Sunday, May 25th
National Memorial Day Concert, special from 8 to 9:30pm on PBS
– Not feeling like the beach? Check out the 25th annual D.C. event, with live acts like the National Symphony Orchestra and Megan Hilty.
The Normal Heart, original movie premiere at 9pm on HBO
– Academy Award nominee Mark Ruffalo, Matt Bomer, Taylor Kitsch, Emmy winner Jim Parsons and Academy Award winner Julia Roberts star in The Normal Heart. Directed by Emmy winner Ryan Murphy, the drama tells the story of the onset of the HIV-AIDS crisis in New York City in the early 1980s, taking an unflinching look at the nation’s sexual politics as gay activists and their allies in the medical community fight to expose the truth about the burgeoning epidemic to a city and nation in denial. Ruffalo portrays Ned Weeks, who witnesses first-hand a mysterious disease that has begun to claim the lives of many in his gay community and starts to seek answers. Matt Bomer plays Felix Turner, a reporter who becomes Ned’s lover. Taylor Kitsch plays Bruce Niles, a closeted investment banker who becomes a prominent AIDS activist. Jim Parsons plays gay activist Tommy Boatwright, reprising his role from the 2011 Broadway revival. Roberts plays physician Dr. Emma Brookner, a survivor of childhood polio who treats several of the earliest victims of HIV-AIDS.
Monday, May 26th
Masterchef, season premiere at 8pm on FOX
– Host and award-winning chef Gordon Ramsay, restaurateur Joe Bastianich and acclaimed chef Graham Elliot return for Season Five of the culinary smash hit Masterchef. The three celebrated food experts will put the latest group of contestants through a series of challenging elimination rounds and turn one home cook into a culinary master. The unscripted series once again will conduct a nationwide search for the best home cooks in America, thirty of which will be flown to Los Angeles to present their signature dishes to the judges in hopes of earning a coveted Masterchef apron. Once the auditions are over, the top home cooks will be put through their paces in a series of challenges designed to test their palates, food knowledge, passion and culinary skills. With each new challenge, the pressure will mount as the home cooks compete for the coveted title of Masterchef, a cookbook deal and the $250,000 grand prize.
Petals on the Wind, original movie premiere at 9pm on Lifetime
– On the heels of the hit Lifetime original movie “Flowers in the Attic,” comes the much-anticipated sequel. A decade after Cathy (Rose McIver, Masters of Sex, Once Upon a Time), Christopher (Wyatt Nash, Pretty Little Liars) and Carrie (“Bailey Buntain”, Bunheads) escaped from their grandparents’ attic at Foxworth Hall, “Petals on the Wind” continues to follow the twisted plight of the family as they attempt to put their sordid past behind them, but soon discover certain secrets can’t be left behind. When Cathy finds herself in an abusive relationship with a fellow dancer, Julian (Will Kemp, 90210), Christopher and Cathy are forced to face the forbidden feelings they developed for one another while coming of age during captivity. But when tragedy strikes the Dollangangers once again, Cathy returns to Foxworth Hall to confront her grandmother and seek revenge on her mother with a plan to seduce her husband Bart (Dylan Bruce, Orphan Black). When Christopher runs to Cathy’s side, the two are determined to start over again – together.
American Ninja Warrior, 2-hour season premiere at 9pm on NBC
– Everyone’s favorite heart-racing obstacle course competition series returns for its sixth season. Matt Iseman returns as host, along with former NFL player Akbar Gbaja-Biamila (NFL Network). Jenn Brown (NFL Network) serves as co-host. The action-packed premiere follows competitors as they tackle a series of challenging obstacle courses in both qualifying and finals rounds across the country. Those that successfully complete a course in their designated region will move on to the national finals round in Las Vegas, where they face a stunning four-stage course modeled after the famed Mt. Midoriyama in Japan. This season, the series will travel to five cities in search of the ultimate athlete – Los Angeles, Dallas, St. Louis, Miami and Denver – before heading to Las Vegas. Men and women from all walks of life will vie for the title of American Ninja Warrior, including school teachers and firemen, current and former members of the military, amateur sports enthusiasts and even a few Olympic gold medalists. In order to guarantee a spot in the national finals, competitors must successfully complete the finals course in their respective city. From there, competitors will travel to Las Vegas and earn the chance to win the title of American Ninja Warrior, along with the $500,000 grand prize.
The World Wars, 2-hour miniseries premiere at 9pm on History
– An assassination in Sarajevo sparks a global war. For the next 30 years, deadly fighting rages across Europe, Africa, China and the Pacific. Hitler. Churchill. De Gaulle. MacArthur. Patton. Stalin. Mussolini. We know them as legends. But they first learn what it will take to rise to greatness as young soldiers, fighting for their lives on the frontlines. This is the story of a generation of men who come of age in the trenches of World War I, only to become the leaders of World War II. The lessons they learn on the frontlines shape them as they rise to power—and haunt them as the deadly fighting breaks out again. Some become heroes, forged in courage under fire. Others emerge as the most infamous villains the world has ever seen. Theirs is one story—the story of a 30-year global struggle. A fight that will either save the world—or destroy it. Narrated by two-time Oscar nominee Jeremy Renner (“The Hurt Locker”, “The Town”), this three-night event series features gripping dramatic scenes, stunning CGI visuals and interviews with contemporary leaders, including John McCain, Colin Powell, John Major and David Miliband, along with noted historians from around the world. The World Wars is a mini-series event that takes viewers on an epic and groundbreaking ride through the bloodiest century in history.
Tuesday, May 27th
America’s Got Talent, 2-hour season premiere at 10pm on NBC
– NBC’s top-rated summer series from producer Simon Cowell returns this summer with the hottest performers from across the country ready to compete in the blockbuster reality show’s ninth season. Howard Stern, Heidi Klum, Mel B and Howie Mandel return as judges and Nick Cannon returns as host. With the talent search open to acts of all ages, America’s Got Talent has brought the variety format back to the forefront of American culture by showcasing performers from across the country. The series is a true celebration of the American spirit, featuring a colorful array of singers, dancers, comedians, contortionists, impressionists, jugglers, magicians, ventriloquists and hopeful stars, all vying for their chance to win America’s hearts and the $1 million prize.
The Wil Wheaton Project, series premiere at 10pm on Syfy
– The Wil Wheaton Project is a weekly topical comedy show hosted by actor, blogger and champion of geek culture Wil Wheaton. The 30-minute show is a fast-paced, lighthearted exploration and celebration of all things within the realm of science fiction and genre entertainment. Each week, Wil provides his insider point-of-view, sense of humor and genre expertise as he dissects the week’s most popular and trending topics across science fiction film, television and pop culture, video games, viral videos and news. Wil is on his feet for the rapid-fire half hour, delivering witty commentary on the things he knows and loves in this golden age of sci-pop culture. The result is a fun appreciation and celebration of fandom and all things science fiction.
The Night Shift, series premiere at 10pm on NBC
– Welcome to the night shift, where the toughest and craziest cases always seem to come through the door. Every shift is a fight between the heroic efforts of saving lives and the hard truths of running an underfunded hospital. At San Antonio Memorial, the men and women who work the night shift are an irreverent and special breed, particularly adrenaline junkie TC Callahan (Eoin Macken, Merlin). After three grueling tours of duty in Afghanistan, TC is about to learn that his toughest battles will be fought right here at home. He and his irreverent team of late-night docs, including his best friend Topher (Ken Leung, Lost) and protégé Drew (Brendan Fehr, Roswell), know how to let off steam with the casual prank or two, but when lives are at stake, they are all business. New night shift boss – and TC’s ex-girlfriend – Dr. Jordan Alexander (Jill Flint, The Good Wife) struggles to keep everyone in check, but TC doesn’t make it easy. Paul (Robert Bailey Jr., “Coraline”) is fresh out of medical school and still adjusting to the rigors of an emergency room. Krista (Jeananne Goossen, Alcatraz), also a new intern, has something to prove, while Kenny (JR Lemon, “Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas”) is a seasoned nurse who keeps the doctors focused and isn’t afraid to break a few rules to get the job done. Meanwhile, Landry de la Cruz (Daniella Alonso, Revolution), the lone psychiatrist on the night shift, finds she has to tend to her colleagues as much as she cares for the patients on the ward. Unfortunately, the night shift is now under new senior management and boss Michael Ragosa (Freddy Rodriguez, Six Feet Under) has to balance the real-world pressures of cutting costs while battling the stigma that he is more interested in saving money than helping people.
Little Women: LA, series premiere at 10pm on Lifetime
– Lifetime’s new reality series chronicles the adventures of a unique group of smart, sexy and funny girlfriends with big hearts, big personalities and even bigger drama…who all happen to be little people. Little Women: LA invites viewers to walk in their shoes as they deal with relationships, parenting, careers and especially, the ups and downs of friendships. Each episode features longtime girlfriends Terra Jole, Tonya Banks, Elena Gant, Christy McGinity, Briana Manson and Traci Harrison. They laugh, cry, compete and fight with one another, but through it all they share a special unbreakable bond. And, while dealing with everyday challenges like the rest of the world, they prove that height is just a number. There’s nothing small about this loud and proud group who can teach us all a lesson or two about living life to the fullest.
Wednesday, May 28th
So You Think You Can Dance, 2-hour season premiere at 8pm on FOX
– My favorite summer series soars into its 11th season with a two-hour premiere event showcasing America’s most talented dancers during the audition rounds. Hosted by Cat Deeley and featuring resident judges Nigel Lythgoe and Mary Murphy, as well as guest judges, including Jenna Dewan-Tatum (Atlanta), Billy Porter and Misty Copeland (Philadelphia), Wayne Brady (New Orleans), Jenna Elfman and Fabrice Calmels (Chicago) and Christina Applegate (Los Angeles). The new season of the Emmy Award-nominated hit dance competition series once again will include awe-inspiring performances, as well as nail-biting eliminations, as the contestants compete to be named America’s Favorite Dancer. In Season 11, producers travel across the country in search of dancers who represent the best America has to offer. Callbacks are held in Los Angeles, where the dancers work with top choreographers to learn routines that they will perform for judges Lythgoe and Murphy, and guest judges Adam Shankman, Tara Lipinski, Stephen “tWitch” Boss and Irina Dvorovenko. Once the judges pick the Top 20 dancers, they turn it over to America. Each week, the dancers will be paired up to perform inspired pieces choreographed by some of the biggest names in the business. The following week, one male and one female dancer will be eliminated from the competition. To add some star power to the early episodes this season, Justin Bieber will introduce a “dance crews” component to the show, which will be separate from the usual competition.
Rogue, season premiere at 8pm on DirecTV
– Grace (Thandie Newton) has left her life as an undercover cop to be a better mother to her daughter. She’s recently separated from Tom and with the arrival of her estranged mother, she’s got plenty of drama at home. Grace’s new job as a handler for an FBI task force has her investigating corporate espionage in San Francisco. But when her undercover operative, Sarah, goes missing, Grace is forced to go back undercover to save her. That’s when she meets Ethan (Cole Hauser), the owner of the security consultancy Sarah investigated before disappearing. Grace looks to gain Ethan’s trust to learn what happened to Sarah, but Ethan has his own agenda. His close friend and business partner was murdered the night Sarah vanished. He’s determined to find who’s responsible—creating a dangerous game of cat and mouse. As Grace gets closer to Ethan, her feelings grow. But can she trust him?
Big Ballet, series premiere at 10pm on Ovation
– Ovation proudly presents Big Ballet, a three-part docu-series that chronicles the highs and lows of a plus-size amateur troupe mounting a production of Swan Lake. Led by ballet legend Wayne Sleep, who worked through his own size issues as the shortest dancer ever to debut on the Royal Ballet stage, and Prima Ballerina Monica Loughman, Big Ballet shows the world that it’s not about the size of the dancer, but the size of the dancer’s heart.
Thursday, May 29th
Undateable, series premiere at 10pm on NBC
– From Bill Lawrence, the creator of Scrubs, Undateable is a new comedy series about a group of friends who are this close to finding a relationship – they just need a little help. Whether it’s due to a lack of style, the wrong job or even just a bad haircut, everyone goes through a time in their lives when they’re undateable. Most of us eventually grow out of it, but some people need a little more help than others. Enter Danny Burton (Chris D’Elia, Whitney). Confident, attractive and impervious to outside opinions, 29-year-old Danny – who may be in a state of arrested development himself – decides to help out his new roommate, Justin Kearney (comedian Brent Morin), the owner of an unsuccessful bar and a chronic overthinker, and Justin’s group of oddball friends – Shelly (comedian Ron Funches), Burski (comedian Rick Glassman) and Brett (David Fynn, Game of Thrones). Danny introduces the gang to his recently divorced older sister, Leslie (Bianca Kajlich, Rules of Engagement), who immediately bonds with this group of guys, as she feels a little stuck in her own life as well. The gang spends most of their time at Justin’s bar, helping solve each other’s respective problems over beers, and while they love to give each other a hard time, they always have each other’s back.
The Sixties, miniseries premiere at 9pm on CNN
– The space race, the cold war, “free love,” civil rights and more: The decade of the 1960s shaped our history – and changed the world. In collaboration with Tom Hanks, Gary Goetzman and Mark Herzog, CNN explores perhaps the most transformative decade of the modern era in a 10-part documentary series and brings new insights into how those events shaped today.
Friday, May 30th
Crossbones, series premiere at 10pm on NBC
– From Neil Cross, the award-winning creator of Luther, comes Crossbones, a compelling new drama filled with extraordinary action, adventure and intrigue – set in a world where one can never be sure just who is hero and who is villain. It’s 1729. On the secret island of Santa Compana, Edward Teach, better known as the barbarous pirate Blackbeard (Emmy winner John Malkovich, “Death of a Salesman,” “Red”), reigns over a rogue nation of thieves, outlaws and miscreants. Part shantytown, part utopia, part marauder’s paradise, this is a place like no other. Blackbeard has designs on the longitude chronometer, an invention that will change the world. During a massive attack on an English vessel, his most trusted pirates attempt to steal the device. But on board is Tom Lowe (Richard Coyle, Covert Affairs), an English spy working undercover as ship’s surgeon. Lowe’s mission is to prevent the chronometer from falling into the hands of pirates – and to assassinate Blackbeard, should the opportunity arise. Taken as prisoner to Santa Compana, Lowe must find a way to reassemble the precious chronometer, all while trying to uncover Blackbeard’s master plan – a plan that includes a greater threat to the English throne than merely pirates…
Derek, season premiere streaming on Netflix
– A bittersweet comedy-drama about a group of outsiders living on society’s margins, Derek centers around Derek Noakes (Ricky Gervais), a tender, innocent man whose love for his job at a retirement home shines through,” according to an official description. Derek cares deeply for the home’s residents, because they are kind and funny and tell him stories of what life used to be like. The success of Gervais’ tales of a simpleton working at an old folks’ home depends on an impeccable balance in tone; without it, the misty-eyed optimism is just empty schmaltz.
Saturday, May 31st
2014 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, from 8 to 11pm on HBO
– Though only one woman entered the Hall of Fame this year, the ceremony was fully hijacked by ladies. The cavalcade of rock divas who filled in for the ill Linda Ronstadt (including Sheryl Crow and Stevie Nicks) bellowed and stomped through hits like ”You’re No Good”—and since inductees Nirvana were short one Kurt Cobain, a rotating cast of femmes fatales (Joan Jett, Kim Gordon, St. Vincent, and Lorde) howled through classics such as ”Smells Like Teen Spirit” and ”All Apologies.” As for the other newly inaugurated acts, Hall & Oates dealt buttery harmonies, Peter Gabriel delivered his still-joyous world-beat bonanza, and Kiss didn’t play at all—which is just as well, as this night belonged to the double-X-chromosome crew.
Billy Joel: The Bridge to Russia Concert, music special at 8pm on PBS
– Have a bottle of white, a bottle of red, and enjoy this throwback concert special featuring performances from Joel’s 1987 concerts in Russia.