Tremors felt in TV news hours tonight


January 19, 1994|By David Bianculli | David Bianculli,Contributing Writer

When the hurricane hit South Florida, "48 Hours" bounced back with a disaster special that was one of the series' best efforts. So now that it's a little more than 48 hours after the California earthquake, tonight's "48 Hours" is one obvious place to turn, to see where the crews decided to go and whom they decided to profile. In the same vein, check out NBC's "Now," because nonfiction tonight is a lot more interesting than most of the escapist offerings.

* "The Nanny" (8-8:30 p.m., WBAL, Channel 11) -- Renee Taylor guest stars in this episode, which has Fran (Fran Drescher) dating an attractive funeral director. Well, that plot device worked just fine on "Frank's Place," so abra cadaver: Here it is again. CBS.

* "Beverly Hills, 90210" (8-9 p.m., WBFF, Channel 45) -- The plot lines in tonight's show center around Brandon, Dylan, Jesse and Andrea -- everybody, it seems, but Shannen Doherty's Brenda, whose career path apparently is beginning to ebb. Fox.

* "Hearts Afire" (8:30-9 p.m., WBAL, Channel 11) -- Meanwhile, this series is fighting for its life, and to get noticed, by doing stories that are more and more outrageous -- like this one, which spins an elaborate revenge plot so that Madeline (Conchata Ferrell) can get even with her ex-husband. CBS.

* "Now" (9-10 p.m., WMAR, Channel 2) -- Not to sound too exploitative about this, but tonight's "Now," if it devotes itself to the quake and does a superb job, may rank as the best chance yet for this NBC series to get noticed and build an audience. NBC.

* "Melrose Place" (9-10 p.m., WBFF, Channel 45) -- Always in need of more corners to fill out its romantic

triangles, tonight's "Melrose Place" mixes things up, adds a new face or two and rearranges certain living arrangements -- if you call that living. Fox.

* "48 Hours" (10-11 p.m., WBAL, Channel 11) -- The difference between Monday's breaking coverage, and a one-hour documentary two days later, is evident -- or better be. CBS.

* "The American Experience: 'Ishi, the Last Yahi' " (10-11 p.m., WMPT, Channel 22 and Channel 67) -- The subject of a recent HBO telemovie, Ishi gets the full documentary treatment on tonight's "American Experience." It's a singularly dramatic story of an Indian who, in 1911, walked out of the wilderness, the last living member of his tribe, after nearly four decades of hiding. PBS.

* "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" (11:35 p.m.-12:35 a.m., WMAR, Channel 2) -- If "Tonight" is back on track, post-quake, tonight's guests will be violinists Mark O'Connor (bluegrass) and Pinchas Zukerman (classical). Here's hoping they fiddle around together. NBC.

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