Governor William Donald Schaefer's address on the condition of the state's economy will be carried by all three Baltimore network affiliates and Maryland Public Television, channels 22 and 67, tonight at 8 o'clock.
MPT will devote an hour to its coverage, following the speech -- which is expected to last about 20 minutes -- with reaction and analysis. Dave Durian is anchoring with Sue Kopen on the scene in Annapolis.
Channel 13 (WJZ) and Channel 11 (WBAL) will both have half-hour programs, their news teams spending any time after the address analyzing its content.
Channel 13 will pre-empt "Full House" and pick up ABC's "Home Improvement" at 8:30. Channel 11 will pre-empt CBS' hour-long "Rescue 911," putting on an episode of the syndicated program "The New WKRP in Cincinnati" at 8:30. Channel 2 (WMAR) plans to present the entire NBC schedule, starting with "I'll Fly Away" immediately after the address.
As a state agency, MPT is right in the line of fire of any budget-cutting in the governor's message. It's eliminated its local educational production department and laid off several staffers this year.
Apparently its viewers must have already gotten the word that these are tough times for public television because they came through in record-breaking numbers during the just-concluded December membership drive.
The final figures record $492,681 in pledges from some 6,853 members. That's about $30,000 above the previous record, set in 1986.
A significant chunk of that money -- $54,000 -- came on the drive's opening night, which featured the last episode of the
"Anne of Green Gables" saga. So MPT's strategy of leading into the membership drive with these four two-hour movies over four nights paid off handsomely.
Other big money-makers included the always-reliable "Dr. Who" and a Lawrence Welk special. Talk about diversity in programming!
In carrying the governor's address tonight, MPT is pre-empting what sounds like an interesting hour of "Nova," an examination of the booming business in art forgeries, which are usually detected by scientists, not critics. It's been re-scheduled for Jan. 7.
But even without that hour, the MPT schedule is chock-full of interesting science programming over the next two nights. For one, there's another "Nova" on tap tonight at 9 o'clock about four patients with heart disease participating in an experimental program that uses lifestyle adjustments and psychological treatments to avoid surgery and drugs.
Then at 10 p.m. is a fascinating hour of "The Infinite Voyage," the series produced by the National Academy of Sciences. This one, called "Prisoners of the Brain," covers a smorgasbord of research into the chemical workings of our most crucial organ.
Much of this research is going on locally as the show looks at treatment of schizophrenics at University of Maryland's psychiatric research center and at brain cells grown in laboratories at Johns Hopkins Medical School.
Unfortunately, the program doesn't even mention the existence of psychiatric analysis and psychological counseling as it focuses exclusively on the chemical and other methods of manipulating the brain's physical structure. It would be curious to know if counseling and therapy can work hand-in-hand with such treatments, if, indeed, such methods might also be able to alter brain chemistry.
Still, as you see these scientists seek to pinpoint the areas of the brain affected by illness and addiction and try to figure out how to get the appropriate drugs into those areas, you realize that some exciting and frightening, literally mind-blowing, trails being blazed in this area.
Tomorrow night at 8 o'clock on MPT there's another edition of "Scientific American Frontiers," the science journal of the air that's somewhat overly earnest and didactic but still presents its share of interesting information.
The best segment in this hour is on the reconstruction, from archaeological and other records, of the kayaks used by the Inuit peoples of Alaska to fish and hunt. A music score is by Ry Cooder adds to the appeal of the story.
A look at how and why spiders decorate their webs gets a bit tedious, but seeing research into the way deaf children babble with their hands just as hearing toddlers do with their mouths is fascinating footage even if the conclusions drawn about the nature of language are not fully supported by the evidence presented.