PICK OF THE WEEK
About Us: the Dignity of Children
Saturday, March 29, 8-10 p.m.
TV highlights for the week of March 23-29. All times are Eastern; check local listings. Ratings are listed for shows when available (see explanation box below).
SUNDAY - 3/23
NCAA Basketball Tournament (CBS, 2:30-7 p.m.): The remaining teams duke it out for the two empty slots in next weekend's Final Four.
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (CBS, 9-11 p.m.): If you've never seen the 43-year-old Disney version of Jules Verne's tale, this one will seem entertaining enough. But the differences are significant. For starters, there's no Kirk Douglas singing and playing sailor songs (quite a sight). More important, the story of the futuristic submarine traveling the seas in the 1860s is now less an adventure, more a love story. So-so lines and effects make this TV's equivalent of a B-movie. (TV-G)
MONDAY - 3/24
Barbara Walters Special (ABC, 8-9 p.m.): Warm up for the Oscars with Barbara and interviewees Lauren Bacall, Harrison Ford, and Woody Harrelson.
Academy Awards (ABC, 9-11 p.m.): Only an accounting firm knows which of the 20 actors nominated (14 of them for the first time) are this year's winners. Find out for yourself when host Billy Crystal, scheduled performers Madonna and The Wonders, and all of Hollywood turn out for the 69th annual awards.
TUESDAY - 3/25
The Practice (ABC, 10-11 p.m.): This new courtroom drama has won over many viewers and may pick up a few more with an intricate episode concluding the firm's case against a powerful tobacco company. (TV-PG)
Talked to Death (HBO, 10:15-11:15 p.m.): A rather unsettling look behind the scenes at talk TV. All your suspicions are true: Guests are coached (and paid to appear); hosts will do anything for ratings; and sometimes, if a show can't get who it wants, it simply puts an imposter on the air. Longtime hosts Phil Donahue and Geraldo Rivera weigh in. Part of the "America Undercover" series.
THURSDAY - 3/27
The World of Peter Rabbit and Friends (CBS, 8-9 p.m.): "The Tale of Peter Rabbit" is the best-selling children's book ever, so it's about time the original rascally rabbit got his own TV show. Youngsters will be charmed by this cozy animated special, which originally aired on the Family Channel. Both story and animation remain faithful to Beatrix Potter's classic tales and characters, including "The Tale of Benjamin Bunny," "The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies and Mrs. Tittlemouse," and, of course, Peter. Let's hope this special will be the first of many. Bring on Squirrel Nutkin and the Tailor of Gloucester! (TV-G)
FRIDAY - 3/28
NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament (ESPN, 7-11:30 p.m.): The ladies get their time in the limelight as the women's Final Four go head to head.
SATURDAY - 3/29
NCAA Basketball Tournament (CBS, 5:30-10 p.m.): A big night for hoops as the men's Final Four square off at Indianapolis's RCA Dome.
About Us: the Dignity of Children (ABC, 8-10 p.m.): This moving documentary, hosted by Oprah Winfrey, starts off as a light look at some very cute children. But don't be fooled. It quickly abandons the fluff for powerful stories about childhood and the importance of protecting the innocence of children. Some of the remarkable stories include an interview with a teenage mother, a boy trying to survive in the inner city, and reminiscences about growing up by authors Brent Staples ("Parallel Time: Growing Up in Black and White") and Laura Cunningham ("Sleeping Arrangements"). As a young man who used to ride the subway for hours at night to escape his abusive parents says, "Childhood has got to be one of the most misunderstood eras in any person's life. It's so idealized with beauty and awe and wonder. The problem is, for many children that doesn't happen." (TV-14)
TV-Y All Children
TV-Y7 Directed to Older Children
TV-G General Audience
TV-PG Parental Guidance Suggested
TV-14 Parents Strongly Cautioned
TV-M Mature Audience Only