What to watch if you're not watching the Super Bowl
This will actually be the second straight year that the pay-per-view spectacle of models playing football in helmets, shoulder pads and frilly underthings has been scrapped. Last year a permitting issue derailed the game, and now a dispute between the Lingerie Football League and the site -- a clothing-optional resort in Land o' Lakes, Fla. -- has scuttled plans for this year's game.
It's almost hard to type this part, because the irony is so heavy that it might just overwhelm me. But here goes: the Lingerie Bowl folks have cancelled the game over concerns about nudity. Seriously. The resort apparently wouldn't agree to force its residents to wear clothes in areas away from the playing field, and the Lingerie Football League decided to scrap things. You can't make this stuff up, folks!
So you can save your pay-per-view money and apply it to an extra plate or two of wings. But if you're not watching Super Bowl XLIII (kickoff is at 6:20 p.m. ET) -- or need a break from NBC's day-long coverage -- Sunday will offer up the usual array of marathons and stunts. Here's a look (all times Eastern).
The king of all Super Bowl counterprogramming is Animal Planet's Puppy Bowl. This year's Bowl, featuring an array of adorable canines, is the fifth, and will feature a kitty halftime show and Pepper the parrot squawking the national anthem. The two-hour show starts at 3 p.m. and will repeat continuously until 5 a.m.
ABC will try to horn in on the male audience at halftime -- when Bruce Springsteen will be playing in Tampa -- and against The Office after the game by offering up Wipeout Bowl I: Cheerleaders vs. Couch Potatoes, a football-themed version of its goofy summer hit. Reruns of Wipeout will air in primetime opposite the game.
Sunday is also the start of TCM's annual 31 Days of Oscar celebration. The cable channel is organizing this year's crop of movies like a university curriculum, and Sunday's "Communications Department" offerings include Bye Bye Birdie (10 a.m.), Artists & Models (2 p.m.) and Ace in the Hole (8 p.m.)
TBS and FX are both doing "chick-flick" marathons. The former is offering up Clueless, My Best Friend's Wedding, Failure to Launch, What Women Want and My Big Fat Greek Wedding starting at 11:30 a.m., while FX starts at 2 p.m. with Little Black Book, followed by Maid in Manhattan, 13 Going on 30 and The Devil Wears Prada.
And finally, some of the marathons: The Closer (TNT, noon-11 p.m.), House (USA, 11 a.m.-4 a.m.), The Sopranos (A&E, noon-4 a.m.), America's Next Top Model (Oxygen, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.), Food Network Challenge (3-9 p.m.), Doctor Who (BBC America, 3-8 p.m.), Law & Order: Criminal Intent (Bravo, 6 p.m.-2 a.m.) and I Love Lucy (Hallmark, 8:30 a.m.-3 a.m.).
Regardless of what you're watching Sunday, join us for a live chat starting at 6 p.m. ET to talk about Super Bowl, the ads and anything else involving the biggest TV event of the year. And check out our rundown of the best and worst post-Super Bowl shows.