Viewers to name the chip of the ol' 'Roc'

TODAY'S TV

November 23, 1993|By David Bianculli | David Bianculli,Contributing Writer

All leftovers, all the time: Today a new cable channel is launched, bringing us one notch closer to that much-discussed "500-channel universe." Yes, it's the Television Food Network. I'm not making it up, but I'm not in any hurry to watch it, either.

* "Roc" (8-8:30 p.m., WBFF, Channel 45) -- Last season, every edition of "Roc" was live. This year it takes a special event to persuade Fox to mount a live telecast, and tonight -- during the November sweeps, of course -- the event is the naming of Roc's baby boy. Who gets to decide? Viewers, who get to phone in and vote for either Shaka ([900] 454-7622) or for Marcus ([900] 454-7621).The name that draws the most votes "wins" at the end of the live broadcast -- but each vote costs the caller 79 cents. Maybe a better name, considering the circumstances, would be Shaft. Fox.

* "Roseanne" (8:30-9 p.m., WJZ, Channel 13) -- Shelley Winters and Estelle Parsons are visiting for another horrid Thanksgiving dinner at the Conners'. "Roseanne" fans should take note that dinner is being served 30 minutes early this year: The sitcom is starting early so the conclusion of ABC's "JFK: Reckless Youth" can begin at 9. ABC.

* "Bakersfield P.D." (8:30-9 p.m., WBFF, Channel 45) -- Here's a fairly delicate plot line for a comedy cop show, particularly given what happened 30 years ago yesterday. Tonight's sitcom is about Secret Service agents assigned to guard the visiting presidential motorcade. Fox.

* "The John Larroquette Show" (9-9:30 p.m., WMAR, Channel 2) -- Another obvious sign it's a sweeps month: Tonight's "John Larroquette Show" makes room on its guest star roster for Donna Mills (who's playing John's ex-wife) and Joe Namath (who isn't). NBC.

* "JFK: Reckless Youth" (9-11 p.m., WJZ, Channel 13) -- Part 2 of 2. This umpteenth John F. Kennedy miniseries is at its best when it slows down and stays in one place for a while, rather than rushing from scene to scene like skim-reading a history book. In tonight's epi- sode, much time is spent on young Kennedy's PT 109 exploits -- which are portrayed more realistically, and less heroically, than in the "PT 109" movie, starring Cliff Robertson, released the year after JFK's death. Patrick Dempsey gets stronger as the miniseries goes along, and Terry Kinney plays Joseph P. Kennedy fairly effectively. ABC.

Cable

* "Tracey Ullman: A Class Act" (10:15-11 p.m., HBO) -- Tracey Ullman tackles a dozen or so roles, and portrays all of them brilliantly, in this devastating satire of the British class system. Best of all: an unsettlingly powerful scene in which she plays both daughter and mother, with the former acting ashamed of her working-class parents (Michael Palin plays the father) after they've scraped to finance her education at an upper-crust boarding school.

* "Stay Hungry" (10:20 p.m.-12:20 a.m., TNT) -- Sally Field got to play a sexy role for a change, and Jeff Bridges got top billing above a young body-builder named Arnold Schwarzenegger, in this unusual and interesting 1976 comedy-drama.

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