Conversations with Barbara Walters

MEDIA MONITOR

January 29, 1992|By Steve McKerrow

ON AND OFF THE AIR:

* Everybody talks to Barbara -- ABC's Barbara Walters, that is, who offers another of her celebrity interview specials tonight (at 9, WJZ-Channel 13) featuring a couple guests who are not often in the talk spotlight.

We all know from his daily show where Phil Donahue stands on things, but spouse Marlo Thomas is much more reclusive. Both chat with Walters about their marriage, which has lasted 11 years.

And while also seen daily in his late-night NBC show, David Letterman in the past has allowed little light into his off-screen life. Walters probes his disappointment over not being named to succeed Johnny Carson on "The Tonight Show."

Also on the show is Kirstie Alley from "Cheers," who talks with Ms. Walters about her past problems with drugs.

* Speaking of Marlo Thomas, subscribers to cable systems which carry the Comedy Central service can still see her every day in the sitcom that made her a star. Episodes of "That Girl" (1966-71) are screened twice on weekdays, at 7 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.

* Here's one worth staying up for, or at least setting the VCR:

With less than two weeks to the opening of the Olympic Winter Games (Feb. 8-23), Maryland Public Television is screening tonight and tomorrow the splendid documentary film "16 Days of Glory: Calgary '88."

The film is in four parts, with two tonight and two tomorrow, both nights beginning at 11 o'clock.

Although hyperbolic at times in its narration, Bud Greenspan's chronicle of the last quadrennial winter sports fest offers some genuinely intimate moments we didn't see on TV, and many visually arresting images of the events: in slow motion, from odd angles and in lyrical editing.

In tonight's first segment, for example, the film perfectly captures the ladies figure skating event with elegant portraits of its arresting trio of finishers:

East German gold medalist Katerina Witt is queenly but vaguely disinterested. American Debi Thomas is disappointed and cynical about slipping to a bronze medal -- to a questioner asking about her future after the flawed final skate, she is seen saying "Well, there is no future, but that's OK, I'll survive." And the host country's radiant Elizabeth Manley comes across as the real winner for capturing the silver medal.

* A last word on CBS coverage of Sunday's "Super Bowl XXVI" -- in fact, it's a non-word! Color commentator Lesley Visser, in the victorious Redskins' locker room, described the atmosphere as "jubilous." Actually, it looked jubilant to Media Monitor.

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