Welcome back, Perry and Sparky Mortimer

Today's TV

January 24, 1996|By Chris Kaltenbach | Chris Kaltenbach,SUN STAFF

O.J., schmo-J. The real news today is the return of the best sports broadcaster on network TV.

* "Dateline NBC" (8 p.m.-9 p.m., WBAL, Channel 11) -- To commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Challenger explosion, Jane Pauley interviews family members of several of the astronauts. They include June Scobee Rodgers, wife of Cmdr. Dick Scobee, and Grace Corrigan, mother of Christa McAuliffe. NBC.

* "Beverly Hills, 90210" (8 p.m.-9 p.m., WBFF, Channel 45) -- A retrospective look at the series' Top 25 moments includes glimpses at former cast members Shannen Doherty and Luke Perry. By the way, did you realize Shannen Doherty was badly misunderstood? Heard her say so myself Fox.

* "American Masters" (9 p.m.-10:30 p.m., MPT, Channels 22 and 67) -- He's photographed Nastassia Kinski wrapped in a snake and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor looking like their dog just died. Few photographers have had a career to rival Richard Avedon, and few are more adept at snapping pictures that seem to peer into their subjects' soul. Maybe all us amateur shutterbugs will get some idea of how he does it. PBS.

* "Late Night with David Letterman" (11:35 p.m.-12:35 p.m., WJZ, Channel 13) -- Now here's cause for celebration: Tonight's show features the return of 9-year-old sportscaster Sparky Mortimer, whose interview with Ted Turner may have been the highlight of media coverage during the World Series. Knowing a good thing when he sees one, Dave is sending Sparky to Arizona to cover the Super Bowl. It's almost a guarantee his reports will be the only shining moment during this week's pre-game hype. CBS.

Cable

* "Perry Mason Returns" (1:05 p.m.-3:05 p.m., TBS) -- This was the first of the Perry Mason reunion movies, as the World's Greatest Trial Attorney steps down from the bench to help old friend Della Street, who has been accused of murder. Although it's nowhere near as good as the series, watching Raymond Burr in front of a jury is never less than fun. Remember when people used to look up to lawyers?

* "O. J. Simpson: Beyond The Verdict" (9:30 p.m.-midnight, BET) -- At least no one will have to pay $39.95 to hear O. J. tonight. BET promises a no-holds-barred interview, with no topic off-limits; network president Jefferi K. Lee sent out a press release Monday just to stress that. We'll see. Ed Gordon will conduct the interview, which will run from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m., preceded by 30 minutes of background and followed by an hour call-in segment.

* "Tracey Takes On " (10:30 p.m.-11 p.m., HBO) -- Tracey Ullman returns in a series that will showcase various themes during each episode. Tonight, she's concentrating on romance. Julie Kavner and Michael Tucker are along to help out.

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