TV highlights for the week of March 9-15. All times are Eastern; check local listings. Ratings are listed for shows when available (see explanation box below).
PICK OF THE WEEK
To Dance With Olivia
Sunday, March 9
SUNDAY - 3/9
Sneakers (ABC, 8:30-11 p.m.): From its opening credits to its finale, this 1992 movie offers high-tech entertainment as a team of brainy misfits tries to recover a stolen device that is a threat to US security. Robert Redford, Ben Kingsley, and Sidney Poitier star. (TV-PG)
Great Performances (PBS, 9-10:30 p.m.): Celebrate the musical career of Ira Gershwin at Carnegie Hall with performances by Vic Damone, Rosemary Clooney, Maureen McGovern, and Jon Lovitz.
To Dance With Olivia (CBS, 9-11 p.m.): "Thoughtful" is not often used in the same breath with "TV movie." But thanks to the abilities of star and executive producer Louis Gossett Jr., this network offering can claim that and other complimentary words for its own. The story is about a lawyer in 1960 Missouri whose livelihood - and wife Olivia's love - has been sapped by the recent death of his young son. Intriguing on many levels, the story begins when Daniel Stewart (Gossett) is asked to defend a black friend blamed for the accidental shooting of the son of a white congressman. As the trial progresses, viewers become privy to the events that led to the shooting of Stewart's own son (for which his wife, played by Lonette McKee, blames him), and how the lives of the congressman and the lawyer are intimately connected. Good acting, an unpredictable plot, and few clichs make the show a worthwhile watch. (TV-PG)
Women's Film Festival (Lifetime, 8-10 p.m.): Although a collection of programs just for women sounds like a good idea, this quartet of short films is less than satisfying. Its choice of subject matter is a bit random: fantasies of a middle-aged woman, friends considering breast implants, house calls from a seductive doctor, and a filmed poem about an inner-city undertaker. Perhaps host Susan Sarandon, whose segments were not available for previewing, will put the subjects in context. (TV-14)
Frasier (NBC, 9-9:30 p.m.): James Earl Jones guest stars as a resident at the retirement home at which Roz (Peri Gilpin) has been sentenced to volunteer for getting a traffic ticket. (TV-PG)
WEDNESDAY - 3/12
The Nanny (CBS, 8-8:30 p.m.): In a send-up of Mike Leigh's Oscar-nominated film "Secrets & Lies," Fran (Drescher) is contacted by a black woman (Telma Hopkins) who claims that Fran is her long-lost child. (TV-G)
Battle of the Sexes on Ice (Fox, 8-10 p.m.): Professional skaters go toe-to-toe against the opposite sex. Kristi Yamaguchi and Scott Hamilton captain the teams. Also lacing up for battle are Paul Wylie, Kurt Browning, Brian Boitano, Rosalynn Sumners, Liz Manley, and Caryn Kadavy. (TV-G)
THURSDAY - 3/13
NCAA Basketball Tournament (CBS, 12 noon-5 p.m., 7:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m.): March madness is upon us! Basketball fans can spend 10 glorious hours watching the top 64 college teams participate in opening-round play. And that's just Day 1. For the first weekend of the tournament, CBS will be airing a mammoth 36 hours of live coverage - enough to satisfy even the most rabid fan.
Law & Order (NBC, 10-11 p.m.): The acclaimed crime drama gets to try out the can't-miss time slot of "ER" for four weeks while the ratings juggernaut is on hiatus. The New York cops head West to solve the murder of a movie-studio mogul. This three-part series is the first in the drama's seven seasons. (TV-14)