Many of you will be rolling out the kegs and cold-cut platters on Sunday morning, in preparation for ABC’s telecast of Super Bowl XL in Detroit. Football fanatics should take their positions on their respective La-Z-Boys for the comprehensive coverage that kicks off at 2:30 p.m., while casual observers will probably wait till 5:38, starting time for a Motown-tastic pre-game concert starring Stevie Wonder, John Legend, Joss Stone, and India.Arie. The actual skirmish between the Seattle Seahawks and the Pittsburgh Steelers is expected to start around 6 p.m., but not before hometown diva Aretha Franklin most likely makes you forget all previous versions of the National Anthem, mmmkay?
If you’re not big on sports, but want to tune back in for the Rolling Stones’ halftime show, be sure to switch back to ABC around 8 p.m. Mick, Keith & Co. (pictured) said in a press conference yesterday they’re not sure what they’ll be singing, but given the NFL’s veto power over their set list, you can rule out anything sexually suggestive or controversial (like the recent anti-Bush anthem, ”Sweet Neo Con”).
A caveat, however, for pop-culture junkies who find that watching players pass the pigskin makes them feel emotionally dead: Don’t forget the Super Bowl tradition of companies premiering ambitious, big-budget (and sometimes highly entertaining) ads: Celebrity shillers will include Diddy and Jackie Chan (Pepsi); Jay Mohr (Diet Pepsi); Cedric the Entertainer (Bud Light); Rachel Hunter and Jadakiss (Cadillac); Kathy Griffin (Sierra Mist); Fabio (Nationwide Insurance); Richard Dean Anderson, in character as MacGyver (MasterCard); Leonard Nimoy (Aleve); and Kermit the Frog (Ford). New spots for upcoming movies will include Mission: Impossible III and The Shaggy Dog. And if said ads are the whole reason you’re staying home Sunday night, check out Super Bowl’s Greatest Commercials (Saturday, 8-9 p.m., CBS).
Finally, when the game’s over, ABC will present a special ”Code Black” episode of Grey’s Anatomy, with guest star Christina Ricci. What the heck is ”Code Black”? That’s what we’re wondering.
Other entertainment options for folks who’ll be retreating to non-football zones this weekend:
-Steve Martin is hosting Saturday Night Live for a record 14th time, with musical guest Prince and Maya Rudolph returning from maternity leave. (Saturday, 11:35 p.m., NBC).
-Clever Super Bowl counterprogramming can be found on several networks: Bravo’s got Liza Minnelli on Inside the Actors Studio (9pm); Animal Planet has (awwww!) Puppy Bowl II (3-6 pm); and Lifetime has the series finale of Strong Medicine (9 p.m.).
-The ultimate non-football DVD rental this weekend, meanwhile, has got to be estrogen-rich In Her Shoes (EW gives it a B-).
That said, no matter how you choose to spend your weekend, remember this, my friends: No Glutton Bowl is complete without Chicken in a Biskit.