This is not going to go down as one of the classic seasons of Saturday Night Live, but give Lorne Michaels and Co. credit for taking outside advice and creating May's biggest publicity stunt that doesn't take place on a time-traveling island. A Facebook campaign to get 88-year-old Betty White onto SNL as a host bore fruit when the show extended the invitation several weeks ago. So even though most of her contemporaries will have long since gone to bed, White will be helming the Mother's Day episode (NBC, Saturday 11:30 p.m).
White has never really stopped working, but the last few years have seen a revival of interest in the star best known for The Golden Girls and The Mary Tyler Moore Show. While it's unknown what she will be doing on SNL, or if she will be able to handle the workload of a typical host, you can't rule out something totally raunchy and inappropriate. White is going to have some assistance also, as several female former SNL cast members are slated to put in Mother's Day weekend appearances on the show. Another old school figure, Jay-Z, will serve as musical guest.
Also this week:
Monday: Real Housewives of New Jersey (Bravo, 10 p.m.): Hold on to your place settings! The loudest Housewives show returns for its second season with Danielle trying to re-establish some semblance of a good name, even though Caroline has pointedly refused to include her as part of the fundraiser she is planning. And Jacqueline, who really wasn't that interesting last year, tries to stay relevant by having a baby.
Tuesday: The Good Wife (CBS, 10 p.m.): Peter carelessly activates his electronic monitor, which prompts the kids to come up with a cover story good enough so that he won't be returned to prison. Ah, young liars. I'm not sure who will be more proud: their politician dad or their attorney mom.
Wednesday: The Middle (ABC, 8:30 p.m.): As someone who grew up with occasionally histrionic younger sisters, I find myself amused by almost everything Sue (Eden Sher) does on this show. This week, Sue has a crisis of conscience after stealing a motivational magnet from a store. Also, Frankie and her visiting mother (Marsha Mason) both feel less than honored on Mother's Day.
Thursday: Fringe (Fox, 9 p.m.): A figure from the second universe hops over to our side. In less thrilling news, Peter stumbles into a murder investigation in a small town that seems to have many attributes of a Fringe-y case. The cool thing here is that Martha Plimpton plays the sheriff that Peter assists. When did she get old enough to be a believable sheriff? This confuses me.
Friday: Friday Night Lights (NBC, 8 p.m.): The fourth season makes its NBC debut after DirecTV customers got first dibs last fall. Coach Taylor adapts to his seemingly second rate new job, while Tami, still the principal at the old Dillon High, steps on some powerful toes. Meanwhile, ex-high schoolers Matt and Tim both adjust in their own ways to the loss of their hometown hero statuses.
Sunday: The Amazing Race (CBS, 8 p.m.): On paper, these are some of the most colorful finalists the show has had of late, but maybe TAR has been around so long now that it's hard to muster up the old excitement. Season 16 concludes with the traditional trans-Pacific flight and some tasking in San Francisco, where we can assume the cowboy brothers will wind up beating the models and the other brothers.