Like many, I was pretty shocked to hear about the death of Whitney Houston this weekend. Well, shocked might not be the right word, since anyone who’s been aware of her for the past few years knows she’s had her issues with drugs. But still, when the end result turns out to be pretty much exactly how a worst-case-scenario would turn out, it’s almost too perfectly awful an end, that it just doesn’t seem real.
I bring it up because her death will likely affect some television offerings this week, and in fact, as I write this on Sunday night, I am waiting to see how the Grammys choose to deal with the news.
I can’t imagine tonight’s airing of “The BET Honors” won’t include something mentioning Houston, but it likely won’t be much since the actual show was taped back in January. The honorees include Stevie Wonder, Mariah Carey, Maya Angelou, and Spike Lee. It airs on BET at 9 P.M.
On Tuesday, February 14th, Black History Month will be honored on PBS, with an airing of Göran Hugo Olsson’s documentary The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975, a look at the 1960s and 70s black power movement as seen through the eyes of a group of Swedish television journalists. It includes interviews with Angela Davis, Eldridge Cleaver, and Stokely Carmichael. Watch its “Independent Lens” presentation at 10:30 P.M. on KQEH channel ten.
Over on KQED channel nine at 10 P.M. “Frontline” is presenting The Interrupters, the acclaimed documentary by Hoop Dreams director Steve James which follows three “violence interrupters” in Chicago as they try to stop the cycle of violence that has plagued their community.
Lest we forget, the 14th is also Valentine’s Day, and I can’t think of a sweeter gift than the return–at long last!–of “Cougar Town” to the airwaves. It’s on at 8:30 P.M. on ABC.
On Wednesday, February 15th, Elisabeth Shue joins “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” thus continuing the tradition of well known actors deciding they’d like to perform next to eviscerated corpses on this show for a while. Watch it at 10 P.M. on CBS, following the premiere of yet another season of “Survivor,” at 9 P.M.
Getting back to Whitney Houston, on Friday, February 17th,“The 43rd NAACP Image Awards” will air on NBC at 8 P.M., and there’s no way that evening is going to pass without some kind of tribute, combined with lots of tears.
On Saturday, February 18th, Maya Rudolph will host “Saturday Night Live,” which is a weird bit of coincidence, since her frequent impersonations of Whitney Houston have always been comedic gold. Will enough time have passed by then for her to maybe do a little Houston in heaven bit? 11:30 P.M. on NBC.
Finally, Sunday, February 19th brings us both the sublime, and the ridiculous.
The sublime is the finale of season two of “Downton Abbey,” although technically, this is not the season finale, but the special Christmas episode that aired in the U.K. back in December. (But fret not! There will be more “Downton” to come, as season three began shooting this month.) 9 P.M. on KQED channel nine.
Bordering between the sublime and the ridiculous is a new season of “The Amazing Race” at 8 P.M. on CBS. One can just never tell how a season will pan out, but being that one pair of racers is Brendon and Rachel of “Big Brother” notoriety, I think we can guess where this season’s going.
And in the completely ridiculous category we have “The Celebrity Apprentice” at 9 P.M. on NBC. This season’s “celebs” include Arsenio Hall, Adam Carolla, Debbie Gibson, George Takei, Penn Jillette, and a bunch of other famous people who should really know better.