Ken Burns turns his lens on Benjamin Franklin in a new documentary that explores the life and work of the Founding Father, scientist, and renowned diplomat. Part 1 of the documentary airs tonight on PBS, with Part 2 slated to air tomorrow.
Also today: wilderness experts Donny Dust and Ray Livingston attempt to build primitive paradises in USA’s Mud, Sweat and Beards, Adam McKay continues his HBO partnership with twisty docuseries The Invisible Pilot, Long Slow Exhale dives into the world of women’s college basketball, and UNC and Kansas meet in the NCAA men’s basketball championship. Here’s what’s new and noteworthy on TV this Monday:
Benjamin Franklin: Documentary premiere. Ken Burns directs this two-part documentary about Benjamin Franklin, one of the most consequential figures in American history. The first two hours, which span the years 1706-1774, cover Franklin’s rise to prominence in Philadelphia and his early efforts to organize resistance against the British. Read our review 8:00 PM ET on PBS
Mud, Sweat and Beards: Docuseries premiere. Wilderness experts and best friends Donny Dust and Ray Livingston head to some of Earth’s most remote locations, where they combat extreme weather, hunger, and predators to build a primitive paradise. Episode 1 of the four-part adventure series sees the duo explore the Alaskan wilderness, while subsequent episodes are set in the Louisiana swampland, New Mexico desert, and Icelandic shores. Watch trailer. 11:00 PM ET on USA
Long Slow Exhale: Series premiere. When the head coach of a competitive women’s college basketball team (Rose Rollins) finds herself in the middle of a sexual abuse scandal, she resolves to find the truth among the many secrets she uncovers. Josh Lucas and Ian Harding also star. Three episodes drop today. Watch trailer. Streaming on Spectrum Originals
The Invisible Pilot: Docuseries premiere. In 1977, a pilot with a seemingly happy home life unexpectedly jumped off a bridge in Hazen, Arkansas, prompting his family and friends to search for answers. Years later, a mysterious story emerges involving hypnosis, a double life of dangerous missions and law-breaking, and a major political scandal. The three-part docuseries is directed by Phil Lott and Ari Mark and executive produced by Succession’s Adam McKay. Read our review. 9:00 PM ET on HBO
NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship: March Madness comes to an end as the No. 8 UNC Tarheels and the No. 1 Kansas Jayhawks meet at the Caesar’s Superdome in New Orleans for the national championship game. 9:00 PM ET/6:00 PM PT on TBS
Madagascar: A Little Wild: Complete seventh season. Alex, Marty, Melman, and Gloria continue to have each other’s backs as they follow their dreams in New York City. While Marty finally has a chance to become a Junior Ranger Zebra, Melman is chosen to perform an original song for his favorite animal country star, Gloria becomes the Habitat’s first-ever radio show host, and Alex tries his paw at cooking. Streaming on Hulu and Peacock
American Song Contest: New episode. The live qualifiers continue as 12 more artists from across the country perform an original song. Three artists from last week will also be revealed to be advancing to the semi-finals. 8:00 PM ET on NBC
Secrets of Playboy: Season 1 finale. A&E’s docuseries comes to an end with an episode that sees former Playmates, girlfriends, and employees — including Sondra Theodore, Susie Krabacher, Lisa Loving Barrett, and Audrey Ann Huskey — come together to share their experiences in the Playboy world. 9:00 PM ET on A&E
My Brilliant Friend: New episode. On holiday, Elena (Margherita Mazzucco) grows increasingly exasperated with Gennaro, but after receiving shocking news about her sister, she cuts the trip short. Later, tensions mount at a dinner with the Solaras, and Pietro (Matteo Cecchi) shares his unvarnished opinion of Lila (Gaia Girace). 10:00 PM ET on HBO
Better Things: New episode. Sam (Pamela Adlon) fights zombies and Frankie (Hannah Riley) dresses up. 10:00 PM ET on FX
Chad: Season 2 sneak peek. TBS offers a special preview of Nasim Pedrad's comedy after the NCAA championship game concludes. In Season 2, newly elected class president Chad Amani (Pedrad) deals with a scandal that quickly ends his term, has a surprising new love interest, and gets a visit from his tough-as-nails Iranian grandmother, all while navigating sophomore year. Watch trailer. 11:30 PM ET on TBS, TNT and TruTV
Claire Spellberg Lustig is the Senior Editor at Primetimer and a scholar of The View. Follow her on Twitter at @c_spellberg.