Jean Smart gets smarter in a replacement series By: Steve McKerrow

Today's TV

October 30, 1995|By SUN STAFF

Jean Smart, who played the somewhat dim Charlene on "Designing Women," is a sharper character in a new series making its premiere tonight.

* "Oprah Winfrey" (4 p.m.-5 p.m., WBAL, Channel 11) -- An hour devoted to the tragedies caused by handguns launches "ChildAlert," a yearlong project in which the talk show host plans to explore issues related to children.

* "Marsalis on Music" (8 p.m.-9 p.m., MPT, Channels 22, 67) -- In an episode titled "Tackling the Monster," host Wynton Marsalis and his guest, virtuoso cellist Yo-Yo Ma, talk about the burdens of constant practice. PBS.

* "Brotherly Love" (8 p.m.-8:30 p.m., WBAL, Channel 11) -- Cross-series promotion highlights a Halloween episode. Joe (Joey Lawrence) agrees to take Andy (Andrew Lawrence) to the mall for trick-or-treating but brings home the wrong ghost: Camille Winbush as her "Minor Adjustments" character. That show's Rondell Sheridan also appears. NBC.

* "High Society" (9:30 p.m.-10 p.m., WJZ, Channel 13) -- Here's the first mid-season replacement show, filling in where "If Not for You" dropped out. Jean Smart ("Designing Women") stars as a best-selling author who pals around with her best friend (Mary McDonnell), a publisher with a teen-age son. The network calls it "a bawdy romp" (though it sounds a lot like "Cybill 2" or a clone of "Absolutely Fabulous"). CBS.

* "Chicago Hope" (10 p.m.-11 p.m., WJZ, Channel 13) -- A power outage caused by a storm creates a series of crises in the hospital, including a patient with simultaneous heart and brain aneurysms whose daughter goes into labor during the operation. CBS.

* "American Playhouse" (10 p.m.-11 p.m., MPT, Channels 22, 67) -- Animator Paul Fierlinger, whose work will be familiar to viewers from "Sesame Street," tells the story of his early life in Czechoslovakia -- including a sojourn in America as a child. PBS.

Cable

* "Biography: Edgar Allan Poe" (8 p.m.-9 p.m., A&E Network) -- A profile of the brooding author buried in Baltimore launches a week devoted to artists whose subject is horror and awe. Also on the agenda: Harry Houdini, Clive Barker, Orson Welles and Alfred Hitchcock.

* "MTV Mega-Dose" (10:30 p.m.-11 p.m., MTV) -- Continuing a slow adoption of news and public affairs programming targeted to its young audience, the rock video channel presents a show on health issues. U.S. World Cup soccer player Cobi Jones is host of a show about injuries at rock concerts, drug substitutes, breast implants and nutrition.

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