The more television changes, the more it stays the same. A week that brought the news of the Disney Plus streaming package also saw scattered reports that we are fast approaching the point where there will be as many “cord-cutters” as cable subscribers.
The Disney service will allow customers to stream the content of the Disney library (complete with films from the 20th Century Fox catalog, Pixar, the Marvel Universe and “Star Wars” omniverse), along with the live sports capacity of ESPN and HULU offerings as well. This package will be available in November and cost $12.99, roughly the same price as Netflix.
Disney is not the only corporate giant with streaming schemes. Having recently acquired Time Warner, AT&T is talking about an HBO Max service. NBC also has plans for a service. While some have considered what might happen to Netflix when NBC takes back properties like “The Office” and “Friends,” the game-changer (so to speak) of an NBC streaming service could be the ability to watch NFL football without a cable box.
Once streaming allows viewers to watch live sports, cable will become obsolete.
At the same time, faced with so many services and the prospect that these “a la carte” options tend to run up a pricey menu, customers may decide that old-fashioned cable remains an option, if not a bargain — and one way to avoid a bewildering field of options.
• While ways of watching TV change every day, many TV producers have opted for the familiar. How else do you explain why the CW is debuting “Mysteries Decoded” (9 p.m., TV-PG), yet another faux-documentary take on unexplained phenomena. First up, experts and paranormal mediums go to Massachusetts to sift around evidence associated with Lizzie Borden.
In a similar vein, “Code of the Wild” (10 p.m., Travel, TV-PG) ventures to Alaska to investigate the 1972 plane crash that claimed the life of Louisiana Rep. Hale Boggs. Boggs was the father of news correspondent Cokie Roberts.
• The new PBS series “Family Pictures USA” (8 p.m. and 9 p.m., TV-PG, check local listings) allows people to share snapshots from the past to illuminate the social history of their region. The second episode concentrates on the families that settled Southwest Florida and founded farms and businesses in the area around Naples and Fort Myers.
Not unlike “Finding Your Roots,” it reveals the remarkable diversity among well-settled Americans and demonstrates how simplistic explanations about race crumble in the face of family stories that include tales of “black” offspring of white slave owners and other marriages, and relationships that defied a crudely defined and cruelly enforced “color line.”
Tonight’s other highlights
• Halle Berry plays a 911 operator who has to confront a dark past to save a kidnapped teen (Abigail Breslin) in the 2013 thriller “The Call” (6:35 p.m., BET, TV-14).
• A journalist’s murder may be linked to past crimes on “FBI” (9 p.m., CBS, r, TV-PG).
• A witness gets a tad too chummy on “NCIS: New Orleans” (10 p.m., CBS, r, TV-14).
• Elektra steps up on “Pose” (10 p.m., FX, TV-MA).
• The Rams come to play on “Hard Knocks: Training Camp With the Oakland Raiders” (10 p.m., HBO, TV-MA).
• Jaded suburban high school graduates (Thora Birch and Scarlett Johansson) befriend a sad sack record collector (Steve Buscemi) in the 2001 adaptation of Dan Clowes’ graphic novel “Ghost World” (8 p.m., TMCX).
An off-the-wall art heist on “NCIS” (8 p.m., CBS, r, TV-14) ... “America’s Got Talent” (8 p.m., NBC, TV-PG) ... “Spin the Wheel” (8 p.m., Fox, r, TV-PG) ... “Bachelor in Paradise” (8 p.m., ABC, TV-PG) ... Thomas’ psychic dad beams down on “Pandora” (8 p.m., CW, TV-PG).
“First Responders Live” (9 p.m., Fox, TV-14) ... “Bring the Funny” (10 p.m., NBC, TV-14) ... Uncooperative weather on “Bless This Mess” (10 p.m., ABC, r, TV-PG) ... Dre teaches heritage on “black-ish” (10:30 p.m., ABC, r, TV-PG).
Tom Cruise is booked on “Conan” (11 p.m., TBS, r) ... Dennis Miller, Jo Koy and Punkie Johnson appear on “Lights Out With David Spade” (11:30 p.m., Comedy Central)
Jada Pinkett Smith, Rep. Ayanna Pressley and the Goo Goo Dolls are booked on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” (11:35 p.m., CBS) ... Jimmy Fallon welcomes Henry Golding, Jonathan Groff, Rick Ross and Swizz Beatz on “The Tonight Show” (11:35 p.m., NBC)... Danny McBride, Yvonne Strahovski and Marianne Williamson visit “Late Night With Seth Meyers” (12:35 a.m., NBC).