Firing Line special debate
(PBS, 9-11 p.m.): It may not be the mother of all debates, but it is a compelling battle of heavyweights who take sides on the timely topic "Resolved: US Industry Does Not Need Protection." In favor: Host William F. Buckley Jr., Rep. Dick Armey (R) of Texas, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Jack Kemp, and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Against: Rep. Richard Gephardt (D) of Illinois, former presidential candidate Jerry Brown, author-editor James Fallows, and economist Lester Thurow. As
usual, a wicked sense of humor and irony proves the saving grace as the arguments fly. The format has gone a little show-biz, with a casual, sweatered Buckley - described as founder and "star" of "Firing Line" - introducing the show, and with speakers photographed from fancy angles as they walk to their seats. But the conflict produces insights, rhetorical fun, sometimes contradictory information, and in the end a feeling that none of it would prove much consolation to an American who just lost a job in a plant that was moving to Mexico. WEDNESDAY
Live From Lincoln Center
(PBS, 8-10 p.m., E.T.): The New York Philharmonic is about to launch its 150th season, an impressive anniversary being marked by the oldest orchestra in the United States. In a concert from Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall in New York, musical director Kurt Masur offers a program including Prokofiev's "Romeo and Juliet" and Symphonic Dances from Bernstein's "West Side Story." And that superb soprano Kathleen Battle performs songs by Richard Strauss and Bernstein.
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