It’s not often that you get to sit down with a TV legend to talk shop—and few compare to Norman Lear. He created some of the most iconic sitcoms in TV history, including “All of the Family,” “The Jeffersons” and “One Day at a Time,” to name just a few. And if these classics all have one thing in common, it’s that they took an unvarnished look at the inequities of American culture, whether it was race, class, education or gender. So at 94 years young, Lear jumped at the chance to helm one of the 8 parts of “America Divided” (premieres Sept 30, 9pm, on EPIX) about inequality in America. He tells CFX that his interest in housing inequality convinced him to come on board. “Sitting at the edge of it and knowing something about it is one thing,” he says. “But being in it and looking at it from the inside is quite another thing.” Noting that NYC has become unaffordable for most, he contends “New York City doesn’t f–king know that.” Or does City Hall just not want to know? “That’s right,” he says, “because we all look the other way.” Lear is only one of many big names in the series. Co-creator Solly Granatstein, a documentary veteran and former “60 Minutes” producer, along with colleagues Lucian Read and Richard Rowley, worked to line up Lear as well as other heavy-hitting celebrities like Common, Rosario Dawson, America Ferrera, Zach Galifianakis, Amy Poehler, Peter Sarsgaard, and Jesse Williams. Each dissect different aspects of division and inequality such as criminal justice, immigration, politics, etc. “I hope that it’s a unifying force for people,” says Granatstein. “I think that film has a capacity to evoke empathy with people you don’t have much in common with—or who you think you don’t have much in common with.” For Lear, he just hopes to “inform people and sensitize them to things going on in the culture and which they simply don’t know enough about. And from there, hopefully they take some action.” – Michael Grebb

“StarTalk,” Season 3 premiere, Mon, 11pm, Nat Geo. There are several things to consider about this Emmy-nominated talk show that attempts to mix science with popular culture. First, host/astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson remains awkward when trying to act cool and energetic. He’s engaging when calm and talking about science. The show’s format remains balky, switching between live talk and a taped interview. Still, the moments it works are worth watching. There are several with Whoopi Goldberg (Sept 19), more with actor/neuroscientist Mayim Bialik. — “Startup,” Crackle. Some viewers will be watching this new drama from Crackle and scoff that a gangster, a banker and a tech whiz would never form a business triumvirate. That might be true, but for those who prefer to relax with a well-done if unusual television series, “StartUp” touches plenty of dramatic high notes. Another reason to watch is Martin Freeman, who plays strange characters as well as anyone. Freeman is wonderful as an unscrupulous FBI agent who’s on the trio’s trail, hoping to discover the source of its funding. Also strong is Otmara Marrero as the streetwise techie. — “Masters of Sex,” Sun, 10pm, Showtime. There’s a terrific juxtaposing of scenes about 40 minutes into this ep as Masters ( Michael Sheen) and Johnson ( Lizzy Caplan) bare their souls. Well, almost. It’s brilliant, though. – Seth Arenstein

The Daily



Showtime is letting everyone sample the “Billions” Season 6 premiere, making the episode available for free on, and YouTube as well as through MVPDs’ platforms and partners such as Roku and Amazon Prime Channels.

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