Favorite 'Fences,' year-end festivities


December 31, 1993|By David Bianculli | David Bianculli,Contributing Writer

"What's on TV tonight?" "Not much. It's New Year's Eve."

* "Picket Fences." (10-11 p.m., WBAL, Channel 11) -- There are two sides to the "Fences" tonight -- or, at least, two episodes of "Picket Fences" on view. Beginning tonight, CBS is using the late-night slot to repeat some of "Picket Fences" creator David E. Kelley's favorite episodes. In prime time, there's a repeat from just a few weeks ago, the superb one about the potential of a "virgin birth" in Rome, Wis, Then, in late night, comes last year's holiday episode, one that takes on the still-current controversy about religious pageantry on public (as in school) property. CBS repeats.

* "Clive James' New Year's Eve." (11 p.m.-12:05 a.m., WMPT, Channels 22 and 67) -- The host of "Fame in the 20th Century" -- good writer, but boring series -- takes a look back at 1993. Makes sense: Everyone else is looking ahead, and PBS imports a guy with rear-view vision. PBS.

* "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno." (11:35 p.m.-1:05 a.m., WMAR, Channel 2) -- Look at it this way: Leno has to throw a more entertaining party than he did the night "Cheers" went out with the old. For one thing, this time he won't be serving liquor. NBC.

* "New Year's Rockin' Eve '94." (11:35 p.m.-1:05 a.m., Channel 13) -- Dick Clark is still reporting from Times Square, and still reportedly live, in this new edition, where the "Rockin' Eve" "rockers" include Joey Lawrence. ABC.

* "The Miss Howard Stern New Year's Eve Pageant." (11 p.m.-1 a.m., PPV) -- Considering some of the events scheduled for this program's agenda, the part of the title that says "Miss Howard Stern" may be less descriptive than good advice. In the past, Mr. Stern's pay-per-view TV efforts haven't been worth the money -- any money -- but he's been on such a roll in 1993, he might well end the year not with a whimper but with a bang.

* "New Year's Eve at Sea World." (11 p.m.-12:30 a.m., TNN) -- This one's all wet, and stars Sawyer Brown and Deborah Allen.

* "Janet Jackson's Live New Year Jam." (11:30 p.m.-midnight, MTV) -- And here's one last special of the Old Year, starring Janet Jackson, with MTV reporters from Times Square.

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