On The Weekend Watch:
THE MAN'S BACK -- Well-liked James Garner ("Rockford," "Maverick") returned to series TV this fall as -- what else? -- a slick-talking con man who ends up a city councilman. But NBC placed his semi-engaging "Man of the People" on Sunday nights, opposite CBS' heavy hitter "Murder, She Wrote," and it was a ratings bust. After a brief hiatus, the show is returning Friday with a one-hour special airing, "Mr. Doyle Goes to Vegas." If he can't make the old formula work there, it won't work anywhere.
REMEMBERING PEARL -- Television's commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor goes on and on. (See Michael Hill's accompanying reviews of ABC and CBS documentaries.) Local independent station Channel 54 has a double-feature "Heroes of the Pacific" lineup Saturday night, including a two-hour documentary "Medal of Honor" at 8 p.m. and the 1943 war movie "Guadalcanal Diary" at 10 p.m. The longest single block of programming is on cable's history-inclined Arts & Entertainment network Saturday. Its 4 1/2 -hour study begins at 5:30 p.m. with "Sacrifice at Pearl Harbor" and concludes with the splendid 1954 documentary "Victory at Sea." Don't forget that NBC wraps up the miniseries "Pearl," with the final two parts at 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday (Channel 2). And in a related movie screening, cable's The Disney Channel on Saturday (10 p.m.) is screening "Tora! Tora! Tora!" from 1970.