America’s biggest black icons—including President Obama—take the stage in D.C.

America’s biggest black icons—including President Obama—take the stage in D.C.

Also: Eleanor hatches a plan on The Good Place

Photo: Taking The Stage/ABC
Photo: Taking The Stage/ABC

Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Thursday, January 12. All times are Eastern.

Top picks

The Good Place (NBC, 8:30 p.m.): It was lovely to have The Good Place back last week after its long winter hiatus. And Dennis Perkins plans to soak up every moment of this show before it wraps up its first season with two final episodes next week. Tonight, Eleanor “hatches a plan” with Tahani while Chidi learns some “intriguing news.” Plus Michael makes a “stunning discovery,” which Dennis hopes will allow Ted Danson to do more of that delightfully confused acting he does so well.

Taking The Stage: African American Music And Stories That Changed America (ABC, 9 p.m.): Following his farewell speech on Tuesday, President Obama makes one more TV appearance on this ABC concert special. Filmed back in September at the opening of the Smithsonian’s National Museum Of African American History And Culture in Washington, D.C., the special features appearances from dozens of black performers and cultural icons. Plus Tom Hanks will be there too, for some reason. In addition to showcasing exhibits from the museum, Taking The Stage will feature songs, spoken word, dance, and appearances from the likes of Angela Bassett, Dave Chappelle, Savion Glover, Samuel L. Jackson, Quincy Jones, Rashida Jones, Elijah Kelley, Janelle Monáe, Jada Pinkett Smith, Will Smith, Octavia Spencer, Chris Tucker, Jesse Williams, Oprah Winfrey, Stevie Wonder, and many more.

Colony (USA, 10 p.m.): Remember the show where Sawyer from Lost and Lori from The Walking Dead are a married couple living under authoritarian rule? Also there are aliens? Well, it’s back for a second season. In Colony’s season-two premiere, Will and Katie struggle to hold their family together; Broussard returns home; and Snyder receives a job offer from a mysterious source. Enjoy Colony as either escapist sci-fi and/or a terrifying glimpse into America’s future.

Premieres and finales

Mad Families (Crackle, 3 a.m.): This latest Crackle original is technically a movie, but since the distinction among movie, TV show, and TV movie is becoming slimmer and slimmer these days, we’re highlighting it here anyway. Charlie Sheen, Leah Remini, and Glee’s Naya Rivera star in this comedy about three very different families—one white, one black, and one Hispanic—who wind up booked in the same campsite on Fourth Of July weekend and decide to compete against one another to determine who gets to stay. And, no, we promise we didn’t just come up with that description in Mad Libs.

Great American Baking Show (ABC, 8 p.m.): While it could never fully replicate the pure sugary joy that is The Great British Bake-Off, ABC’s American version of the series isn’t half bad either. Particularly in this second season, which has settled into a comfortable groove. In tonight’s season finale, one competitor is officially named America’s Best Amateur Baker. And hopefully Mary Berry will say “scrummy” one last time, too.

Revenge Body (E!, 8 p.m.): Both the black sheep and the best of the Kardashian clan, Khloé launches yet another spin-off of E!’s Keeping Up With The Kardashians behemoth. This one is a weight-loss series in which a newly svelte Khloé helps people get in shape in order to get “revenge” on the people who have wronged them.

My Kitchen Rules (Fox, 9 p.m.): We’ve cycled through plenty of permutations of celebrity cooking competitions in the past, but this one has a simple logline: “Celebrity duos critique each other’s food at intimate dinner parties.” The premiere seems to have a family theme, as siblings Brandy and Ray J prepare a “challenging meal” before mother-son duo Diane and Lance Bass whip up a “southern feast.” Other celebrities (and the show is clearly using that word lightly) involved in the ongoing competition include Andrew Dice Clay, Naomi Judd, and Real Housewives star Brandi Glanville.

Caraoke Showdown (Spike TV, 10:30 p.m.): James Corden has successfully brainwashed the country into thinking that people singing in their cars is the most delightful thing in the world. And now Spike is all set to capitalize on the “Carpool Karaoke” phenomenon with this new series hosted by Craig Robinson. Only here it’s also got a Cash Cab twist: Robinson picks up unsuspecting passengers, and they have to sing for cash prizes. In other words, it’s “Carpool Karaoke “without the celebrity element that makes that segment appealing in the first place.

Regular Coverage

Top Chef (Bravo, 9 p.m.)

Portlandia (IFC, 10 p.m.)

Streaming pick

“Carpool Karaoke,” “Stevie Wonder” (YouTube): In honor of both Stevie Wonder’s performance in Taking The Stage and the premiere of Caraoke Showdown, we’re flashing back to Wonder’s installment of “Carpool Karaoke.” Because, yes, even we aren’t cynical enough to be immune to the joy of watching Stevie Wonder banter with James Corden while singing in a car.

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