On The Weekend Watch:
OF PUBLIC INTEREST -- With the exception of the venerable "60 Minutes," network public affairs programs in prime time have not been ratings winners. Yet a trio of shows in the coming days illustrate the continuing value of informative alternatives to predictable entertainment. At 10 tonight (Channel 13), ABC's "Prime Time Live" offers a profile of actress Katharine Hepburn, presented in the larger context of women's roles in society. On "20/20" on Friday (10 p.m., Channel 13), the controversial murder case of Dr. Jeffrey MacDonald, subject of the TV-movie "Fatal Vision," is re-examined with evidence suggesting the man convicted of killing his family might not have been lying after all. And on Sunday (at 10 p.m., Channel 2) Maria Shriver hosts an "NBC News Special" with a celebrity tilt, interviewing Burt Reynolds, rapper MC Hammer and comic Sandra Bernhard.
SOME NEWSY TALK? -- And speaking of celebrities and news, Friday's edition of "The Tonight Show" (11:30 p.m., Channel 2) sounds pretty timely. Guest host Jay Leno (whose routines are often so topically tart they could be reprinted on editorial pages) talks with former CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite. Another scheduled guest is Lucie Arnaz, who has been in the news lately objecting to production of a TV movie about her parents, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.
COMING TO ORDER -- Once again this season, an oft-asked question from Media Monitor readers has been, "When is 'L.A. Law' doing new shows?" The answer: tonight (at 10, Channel 2). Actress Diana Muldaur is back as Rosalind Shays, the sharp former partner who is suing the law firm for sexual discrimination in her ouster at the end of last season.
ON TO OAKLAND -- The surprising performance of the Cincinnati Reds in the opening game of "The World Series" has turned an apparent yawner into something more interesting, as the fall classic moves Friday into the home park of the Oakland A's (at 8 p.m., Channel 11).
THE MOVIE MARQUEE -- Here's a trio of films destined to remain classics as long as people continue to enjoy the movies: At midnight Friday, Maryland Public Television is screening "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir," the three-hankie 1947 film with Rex Harrison as a dead sea captain and Gene Tierney as the widow who loves him. On Saturday, Channel 54 has a three-hour "Rocky" fest, with an 8 p.m. documentary, "Rocky, An American Hero," followed at 9 by the screening of the 1976 original in which Sylvester Stallone created a character who seemingly will never be down for the count. ("Rocky V" is in the works, you know.) Finally, at 1 p.m. Sunday, Channel 45 is screening "The Electric Horseman," the charming 1979 movie in which rhinestone cowboy Robert Redford steals a valuable horse and TV reporter Jane Fonda tracks him down.