FEBRUARY, one of the months when Nielsen rates all the television markets, is considered the most crucial of the sweep months because networks expect winter weather to keep people home watching TV. Indeed, there is little planning beyond February as all the networks, for competitive reasons, are holding their scheduling decisions until the last moment these days. So most of the big events we know are coming up on television are set for next month, though, of course, events in the Persian Gulf could play havoc with these schedules.
"Son of the Morning Star"
Feb. 3 and 4
This ABC four-hour miniseries stars Gary Cole as George Armstrong Custer, telling the story of his fateful encounter with the Sioux Indians. Many members of the acting and creative team responsible for the depiction of Native Americans in "Dances With Wolves" have similar tasks in this production.
"Love Lies and Murder"
Feb. 10 and 12
An NBC four-hour two-parter is another true-story view inside a homicidal, sicko family, this one headed by a father who gets his daughter to confess to killing her stepmother. Sheryl Lee of Laura Palmer fame is the star.
"Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?"
Vanessa and Lynn Redgrave act together for the first time in this ABC remake of the 1962 movie about the demented relationship between two sisters in show business. Bette Davis and Joan Crawford were in the original.
"And the Sea Will Tell," CBS, Feb 24 and 26. CBS' four hour entry is another true story murder mystery, this about a strange encounter between a well-off couple sailing in the South Seas and a fugitive from the law who had gone there in flight with his girlfriend. Richard Crenna, Hart Bochner and Rachel Ward star.
"Separate But Equal," ABC, Early April. An ABC four-hour two-parter with Sidney Poitier portraying Thurgood Marshall in his story about heading the NAACP legal effort to bring the school desegregation case before the Supreme Court that resulted in the landmark 1954 decision.