By Mike Hughes
Gannett News Service
"Elaine Stritch at Liberty," 5 p.m., HBO. Elaine Stritch, 78, has had a long and rich life. A Catholic schoolgirl from Detroit, she roomed in a convent while studying theater in New York City. She was a virgin, she says, until she was 30. Stritch was also a free spirit, a heavy drinker and a party person. She dated Marlon Brando, befriended Noel Coward and, in what she now considers a classic mistake, she ended a hot romance with Ben Gazzara because she'd met Rock Hudson. She also conquered Broadway musicals, drawing raves. "I have a great Tony acceptance speech," she told people. "The bad news is I've had it for 45 years." This was molded into a terrific, award-winning, one-woman show. Stritch sang and told stories. She got laughs. She talked movingly about her alcoholism. And yes, she finally got to give that Tony acceptance speech. All of that was captured in this D.A. Pennebaker film, which follows Stritch on stage and off. Wisely, it spends most of the time on stage, catching a great show.
Hockey, 2 p.m., ABC. Here's game three of the best-of-seven Stanley Cup finals with the Calgary Flames hosting the Tampa Bay Lightning.
"Ali" (2001), 7 p.m., CBS. Will Smith stars as Muhammad Ali, the boxing champion who became one of the most well-known people on the planet. Michael Mann directed.
"The Restaurant," 7 p.m., NBC. NBC has been switching things around a lot lately, so don't take anything for granted. Now scheduled are two of the reality episodes the network had scheduled for Mondays, then pulled. The first is a wild one, complete with a kitchen fire (again) and a bizarre moment that has the feuding restaurant owners going through a sort of informal therapy session with some patrons who happen to be psychiatrists. The second, alas, has them being driven further apart.
"Saturday Night Live," 10:30 p.m., NBC. Ben Affleck is the host in this rerun and N.E.R.D. is the musical guest.