Cupid isn’t the only one under pressure in February. For the next four weeks, the networks flash their wildest cards — Playboy bunnies on ”Fear Factor,” teen drunks on ”7th Heaven” — hoping to see their Nielsens soar. And whereas Cupid is motivated by love, TV programmers are driven by the dollar. Their ratings between Jan. 31 and Feb. 27 are pretty much their calling card to advertisers. If the numbers ain’t high, the sponsors won’t buy.
But how to separate the good shows from the bad and the just plain ugly? That’s where we come in. Read on for our guide to the see-worthy sweeps events, which we’ll update every week. Now the only thing you still have to sweat is Valentines Day.
Friday, Feb. 1
”Super Bowl’s Greatest Commercials Part II” (8 p.m., CBS)
I don’t remember who won the Super Bowl in ’84. But I’ll never forget the first time that Wendy’s ”Where’s the Beef?” ad went on the air. Host Mike O’Malley takes you through 30 years of commercials that actually did live up to all the hype.
”Behind the Music: Motley Crue” (8 p.m., VH1)
Because you can never know too much abut Nikki Sixx’s love-hate relationship with heroin.
”Friday Night Superbowl Bash” (10 p.m., CBS)
Rebecca Romijn-Stamos is everywhere these days, so it’s no wonder the ”Rollerball” queen will be hosting this concert featuring No Doubt and Sting at the New Orleans Arena.
”Emeril’s Big Easy Bash” (9 p.m., Food Network)
Back where he belongs, Emeril Lagasse will whet appetites all across America as he tours New Orleans’ most famed restaurants. And then he’ll run down a list of Super Bowl Sunday must-eats that you can probably score at the 7-11.
Saturday, Feb. 2
”America’s Most Wanted” (9 p.m., Fox)
Pranksters, tune in. Leaving no sweeps stone unturned, Fox presents a Super Bowl-themed episode that details the elaborate security measures in effect for tomorrow’s big game.
”Fake ID Jr.” (8 p.m., MTV)
Michael Jackson’s second favorite kid-wonder (next to Billy Gilman), Aaron Carter is just one of the ‘tweentastic performers featured in this roundup of shortie stars.
”Saturday Night Live” (11:30 p.m., NBC)
Hey, it’s cheaper — and perhaps less embarrassing — than going to see ”Crossroads.” Britney Spears may not be a girl or a woman but she most certainly is hosting ”SNL” tonight. And Jimmy Fallon and Tina Fey were so busy rehearsing that they were forced to cancel a midweek appearance at a promotional event for ”The Chris Farley Show.” Let’s hope their hard work pays off.