Last week, nearly 4 million viewers tuned in to ”Popstars” to watch the WB unveil the five wannabe divas in a special one hour episode, and this Friday (8:30 p.m.), the staged but unscripted series follows the women as they move in together, choose a group name, and start working on an album. The chosen few — Ana Maria Lombo, 22, Maile Misajon, 24, Nicole Scherzinger, 22, Ivette Sosa, 24, and Rosanna Tavarez, 24 — practically double the number of women of color in prime time these days: They are three Latinas, one Filipina Hawaiian, and one Hawaiian. ”We thought about naming the band Chocolate or Brown Eyes,” Scherzinger tells EW.com. ”It was definitely amazing to find out that there wasn’t ‘the blonde’ and ‘the redhead.”’
Here’s EW.com’s guide to this week’s best sweeps offerings:
?THURSDAY, Feb. 22
”Super Size Comedy Night” (8 – 10 p.m., NBC)
In the last 40 minute installment of ”Friends,” Rachel teaches Ross’ son Ben how to play a practical joke on dad. Meanwhile, Monica and Chandler agree to have Joey officiate their wedding — if he passes an Internet ordination…. ”Will & Grace” (8:40 p.m.) gets into the act with its own expanded episode. Grace sees Will’s dad (actor – director Sydney Pollack) with an attractive woman (Lesley Ann Warren) who’s not his wife. On the super size ”Just Shoot Me” (9:20 p.m.), ”Freaks and Geeks” star Samm Levine plays a 13 year old who cons Nina into attending his bar mitzvah.
”Charmed” (9 p.m., the WB)
Piper hopes for a problem free wedding, but sister of the bride Prue wreaks havoc when her wild dreams somehow lead to a real life arrest. Appropriately, Prue is played by Shannen Doherty.
”Survivor: The Australian Outback” (8 p.m., CBS)
In the last official sweeps showdown between the Outback contestants and ”Friends,” the Kucha tribe resorts to Fox like fodder: catfights. Alicia (she of the rock hard abs), sick of feeling guilty about all the fresh killed pig meat she’s consumed, is pitted against confrontational vegetarian Kimmie.
?FRIDAY, Feb. 23
”Starship Troopers” (8 p.m., Fox)
Broadcast premiere of the ultraviolent 1997 sci fi movie that’s either a sly critique of fascism or a hearty celebration of Casper Van Dien’s dorsal and abdominal regions. You decide!
”American Masters: Ella Fitzgerald” (check your local listings, PBS)
Tony Bennett narrates this tribute to the First Lady of Song. Hey, if you’re going to stay home on Friday night, might as well learn something.
”Behind the Music: Ted Nugent” (9 p.m., VH1)
The Motor City Madman is actually a conservative, drug free guy whose only flaw is a habit of making disastrous business decisions. Oh, that and and a penchant for killing wild animals.
?SATURDAY, Feb. 24
”Boycott” (8 p.m., HBO)
In this docudrama about the massive 1955 bus boycott in Alabama, ”Shaft” star Jeffrey Wright plays the young Martin Luther King, Jr. and Terrence Howard (”Big Momma’s House”) is Ralph Abernathy. Too bad the rest of the networks forgot it’s Black History Month.
”Kate Brasher” (9 p.m., CBS)
Series Debut. Mary Stuart Masterson stars as a single mother working at a community advocacy center run by Rhea Perlman and Hector Elizondo. CBS calls it an ”inspirational family drama” — in other words, time to check out what’s on cable.
”America’s Most Wanted” (9 p.m., Fox).
The reality series, now in its 13th year, is on a roll: Host John Walsh and company helped catch the Texas Seven prison escapees, and this week, fans help nab a fugitive who’d been featured solely on the show’s website.
?SUNDAY, Feb. 25
”King of the Hill” (7:30 p.m., Fox)
On the series’ 100th episode, Hank and Peggy take in Strickland Propane’s newest temp (voiced by Renée Zellweger), who turns out to be a prostitute. Then her pimp (Bigg Snoop Dogg — a.k.a. the artist formerly known as Snoop Doggy Dogg) shows up looking for her.
”Life With Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows” (9 p.m., ABC)
Based on Lorna Luft’s memoir, this critically hailed mini follows the tumultuous life of Judy Garland. EW’s Ken Tucker says Judy Davis (”Husbands and Wives”) is extraordinary as the inimitable (well, except by drag queens) entertainer. Concludes Monday, Feb. 26.
”Oz” (10 p.m., HBO)
Season Finale. Schillinger worries about Beecher getting parole, Said confronts a past crime, and Luke Perry’s preacher character Jeremiah is disgraced. (Omigod — it’s Dylan nekkid!)
?MONDAY, Feb. 26
”King of Queens” (8 p.m., CBS)
Pat Sajak and Vanna White alert! After Doug lies to Carrie, he dreams they are on various TV shows, including ”The Honeymooners,” ”The Young and the Restless,” and ”Wheel of Fortune.”
It’s ”The Jeffersons” night on UPN (8:30-9:30 p.m.)
First, Isabel Sanford, a.k.a. Weezie, plays Nikki’s grandma on ”The Parkers” (8:30 p.m.). Then, Marla Gibbs (Florence) reprises her recurring role as Darryl’s mama on ”The Hughleys” (9 p.m.) Sherman Hemsley was apparently unavailable.
”Ally McBeal” (9 p.m., Fox)
We always knew Ally was the nervous type, but now she’s got TWO therapists: ”Cheers” vet Rhea Perlman, and Fred Willard from ”Best in Show.”
?TUESDAY, Feb. 27
”Frasier” (8 p.m., NBC)
It’s guys night out with dad, so Frasier and Niles attend a Sonics game, where the unathletic Niles is chosen to shoot the prize winning basket during half time.
”Buffy” / ”Angel” (8 – 10 p.m., the WB)
The Slayer is shocked by the sudden death of a loved one, while Angel — entangled once more with evil Darla (Julie Benz) — craves forgiveness. Again.
”NOVA: The Cancer Warrior” (check local listings, PBS)
Can a TV show save your life? In this gripping science docu, Dr. Judah Folkman tirelessly dukes it out with the Big C. Simultaneously webcast on Nova’s website.
?WEDNESDAY, Feb. 28
”The Mole” (8 p.m., ABC)
Series Finale. Who is the Mole? More importantly, will dour yet smoldering host Anderson Cooper ever crack a smile?
”Some of My Best Friends” (8:30 p.m., CBS)
Series Debut. Based on the indie movie ”Kiss Me, Guido,” this stereotype lovin’ sitcom casts Jason Bateman as a gay New Yorker who ends up with a naïve, straight Italian stallion (Danny Nucci, ”Titanic”) roommate.
”Temptation Island” (9 p.m., CBS)
Series Finale. Last chance to find out what happens when committed but unmarried couples cut loose on a tropical island swarming with scantily clad singles with just one thing on their minds: how they’re going break into the entertainment business.