What to watch on Wednesday, January 16...
SEASON 12 PREMIERE (PART 1), 8pm, Fox
In accordance with the Federal Singing Competition Perpetuity Act, American Idol returns to secure the nation’s supply of overzealous youngsters belting out Phil Collins covers to the rafters while pop stars offer canned critiques and forced patter. This year’s panel features Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj, and Keith Urban joining mainstay Randy Jackson and host Ryan Seacrest. The first round of auditions covers New York City, Chicago, Charlotte, Baton Rouge, San Antonio, and Oklahoma City.
8pm, The CW
In "Burned," being beaten by the Dark Archer leaves Oliver mired in self-doubt, because defeat is extra dispiriting when it comes at the hands of a nemesis who clearly only put 30 seconds of thought into his supervillain name. But he can’t set aside his quiver for long, as Laurel comes to him for help investigating a firefighter’s death.
9pm, The CW
Crowley is holding an angel prisoner, and only Castiel can save the day in “Torn and Frayed.” Elsewhere, Amelia gives Sam an ultimatum.
American Horror Story: Asylum
Grace’s obsession with aliens takes a dark turn, and Sister Jude clashes with a new inmate. This week’s episode is called “Continuum,” which is also the name of a series that debuted on Syfy earlier this week, because at this point American Horror Story is full-on ingesting other cable shows and absorbing their life-forces to feed the growth of its own demented essence, like some sort of TV Cthulhu.
WINTER PREMIERE, 10pm, Comedy Central
The guys hit an employee roast in “Booger Nights,” determined to become known as the office’s reigning class clowns. You’d think having their own show on Comedy Central would have locked in the Office’s Funniest Dudes crown, but apparently not. I mean, “Comedy” is right there in the name of the channel.
SERIES PREMIERE, 10:30pm, Comedy Central
Comedian and The League member Nick Kroll serves up a sketch comedy smorgasboard. Targets in the first episode include a distracted basketball referee, a diet infomercial, and a teen soap parody set at a school for disabled children.
– Marion Cotillard, Jim Jefferies, and Trampled By Turtles on Conan, 11pm, TBS
– Jason Clarke on Chelsea Lately, 11pm, E!
– Jessica Chastain on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, 11pm, Comedy Central
– Tom Brokaw on The Colbert Report, 11:30pm, Comedy Central
– Mark Wahlberg, Ali Wentworth, and JJAMZ on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, 11:35pm, NBC
– Kim and Kourtney Kardashian and Buddy Guy on Late Show with David Letterman, 11:35pm, CBS
– Rob Lowe and Big Boi on Jimmy Kimmel Live, 11:35pm, ABC
–Jeremy Renner, Hoda Kotb, and Jessica Ware on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, 12:37am, NBC
– Don Cheadle and DJ Qualls on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, 12:37am, CBS
WHAT ARE YOU WATCHING TONIGHT?