Networks salute arts and entertainment

MEDIA MONITOR

December 26, 1991|By Steve McKerrow

The Weekend Watch:

LOOKING BACK -- A pair of shows tonight review the arts and entertainment past. At 8 o'clock on ABC (Channel 13), "Entertainers '91: The Top 20 of the Year" is a celebration of the past year's most influential figures as chosen by cable's E! Entertainment network. Comedian Dennis Miller is the host. And at 9 p.m. on CBS (Channel 11), the annual "Kennedy Center Honors: A Celebration of the Performing Arts" program pays tribute to Roy Acuff, Betty Comden & Adolph Green, The Nicholas Brothers, Gregory Peck and Robert Shaw. Taped earlier, the show's audience included President and Mrs. George Bush.

LOOKING INWARD -- A couple of Friday shows offer some weighty cogitation. At 9 p.m. on Maryland Public Television, host David Frost moderates "The Great Nobel Debate," in which Nobel Prize winners, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu and economist Milton Friedman, address the question: Has humankind harnessed intelligence to make a better world? At 10 p.m. on CBS (Channel 11), the question is: What is the meaning of life? Long-living George Burns hosts the thoughtful documentary.

THE MOVIE MARQUEE -- Now that there's room for movies other than "It's a Wonderful Life," here's a trio of oddities: "Baja Oklahoma," at 8 tonight on Channel 54, will be milder in the language department than in its cheerfully profane made-for-cable run, but Lesley Ann Warren is well worth watching as a barmaid with singing aspirations. A special Fox Friday movie presentation "The Fly, II," at 8 p.m. on Channel 45, is a 1989 sequel to the gripping 1986 remake of the 1956 original with Vincent Price. This one wallows in slimy special effects at the expense of plot and character, but the effects are creepily believable. Finally, at 11 p.m. Friday on MPT, check out "The Story of Will Rogers," a nice 1952 biography of the beloved humorist. And the gimmick here is that Will Rogers Jr. plays his dad. (Jane Wyman plays Mrs. Will Rogers.)

FIRST VOYAGE OF SINBAD -- This Sinbad is the tall comedian who used to star on NBC's "A Different World." On Saturday, he is getting his first prime time network special on ABC at 8 p.m. on Channel 13.

A NEW MASTERPIECE? -- A celebrated 19th century divorce in Ireland is the subject of a new four-part "Masterpiece Theatre" premiering Sunday on MPT at 9 p.m. "Parnell and the Englishwoman" recounts the public scandal over a liaison between Irish leader Charles Stewart Parnell (Trevor Eve) and an English lover (Francesca Annis), which some historians believe helped sow the seeds of the continuing Ireland/England violence.

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