According to ABC, Super Bowl XXXIV is expected to draw a domestic audience of 130 million. Facing ratings annihilation, some other networks have already surrendered (NBC, The Beautician and the Beast, 9 p.m.), while others are fighting back with thematic counterprogramming. Here's our survey of Super Sunday viewing alternatives, rated on a scale of I (don't bother) to X (a good choice if the pregame show or game is a dog).
Matlock marathon (TBS, 24 hours, beginning at 6 a.m.): "For years The Andy Griffith Show was our man of steel on Super Bowl Sunday," says TBS vice president of programming Bill Cox. Unfortunately for TBS, it no longer owns that show. Mayberry mavens, take note: Don Knotts guests on the 8 p.m. Matlock episode as a murder suspect. Fer cryin' out loud, Andy! Rating: VII.
Behind the Music marathon (VH-1, 11 a.m. to 2:30 a.m.): We'll name the trauma, you guess the artist or artists (answers follow): 1) Andre Rison's inferno, 2) bus crash, 3) Reuben Kincaid, 4) death of disco, 5) stage fright & postpartum depression, 6) orphaned, 7) former hubby skis into tree and 8) Shanghai Surprise. (1 TLC, 2 Gloria Estefan, 3 Partridge Family, 4 Donna Summer, 5 Donny & Marie, 6 Shania Twain, 7 Cher, 8 Madonna.) Rating: V(H)I.
Murder, She Wrote marathon (A & E, noon to 4 a.m.): Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury, left) will battle Matlock for the AARP crowd. In the 6 p.m. episode, "Another Killing in Cork," a corpse is found in the wishing well of a character named Tom Dempsey, who does not kick a 63-yard field goal. Rating: VI.
The Big Game: Roadrunner vs. Coyote (Cartoon Network, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.): This is a Spinal Tap trip, using vintage Roadrunner cartoon clips, around the Super Bowl's bloated artifice. HBO's Inside the NFL crew of Len Dawson, Nick Buoniconti and Cris Collinsworth plays it over the top (Jerry Glanville is his usual self) during the Slate Rock & Quarry Pregame Show. CNN's Jim Huber investigates Wile E. Coyote's endorsement deal with ACME. Rating: A Nigel Tufnel-worthy XI.
Brady marathon (Family Channel, 2 p.m. to midnight): Here's the story. These aren't Brady Bunch episodes but low-quality, post-series so-called specials, which lack the sitcom's, shall we say, Wesson-ality. Rating: II.
American Drinks: History in a Glass and American Eats: History on a Bun (History Channel, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.): Followed, we presume, by American Indigestion: History on the John. Rating: VI.
The Silence of the Lambs (Lifetime, 7:30 p.m.): What would Super Bowl Sunday be without a woebegone Buffalo Bill? This one also loses, on a last-second shot by FBI agent Clarice Starling that isn't wide right. Rating: IX.
The Sopranos (HBO, 10 p.m.): To stay with the Vince Lombardi Trophy presentation or tune in to this acclaimed series? Either way, you'll get a slice of New Jersey. Rating: VIII.