Belichini Grudge Match. Much like a Pixaar movie, make sure to stick around for the credits. Do they shake hands? Or don't they?!?!
Chicago at San Diego, Fox, 4:15 pm:Merriman-Benson. Tomlinson-Harris. Rivers-Urlacher. Merriman-Grossman... And so on. Can you imagine a better array of Week 1 match-ups than these? Doubt it.