Boys Town (TNT, 8-10 p.m.): In this Oscar-winning 1938 film, Mickey Rooney is a tough kid who turns out to be soft-hearted. Spencer Tracy is a tough priest who turns out to be soft-hearted. And - in this screening, at least - congressman Newt Gingrich is a tough-talking conservative who turns out to be - well, we won't know for sure until the new Congress convenes. But meanwhile the Speaker-elect of the House of Representatives is hosting the program.

And who better? A few weeks ago on NBC's ``Meet the Press,'' Representative Gingrich (R), of Georgia, was asked to explain an earlier comment he'd made about letting abused or neglected kids stay in orphanages. Rather than backtrack, he challenged the press panel to see ``Boys Town'' and said kids were better off in a place like that than living the way some of them do today.

The movie is about Father Flanagan, the Roman Catholic priest who in 1917 founded the first school for juvenile delinquents, in Omaha, Neb. Oscars went to Tracy as Flanagan and to Eleanore Griffin and Dore Schary's screenplay. * FRIDAY

CBS Soap Break (CBS, 2-2:30 p.m.): Call it an electronic fan magazine - or maybe a plug for CBS soaps - yet the series of six specials premiering here do have a built-in viewership of dedicated soap fans. Hosted by Kristoff St. John of the high-rated CBS soap ``The Young and the Restless,'' the 30-minute feature looks behind the scenes at the lives - personal and professional - of soap stars.

The opener visits Victoria Rowell, who plays Drucilla Barber Winters in ``The Young and the Restless'' and Amanda Bentley in the prime-time series ``Diagnosis Murder,'' and who also appears in the feature film ``Dumb and Dumber.''

St. John, Rowell's husband in ``Restless,'' leads viewers as they share a day with Rowell, who is a single mother, ballet dancer, and advocate for foster children. She is seen on the set of ``Restless'' and ``Diagnosis Murder,'' at a ballet class, and at home with her young daughter Maya.

Please check local listings for these programs.

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