Weekends boil down to football and fear. The best way to attract a large audience of men is to show a game. ABC obliges with college football (7 p.m.) featuring Oklahoma and Florida State. Even with the highly anticipated debut of “The X Factor” and the shenanigans on “Two and a Half Men” returning this week, I’d bet on “Sunday Night Football” to be the week’s most-watched show. And ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” game is sure to top cable ratings.
On the other side of the gender divide, women have gravitated toward procedural crime series and increasingly toward cheap, nonfiction crime shows like “48 Hours Mystery” (9 p.m., CBS), which consistently draws that night’s largest audience.
The Cloo Network, formerly known as Sleuth, gets in the act with “Killer Instinct” (9 p.m.), a criminal profile series that invites viewers into the twisted minds of murderers. Featuring interviews with cops, detectives and cold-case experts, “Instinct” examines the thought processes that drive men (or mostly men) to kill and to think they can get away with it. First up: a software genius who reports his wife missing and then attracts the attention of the authorities after he doesn’t seem all that torn up by her departure.
In other fear-related programming news, it was recently announced that “America’s Most Wanted,” the just- canceled, long-running Fox criminal profile series hosted by John Walsh, has been picked up by Lifetime. A network that once called itself “Television for Women.” Over in Oprah-Land, or the OWN network, viewers can find “Confronting” (9 p.m.), a series that allows victims or their survivors to confront the man (in most cases) who did them wrong. Is this a search for justice, or “closure”?
Hallmark fights fear with fluff, or “Love Begins” (9 p.m.), the latest cable movie in the Western romance “Love Comes Softly” series.
• As if sci-fi buffs aren’t confused enough about the direction of Syfy, the network spends Saturday night with James Bond movies, including “Casino Royale” (5 p.m.) and “Quantum of Solace” (8 p.m.). That’s almost as off-base as the History Channel airing “Dirty Harry” (8 p.m. Saturday).
• Get a head start with the 2011 Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards (7 p.m., ReelzChannel), covering some of the technical aspects of broadcasting, including costume, hair and makeup.
• The Tardis arrives in a land of fear on “Doctor Who” (8 p.m., BBC America, TV-14).
• Matt Damon stars in the 2010 supernatural fantasy “Hereafter” (7 p.m., HBO), directed by Clint Eastwood.