On TV this Thursday: A Smash-ing guest returns to the American Idol stage, Grey’s Anatomy takes a page from real life, Raising Hope‘s mother of a finale and a Scandal-monger becomes a scandal victim. As a supplement to TVLine’s original features (linked within) — and with March Madness unfolding on CBS/TBS — here are 10 programs to keep on your radar.
8 pm The Vampire Diaries (The CW) | Elena and Rebekah take off in search of Katherine (watch a sneak peek) and wind up in Pennsylvania, where Elena has a surprising encounter with an old acquaintance.
8 pm American Idol (Fox) | Smash star (and Idol alum) Katharine McPhee performing with One Republic, and judge Keith Urban provide the entertainment/padding for tonight’s results show.
8 pm Fall to Grace (HBO) | This new documentary follows former New Jersey Gov. and “gay American” Jim McGreevey, who resigned amid scandal in 2004, on his path to become a spiritual advisor to incarcerated women.
8:30 pm 1600 Penn (NBC) | Double-episode season finale: New Girl‘s Hannah Simone guest-stars as Princess Abigail of Andorra, a royal beauty who visits the White House and requests Skip (?) as her escort to a gala. Then, at 9:30, the President and First Lady’s marriage is put in the spotlight, and Becca and D.B. get surprising news. (Not yet renewed; find out its current status.)
9 pm Grey’s Anatomy (ABC) | Sarah Chalke — whose How to Live With Your Parents (for the Rest of Your Life) debuts on ABC next week — guest-stars as a frantic mother whose child suffers from a mysterious illness (read how Chalke brought her story to Grey’s). Elsewhere, when a gas tanker explodes on the highway, the casualties include paramedic Matthew. (Watch video sneak peeks!)
9 pm Raising Hope (Fox) | Double-episode Season 3 finale: Burt’s parents (Partridge mom Shirley Jones and Bionic Man Lee Majors) return with the news that their boy is Jewish — cue belated bar mitzvah bash! (Watch video.) Then, the Chances learn that Maw Maw’s own mama is in fact alive (and played by… Cloris Leachman). (Yep, renewed.)
9 pm Beauty and the Beast (The CW) | To protect Vincent and salvage her relationship with Tess, Cat is forced to cough up some secrets she’s been keeping.
9 pm Project Runway (Lifetime) | A visit to the Guggenheim provides inspiration for the contestants to create their own textiles. Designer Tracy Reese guest-judges.
10 pm Scandal (ABC) | When Hollis Doyle’s daughter is kidnapped and held for ransom, OPA finds itself working for the (figurative?) devil; Melinda McGraw (Mad Men) guest-stars as Hollis’ wife. Meanwhile, a still-in-danger David is forced to seek shelter among the gladiators.
10 pm Archer (FX) | Archer must foil a Pope-assassination plot using Woodhouse as a decoy.
Hit the comments with your must-see picks from tonight’s lineup!Follow @kimroots