Watch for insight on nature of medium

TODAY'S TV

April 20, 1995|By Steve McKerrow | Steve McKerrow,Sun Staff Writer

Does television sneakily try to channel viewers into new patterns? Let us count the ways. Media education class is in session.

* "The New VH1: It'll Suck You In" (WBAL, Channel 11) -- Lesson No. 1: Oh, what a tangled web they weave, when television is used to advertise other television. VH1, the softer-rock sister network of cable's MTV, launches an unprecedented $4 million prime-time ad campaign of 30-second spots appearing throughout the evening on the peacock network. Commercials would not ordinarily rate a highlight mention -- but rock superstars Madonna, Sting and Sheryl Crow are making rare, heavily promoted TV appearances in these. NBC.

* "Children First: Real Kids, Real Solutions" (8 p.m.-9 p.m., WMAR, Channel 2) -- A Baltimore City school program on character development gets a brief mention in this "American Agenda" special with anchor Peter Jennings. Correspondents Carole Simpson, Bill Blakemore and Rebecca Chase examine successful examples of early education, values instruction and teen guidance. ABC.

* "500 Nations" (8 p.m.-10 p.m., WJZ, Channel 13) -- Kevin Costner, whose hit film "Dances With Wolves" deeply sympathized with the fate of Native Americans at the hands of European occupation, takes a deeper documentary approach in a two-night miniseries. CBS.

* "Hope & Gloria" (8:30 p.m.-9 p.m.; 9:30 p.m.-10 p.m., WBAL, Channel 11) -- Lesson No. 2: Tricky! This one's part of a growing trend. A new two-episode story takes place -- but with a repeat of the hit "Seinfeld" stuck in the middle, discouraging you from even thinking about changing that channel. Hope (Cynthia Stevenson) does not look forward to a visit from her parents, because she hasn't told them she's separated from Jeffrey (Larry Poindexter). Meanwhile, Gloria (Jessica Lundy) learns Dennis (Alan Thicke) is attracted to her. NBC.

* "48 Hours" (10 p.m.-11 p.m., WJZ, Channel 13) -- Three years ago, the newsmagazine visited a Cleveland hospital, where critically premature babies were being saved. The show goes back to see how are they doing now that they've reached the toddler years. CBS.

Cable

* "Waylon Jennings and Friends" (8 p.m.-9 p.m., The Nashville Network) -- Alas, one friend is no longer with us: the late singer-songwriter Roger Miller. Mr. Jennings welcomes guests Willie Nelson, Chet Atkins and George "Goober" Lindsey to pay tribute to Miller, whose hits included "King of the Road" and "Dang Me."

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