12:00pm PT by Rick Porter
This Week in TV: NFL Kicks Off, 'Woke,' 'American Ninja Warrior'
The biggest thing on network TV returns in the week of Sept. 7: The NFL begins its season with a primetime game on Thursday and a full slate of Sunday matchups. The week also brings a new comedy to Hulu, pair of timely documentaries on Peacock and new seasons of several veteran unscripted shows.
Here is The Hollywood Reporter's rundown of some of the coming week's highlights. It would be next to impossible to watch everything, but let THR point the way to worthy options each week. All times are ET/PT unless noted.
The Big Show
The NFL got rid of its preseason schedule as a precaution against the coronavirus pandemic, and 66 players across the league have opted out of the season out of concerns for their health or the health of people close to them. But the season is still on track to begin Thursday, with a primetime game between the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans. It's scheduled for 8:20 p.m. ET/5:20 p.m. PT on NBC.
A full set of Sunday afternoon games on CBS and Fox follow on Sept. 13, capped off with the opening of Los Angeles' SoFi Stadium as the Rams host the Dallas Cowboys in primetime on NBC. For audience-starved broadcasters, the games arrive not a moment too soon.
Also on broadcast …
The 12th season of American Ninja Warrior (8 p.m. Monday, NBC) was filmed entirely at a domed stadium in St. Louis, featuring a pared-down format in light of the pandemic. Daytime talkers Live With Kelly and Ryan (Monday, check local listings) and The View (11 a.m. Tuesday, ABC) begin new seasons. A second weekly edition of 48 Hours, subtitled Suspicion, helps CBS fill out its early fall schedule at 10 p.m. Wednesday.
On streaming …
New: Hulu's comedy Woke (Wednesday) stars Lamorne Morris (New Girl) as a cartoonist who prides himself on keeping things light — until a case of mistaken identity leads to police brutality and he's forced to confront injustices he's done his best to avoid. Producing director Mo Marable discussed the show on THR's TV's Top 5 podcast.
Also new: Documentary Black Boys (Thursday, Peacock) showcases the humanity of Black men and boys in America. Also Thursday, the streamer debuts The Sit-In, chronicling the week in 1968 when Harry Belafonte guest-hosted The Tonight Show and had Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. among his guests.
Additionally, Netflix helps people get organized in The Home Edit (Wednesday), debuts teen musical comedy Julie and the Phantoms (Thursday) and follows comedian Katherine Ryan in London-set comedy The Duchess (Friday).
On cable …
Special: HBO's satire Coastal Elites (8 p.m. Saturday) is a series of monologues — delivered by Bette Midler, Dan Levy, Sarah Paulson, Issa Rae and Kaitlyn Dever — from characters suffering Trump exhaustion. Paul Rudnick wrote the special, and Jay Roach directs.
New: BBC America brings a heavy dose of adorable with nature documentary Animal Babies (8 p.m. Saturday), chronicling the early days of critters in the wild.
Returning: The week brings new seasons of Life Below Zero (8 p.m. Monday, National Geographic), L.A.'s Finest (Wednesday, Spectrum Originals) and Brother vs. Brother (9 p.m. Wednesday, HGTV).
In case you missed it …
A comedic spin on The Purge, The Binge is set in a world where all drugs and alcohol are banned — except for one night each year. Three high school seniors go on a quest to get blotto, while trying to avoid their hyper-intense principal (Vince Vaughn). The movie is streaming on Hulu.