Belzer was right: Munch will live on

June 23, 1999|By Chris Kaltenbach | Chris Kaltenbach,SUN STAFF

Looks like "Homicide: Life On the Street" won't be as gone as we feared.

Yesterday morning on Howard Stern's radio show, Richard Belzer once again announced that his character from "Homicide," Det. John Munch, would appear next season on both "Law & Order" and that show's new prime-time spinoff, "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit."

A similar pronouncement from Belzer earlier this month brought a denial from "Law & Order" executive producer Dick Wolf, who said the matter was still being discussed. But word from NBC is that Munch's transplant to the New York-based shows is a go; at the least, he'll be showing up on "Special Victims."

Let's hope he makes it onto "Law & Order" as well; it's always a pleasure watching Munch and Jerry Orbach's Lenny Briscoe try to out-cynical each other.

Parents and students

The importance of parental involvement in children's education is the theme of a "Shaping Tomorrow" special airing at 7 p.m. Saturday on WJZ, Channel 13.

The half-hour program will include spots focusing on parents and students working together at Baltimore's Curtis Bay Elementary, the challenges faced by bilingual parents in Columbia and parents being introduced to the computer age at Carney Elementary in Baltimore County.

WJZ anchorman Vic Carter serves as host of the program, during which he'll be talking with students from Deer Park Elementary in Randallstown.

"Shaping Tomorrow," a public service initiative looking at education issues, is sponsored by WJZ and NationsBank.

`The Real McCoys'

"The Real McCoys," the TV series that ensured crusty old Walter Brennan's place in Baby Boomer history, makes a long-awaited return to television next week as part of TNN's afternoon lineup.

Brennan stars as Grandpa Amos McCoy, patriarch of a clan that has just moved from Smokey Corners, W. Va., to a ranch in California's San Fernando Valley. Grandpa McCoy's a meddling but lovable old coot, particularly when it comes to matters concerning his grandson, Luke (Richard Crenna).

As frequently happens with older television shows (the series ran from 1957 to 1963), much of the fun is in watching for familiar faces, and plenty of them show up on "The Real McCoys." Among those that turn up are Butch Patrick, who would go on to play Eddie Munster; Pat Buttram, a mainstay of the old "Gene Autry Show"; film star Joan Blondell, who would later star in the TV series "Here Come the Brides"; and Tina Louise, as a housekeeper who sets her eyes on Grandpa McCoy. Louise, of course, would end up shipwrecked on "Gilligan's Island" as Ginger a few years later.

And here's a piece of trivia that may surprise you: Brennan was the first-ever three-time Oscar winner, walking home with the Best Supporting Actor award in 1936 (the first year it was awarded), 1938 and 1940.

"The Real McCoys" debuts on TNN on Monday. Half-hour episodes will air at 4 p.m. and 4: 30 p.m. weekdays; at 10: 30 a.m., an episode repeated from the previous day will be shown.

Indie showcase

Independents day comes to MTV a little early this year.

Saturday, the music channel will spotlight videos from independent and unsigned artists, as well as independent films slated for release in the coming months.

The videos will be featured on "Under the Radar: Flying Indie," slated for noon. Host Matt Pinfield will also interview Chuck D of Public Enemy, Mike Ness and Ani DiFranco. After the show, viewers will be able to vote for their favorite video, with the winner being placed on playlists for MTV and MTV2.

"Indie Summer: An MTV Movie Special," premiering at 2 p.m., will look at independent films slated for release this summer. Host Chris Connelly will spotlight three movies, including "The Blair Witch Project," a documentary-like horror film about the haunted hills of Western Maryland that's already getting tremendous word of mouth, and "Outside Providence," from the writers of "There's Something About Mary."

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