Cable's live sports vs. network reruns

TODAY'S TV

June 20, 1994|By David Bianculli | David Bianculli,Special to The Sun

On TV today, "Today" moves into its new glass fishbowl, Howard Stern officially kicks off his new TV show, and Russia and Saudi Arabia go on the attack -- against Brazil and the Netherlands, respectively, in today's televised World Cup soccer games.

* "Today" (7-9 a.m., Channel 2) -- Bryant Gumbel and Katie Couric move into Studio 1-A, the designation for their street-level, glass-lined new digs at Rockefeller Center. Only time will tell whether this new look, and the visual and aural access it provides to passers-by, will be a clear asset or a major pane. NBC.

* "M.A.N.T.I.S." (8-10 p.m., Channel 45) -- Carl Lumbly stars in this 1994 telemovie, playing a wheelchair-ridden doctor who moonlights as a high-tech crime fighter. This telemovie did well enough, in the ratings and with word of mouth, for Fox to back it as a new fall series. So if you were praying for "M.A.N.T.I.S." to spawn a spinoff, your TV prayers have been answered. Fox repeat.

* "In the Line of Duty: Ambush in Waco" (9-11 p.m., Channel 2)

-- This could just as easily have been called "Rush to TV Judgment," so quickly and incompletely was this docudrama rushed onto the air. Timothy Daly, as David Koresh, isn't bad, but the drama, like the decision to make it, is. NBC repeat.

* "Call Me Anna" (9-11 p.m., Channel 13) -- The winner of 1990's "I Gotta Be Me" awards (given out by yours truly) was Patty Duke, who played herself in this dramatization of her best-selling autobiography. (This year's likely winners: Joan and Melissa Rivers, for NBC's "Tears and Laughter: The Joan and Melissa Rivers Story.") Ironically, Ms. Duke didn't play herself as convincingly as did Jenny Robertson, who plays her as a young adult. ABC repeat.

Cable

* "Wimbledon Tennis" (9 a.m.-2 p.m., HBO) -- HBO begins its annual, and very welcome, coverage of early-round play at Wimbledon.

* "World Cup Soccer: Brazil vs. Russia" (3:55 p.m.-conclusion, ESPN) -- Brazil is supposed to be a joy to watch. Russia is a question mark -- mainly because Russian players formerly competed as part of the Soviet Union team.

* "Howard Stern" (8-8:30 p.m., E!) -- Mr. Stern lets TV cameras into his radio digs, lets the crew tape the action, and has E! cut it into half-hour taped programs. The extra work for Mr. Stern, like the average audience for an E! program, is minimal, but the benefits for the network, and perhaps even for Mr. Stern, could be maximal.

* "World Cup Soccer: Netherlands vs. Saudi Arabia" (12:25 a.m.-conclusion, ESPN) -- Yawn.

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