'Cover Story': catchy magazine show

The best magazine-type television show since PBS's "Great American Dream Machine" is being brought to the electronic medium by a leader in the print medium: Newsweek magazine. "Cover Story" (PBS, Monday, 9-10 p.m., check local listings for premiere and repeats), in its initial outing (there are two more scheduled to go in the series, with No. 2 on July 1 concentrating on the economy), focuses on the future with the oh-so-cute title "Your Future Isn't What It Used to Be."

"Cover Story" is just about everything ABC's "20/20" would like to be -- bright and jazzy, clever and catchy, and above all relevant and fascinating. Featuring a bit too much print material, the premiere show calls upon just about every futurist in its line of vision -- from Nostradamus to Herman Kahn -- to prognosticate and/or hypothesize. There are also old newsreels, charming animated sections, and even a space-age computerized soap opera.

Utilizing some of Newsweek top staffers -- among them Tom Mathews, George Will Pete Axthelm, and Jane Bryant Quinn -- as well as such futurist figures as Stewart Brand of The Whole Earth Catalogue, animated cartoons by George Griffith , and observations on aging by Art Carney in a segment on "The Graying of America."

Most impressive, however, is Dr. Herman Kahn (Zero Mostel-like director of the Hudson Institute) who believes optimistically that technology can foster its own solutions to its 2050 (would you believe close to $2 per slice?), none of which would seem to have any more authenticity than your own projections for the future, but all of which are entertainingly though-provoking. If there are just a few too many clips from "Things to Come," well, maybe the budget will be bigger the next time out. The series is produced by Newsweek in association with WQED/Pittsburgh.

Executive producer of "Cover Story" is Al Perlmutter who won an Emmy for the prototype of this show -- "Great American Dream Machine." own problems. Spotted here and there throughout the hour are current forecasts, such as the price of bread in the year [Text ommitted from source]

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