By Kevin McDonough
"Great News" (9:30 p.m., NBC, TV-14) has returned for its second season. For the uninitiated or the many people who haven't seen it, it stars Briga Heelan as Katie Wendelson, a struggling TV news producer whose overbearing mother, Carol (Andrea Martin), gets a job at her network. This gives Carol a better place to meddle in her single daughter's love life and professional struggles. A little of that goes a long way, particularly because the great physical comedian Andrea Martin is so apt to go over-the-top.
As the sophomore season begins, "Great" has reined in the smothering mother aspect of the show, allowing Katie to follow other female mentors in the form of Tina Fey as the powerful female CEO and life expert Diana St. Tropez.
Fey's character is as silly as her name, sending up celebrity business managers like Arianna Huffington and Sheryl Sandberg. Fey's presence also brings some of "30 Rock" and its combination of cerebral one-liners and cartoony slapstick.
St. Tropez hopes to shake up the newsroom and bring it into the 21st century. And that means absurd panel discussions with angry fringe "experts." This is a bridge too far for old-school anchor Chuck Pierce (John Michael Higgins), who can't open his mouth without revealing attitudes from another era.
Katie is clearly torn between the gravitational pull of her schmaltzy mother and the illusion of female empowerment symbolized by St. Tropez's immaculate white pantsuits. This tension makes for some hilarious insights on the contradictions of being a modern professional woman.
Sometimes, it takes a terrible sitcom to make a decent comedy seem good. Or at least better. "Great News" stands in contrast to CBS's new comedy "9JKL," starring Linda Lavin as another smothering mom, this time living right next door to her actor son played by Mark Feuerstein. It offers no great insights on our current society, but rather retreats to meddling mother jokes that would not be out of place on the original 1950s version of "The Goldbergs."
• ID launches a new paranoid docudrama series, "Home Alone" (10 p.m., TV-14). Each weekly installment follows similar tales of women in a big house all by themselves, startled by bumps in the night that turn out to be real dangers, often in the form of jilted boyfriends.
TONIGHT'S OTHER HIGHLIGHTS
• If necessary, the Nationals host the Cubs in MLB playoff action (5:30 p.m., TBS), followed by a playoff game between the Dodgers and Diamondbacks (9 p.m.).
• A conversation has consequences on "Grey's Anatomy" (8 p.m., ABC, TV-14).
• Sam and Dean suffer an emotional blow on the season 13 premiere of "Supernatural" (8 p.m., CW, TV-14).
• A quest to unravel the Krill's sacred text on "The Orville" (9 p.m., Fox, TV-14).
• A state dinner with diplomacy on the menu on "Scandal" (9 p.m., ABC, TV-14).
• The explosion and its aftermath on the "Arrow" (9 p.m., CW, TV-14) season premiere.
• A cheating scandal reverberates on "Project Runway" (9 p.m., Lifetime, TV-PG).
• Bad first impressions on "Chicago Fire" (10 p.m., NBC, TV-14).
• A case becomes much more complex than it first appeared on "How to Get Away With Murder" (10 p.m., ABC, TV-14).
Amy's daughter joins the team on "Superstore" (8 p.m., NBC, TV-PG) * A dangerous relic on "Gotham" (8 p.m., Fox, TV-14) * A dinner party unravels on "The Good Place" (8:30 p.m., NBC, TV-PG) * Jack takes a new job on "Will & Grace" (9 p.m., NBC, TV-14).
John Hodgman is on "The Daily Show With Trevor Noah" (11 p.m., Comedy Central, r) * Jared Leto, Dr. Dale Stuckenbruck and Kane Brown are on "Conan" (11 p.m., TBS, r) * Bill Murray, Claire Foy and Jan Vogler are booked on "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert" (11:35 p.m., CBS) * Jimmy Fallon welcomes Miles Teller, Pink and Billy Corgan on "The Tonight Show" (11:35 p.m., NBC) * Kate Hudson, Jared Padalecki and 21 Savage appear on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" (11:35 p.m., ABC) * Gerard Butler, Patton Oswalt and Joe Russo visit "Late Night With Seth Meyers" (12:35 a.m., NBC) * Luke Evans, Usher and Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie appear on "The Late Late Show With James Corden" (12:35 a.m., CBS).
© 2017, United Feature Syndicate