Tune in Tonight: The CMAs, back to high school and ‘The Buccaneers’

I’m so confused. Why is Peyton Manning, a very good quarterback and a seemingly nice guy, co-hosting the 57th Annual CMA Awards (8 p.m., ABC, TV-PG)? Apparently, he broke into song at the 2016 CMAs. But does that make him a musician?

The festivities are co-hosted by Luke Bryan, who has some 10 albums under his belt. Joining them from the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville are performers Jelly Roll, K. Michelle, Little Big Town, Megan Moroney, Old Dominion and Carly Pearce.

— Filmmaker Cecilia Aldarondo takes viewers on a trip to her Florida high school reunion and revisits some of the agonies of her 1990s adolescence in the 2023 documentary “You Were My First Boyfriend” (9 p.m., HBO, TV-PG).

The director quickly establishes a tone that some may see as self-important and indulgent. Her classmates are often described and dismissed as the sources of her personal anguish. Perhaps they were.

One of the solaces of growing up is realizing that other people may have problems of their own and that the classmates you saw as perfect, cruel or vapid may have been experiencing inner terrors and turmoil that you could only dimly imagine at 16. But realizing that requires what Bill Maher used to describe as the act of “getting over yourself.”

There’s a reason why movies about adults returning to high school years (like Francis Ford Coppola’s “Peggy Sue Got Married”) or little kids becoming adults (like Penny Marshall’s “Big”) are handled as fantasy and even farce. Approaching the theme straight can seem tragic and more than a little sad.

— Apple TV+ streams the miniseries adaptation of “The Buccaneers,” the second TV adaptation of Edith Wharton’s last, unfinished novel. Set in the 1870s, it follows a group of wealthy young American society women as they search for titled husbands in England and Europe. Fans of “Downton Abbey” recall that Elizbeth McGovern’s character Cora was a rich American whose family money basically subsidized the whole estate. Her marriage to Robert (Hugh Bonneville) in the 1890s pretty much mirrors the themes of “The Buccaneers.”

Sadly, this adaptation is the latest well-costumed and handsomely produced effort to follow the “Bridgerton” habit of color-blind casting, throwing all historical, social and political context out the window. I cannot abide a culture that asks us to believe that Black lives matter, but that Black history doesn’t.

“Downton” creator Julian Fellowes does a much better job of incorporating historical themes in the current HBO series “The Gilded Age.” That show, very much influenced by Wharton’s novels, has a Black main character, Peggy Scott (Denee Benton), who is well-aware of her place in 19th-century society, but is still three-dimensional and interesting.

Wharton’s novels were shot through with keen observations about society’s caste system and bigotries. In Wharton’s 1905 novel “The House of Mirth,” the heroine, Lily Bart, descends into poverty rather than be wooed by a wealthy Jewish businessman. That character may have influenced Fellowes’ creation of George Russell (Morgan Spector) in “The Gilded Age.

It’s absurd to produce a version of Wharton’s “Buccaneers” with wealthy Black heiresses wooing penniless European aristocrats. This is not a production of “The American Girl” doll collection. But I think that toy strives to be truer to history than “The Buccaneers.”


— Lester Holt, Kristen Welker and Hugh Hewitt moderate Republican presidential primary debate (8 p.m., NBC).

— “Spy in the Ocean: A Nature Miniseries” (8 p.m., PBS, TV-G, check local listings) captures sea creatures at play.

— “NOVA” (9 p.m., PBS, TV-PG, check local listings) reflects on China’s great tech leap forward.

— “Secrets of the Dead” (9 p.m., PBS, r, TV-PG, check local listings) decodes hieroglyphics.


A naive preppy (Beau Bridges) shocks his affluent family when he buys a brownstone in a run-down Brooklyn neighborhood in the 1970 comedy “The Landlord” (8 p.m., TCM, TV-MA). This puts him in contact with street-smart tenants and neighbors (Diana Sands, Pearl Bailey and Louis Gossett Jr.) who suspect he may represent a gentrification trend. Lee Grant also stars. “Landlord” marked the directorial debut of Hal Ashby, whose subsequent films, “Harold & Maude, “Shampoo,” “Coming Home,” “Bound for Glory” and “Being There” put him in the ranks of Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas, who were changing Hollywood in the 1970s.


“Survivor” (8 p.m., CBS, TV-14) … “The Masked Singer” (8 p.m., Fox, TV-PG) … “Snake Oil” (9 p.m., Fox, TV-PG) … “The Amazing Race” (9:30 p.m., CBS, TV-PG).


Jimmy Fallon welcomes Matt Rife and Black Pumas on “The Tonight Show” (11:35 p.m., NBC) … Leslie Jones, Judd Apatow, Rett Madison and Justin Faulkner visit “Late Night With Seth Meyers” (12:35 a.m., NBC).