If you've got time to listen, tune in to Whoopi, Rush, Christie

September 14, 1992|By David Zurawik | David Zurawik,Television Critic

Whoopi Goldberg, Rush Limbaugh and Christie Brinkley. Only something as sprawling as the new TV season could account for those three celebrities sharing the same sentence.

Each introduces a new daily TV show in Baltimore today.

"The Whoopi Goldberg Show," a half hour syndicated talk show, airs at midnight weeknights on WJZ (Channel 13), following "Nightline."

The Academy-Award-winning actress is going minimalist, or maybe it's simply egoist, with the format. The opening credits feature Goldberg making Bill Cosby-like dance moves in front of a stark black-and-white background -- the kind used to highlight models in fashion photography. The set is mainly two large chairs -- one for Goldberg, one for her guest. The only other living presence on the show is a piano player, who does some nice work back in the shadows.

The promise of this show lies in Goldberg's ability to get big-name guests, the kind who wouldn't do Dennis Miller's show, according to Miller, for fear of being excluded from Jay Leno's "Tonight Show" or "The Arsenio Hall Show." Goldberg has the Hollywood muscle to back off Leno and Hall, and has lined up Billy Crystal, Robin Williams, Robert DeNiro and Natalie Cole, to name just a few.

She launches the show with Elizabeth Taylor, who says such things as, "My life has been rather like a bad soap opera."

Channel 13 warns that, because of "Monday Night Football" regularly running late, all late-night programming on Mondays is likely to slide back.

Talk radio rabble-rouser Rush Limbaugh is going to get an extra-late start, too, tonight for the premiere of "Rush Limbaugh" on WMAR ( Channel 2). The show will regularly air at 1:30 a.m. weeknights. But tonight's show will probably start later, Channel 2 said, because the station has an Orioles' game in prime time.

Limbaugh, who calls feminists "feminazis" on his radio show, did not have a full tape available for preview. The promotion tape indicates that Limbaugh is going to try to be just as obnoxious on TV as he is on radio.

The fascinating thing about this show is that it's being produced by Roger Ailes, the man responsible for many of those great and VTC incredibly manipulative TV ads that helped put Ronald Reagan and George Bush in office. This is TV that bears watching -- if for no other reason than its potential for demagogy.

Not quite as likely to cause controversy is "Living in the '90s with Christie Brinkley," a new daily life style show on CNN that debuts today at 10:30 a.m. More reporting than talk, the show will feature a half hour each day presided over by Brinkley and focusing on a different topic. Monday is style, Tuesday's topic is health, on Wednesday it's travel, Thursday is food day, and Friday is Brinkley's day to do entertainment.

What's the target audience? Brinkley says, "This is just the kind of show that will appeal especially to American women."

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