James Reston: The Man Millions Read (PBS, 9-10 p.m.): The influential newsman whom friends and would-be friends in the business call "Scotty" is rarely interviewed, so this profile of the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times veteran is a unusual chance to see how he thinks, what he did, and why his work was so notable. The documentary taps not only Reston's own long perspective and sharp insights, but fills in the background with observations from journalists Tom Wicker, Russell Baker, David Ha lberstam, Gay Talese, and others. The issues Reston himself reflects on go to the heart of journalism: the function of the press, a reporter's duty to country vs. the need to write the truth, as well as how his own writing style evolved. SATURDAY
HBO's 20th Anniversary
(HBO, 10:15-11:45 p.m.): Any excuse for a party, I suppose, but this cable network, the leading US pay-TV service, does have an awful lot of talent - past and present - to draw on in this celebration of its two decades of shows. The special offers clips from comedy specials, concerts, movies, and other programs produced since HBO's inception in 1972. Opening with appearances by Billy Crystal and Robin Williams, the look back stars everyone from Eddie Murphy to Lily Tomlin, including Billy Joel in the USS R and Simon and Garfunkel in New York's Central Park. It's all very introspective in focus, of course, but the range of personalities makes it worth at least sampling.
Please check local listings for all programs, especially those on PBS.