What's On

Each Thursday, this listing will highlight TV shows worth a note, if not a look in the coming week. Check local listings for broadcast times.


The American Experience (PBS, check local listings): This PBS series kicks off its ninth season with a sweeping look at the life of Theodore Roosevelt, who it calls "one of the most popular Americans of all time." The four-hour documentary, which concludes Monday, adeptly uses still photographs, filmed footage, and interviews with historians and descendants to tell Roosevelt's interesting story. The statesman battled poor health and the deaths of close family members before becoming president after William McKinley's assassination in 1901. He is the youngest man ever to hold the office.

Lois and Clark (ABC, 8-9 p.m.)

This time it's really going to happen. Honest. Overcoming last season's bouts of cloning and amnesia (talk about pre-wedding jitters!), Lois (Teri Hatcher) and Clark (Dean Cain) are finally getting hitched - at least if guest star Delta Burke doesn't get her way.

Star Trek: 30 Years and Beyond (UPN, 8-10 p.m., EDT): To celebrate Star Trek's 30th Anniversary, actors from the hit "Frasier" will boldly go where no comedy has gone before. During this live program, the cast will don Starfleet uniforms and do a sendup of the long-running sci-fi show. Trekkies take note that the charity fundraiser will also feature the largest gathering of Star Trek actors ever and a salute to creator Gene Roddenberry.

Presidential Debates (See pick of the week). President Clinton faces off against Republican challenger Bob Dole in the first of their two presidential debates in Hartford, Conn.


Smashed: An MTV News Special Report (MTV, 10:30-11 p.m.): MTV takes a whirlwind look at America's drinking problem. Stories of teen alcoholics and drunk driving deaths are intertwined with images from the entertainment industry (including MTV itself), which present drinking as acceptable. The program also offers university students and communities that are learning to just say no.


Frontline (PBS, 8-10 p.m.): This evenhanded, insightful biography looks at the choice Americans will be making Nov. 5 "through the lenses that matter." President Clinton's and Republican candidate Bob Dole's childhoods, leadership, religion, and experiences in war and in Washington are examined in fine detail.


The Nanny (CBS, 8-8:30 p.m.): Ever-helpful nanny Fran (Fran Drescher) hits the big time when she lands a spot on Rosie O'Donnell's charming daytime talk show giving child-rearing tips.

Vice Presidential Debate (ABC, CBS, CNN, C-SPAN, MSNBC, NBC, PBS, 9-11 p.m., EDT): This is the only chance viewers will have to see Democrat Al Gore and his Republican counterpart, Jack Kemp, go head to head on the issues before the November election. The action takes place in St. Petersburg, Fla.


Murder One (ABC, 9-10 p.m.):

Anthony LaPaglia fills the well-polished shoes of Daniel Benzali in the second season of the critically-acclaimed, viewer-starved series. James Wyler (LaPaglia), is a prosecutor who switches sides to defend a woman accused of murdering California's governor and his mistress. LaPaglia doesn't have Benzali's unflappable inscrutability, but his gritty, seat-of-the-pants style could prove equally enthralling. Much of the fine cast has returned, notably Barbara Bosson - back in her Emmy-nominated role as D.A. Miriam Grasso. But so far, there's no worthy successor to last season's sleek manipulator, Richard Cross (Stanley Tucci).

Mystery (PBS, 9-10 p.m.): In this quirky mystery, Professor Oliver (Alan Bates), fancier of crossword puzzles and lover of anagrams, has been forced into retirement. To celebrate, he sets out across England in search of Aristotle - a crossword puzzle-compiler - who has left town for the Orkneys, leaving behind a burned-out house. Police detective Diane Priest (Sinead Cusack) gets involved as Oliver's disappearing friend becomes tangled up with an unsolved murder. Romance, mayhem, and much punning ensue. (Part 2 of 4)


Presidential Debates

Sunday, 9-11 p.m., EDT


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