PICK OF THE WEEK
US Open Tennis Championships
Begins Monday, Aug. 25, 11 a.m.
(USA and CBS)
TV highlights for the week of August 24-30. All times are Eastern; check local listings. Ratings are listed for shows when available (see explanation below).
SUNDAY - 8/24
George Wallace (TNT, 8-10 p.m.): Gary Sinise's powerful performance fuels this well-done movie about the former governor of Alabama. Wallace's life certainly doesn't lack for dramatic material: the segregationist staring down the National Guard in 1963, the presidential hopeful running unsuccessfully four times, the victim of a shooting that left him paralyzed, and finally, the repentant apologizing for his earlier racism. With so much to draw from in real life, it's surprising that director John Frankenheimer chooses to cloud the facts. Viewers will likely be disappointed to learn that the most fascinating relationship in the movie, between Wallace and his servant, a black ex-con named Archie, never really happened. Clarence Williams III co-stars as Archie, and Mare Winningham portrays Wallace's first wife, Lurleen. Part 2 airs Tuesday. (TV-14) Viewers who'd like to compare fiction with fact can check out A&E's Biography on Wallace (Wednesday, 8-9 p.m.).
The Last of the Mohicans (ABC, 8:30-11 p.m.): An engaging retelling of James Fenimore Cooper's classic tale about life on the frontier. The 1992 film features romance and violent battles for Hawkeye (Daniel Day-Lewis) and the Indians who raised him. (TV-14)
Behind the Music (VH1, 9-11 p.m.): Unlike "Storytellers," a show where artists talk about the lyrics behind their music, this series centers around music's business side. The program's debut explores controversial issues and trends that shape the music world, including artist/management battles and drug abuse. Ever wonder what happened to Boy George or how MC Hammer lost millions of dollars? This show will answer those questions. (The series will air 9-10 p.m. every Sunday.)
MONDAY - 8/25
Cosby (CBS, 8-8:30 p.m.): Ruth (Phylicia Rashad) gets her chance to sing the blues when Patti LaBelle guest-stars on this repeat. Also, '80s fans get a blast from Cosby shows past: Keisha Knight Pulliam (Rudy on "The Cosby Show") has a cameo. (TV-G)
Good News (UPN, 9-9:30 p.m.): Two years ago, everyone wanted to be "Friends." Last year, viewers were treated to a mess of "X-Files" clones. This year, look for a slew of new "spiritual" sitcoms. The first of these shows to be "touched by an angel" is equal parts "Amen" and "Sister Act," and the most promising of UPN's new fall lineup. David Ramsey stars as a new inner-city preacher struggling to lead his flock through a valley of '90s problems. Ramsey is likable, and while it's lacking in laughs, the gospel numbers provide some welcome energy. (TV-G)
Searching for Bobby Fischer (ABC, 9-11 p.m.): This 1993 movie about a chess prodigy is a charmer and perfect family fare. In addition to a stellar cast - including Ben Kingsley, Laurence Fishburne, Joan Allen, and Max Pomeranc as the young wiz - its touching, un-Hollywood message about winning and losing offers lessons for competitive children and their parents alike. Based on a true story. (TV-G)
US Open Tennis Championships (USA, 11 a.m.- 4 p.m.; 7-11 p.m.): America's premier tennis tournament begins with men's and women's early-round play, and will feature more than 84 hours of live tennis over two weeks (the championships conclude Sept. 4). See if two-time reigning champion Pete Sampras can keep his winning streak alive and if the young Swiss player, Martina Hingis, can stay on top. Michael Chang and Carlos Moya are the ones to watch on the men's side, while Monica Seles and Lindsay Davenport will serve up some tough competition on the women's. Analysts John McEnroe and Tracy Austin, among others, will call the shots. Check local listings for daily times. CBS is airing a highlight show, 12:37-1:07 a.m. each weekday, and full coverage on Saturday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
TUESDAY - 8/26
Moesha (UPN, 8-8:30 p.m.): A breath of fresh air breezes through UPN's summer lineup as this highly likable sitcom has its third season premire. Before she enters a new private school, Moesha (Brandy) tries to enjoy her last days of freedom. Another new episode follows at the show's regular time. (TV-G)
Hitz (UPN, 9-9:30 p.m.): Andrew Dice Clay is the big name in this crass, boring new show set at a record label. Most of the "jokes" can't be repeated here, but Clay is going to have to come up with better lines than his opener, "Shut your pie-hole, Snapperhead," if he expects a hit on his hands. (TV-PG)
Head Over Heels (UPN, 9:30-10 p.m.): The plot centers around Jack and Warren Baldwin, two competitive young brothers who own and operate Head Over Heels, a South Beach, Fla., video dating service. In the premire episode, Warren's wife files for divorce, so Jack tries to cheer him up by setting him up on a date. Except for a few funny lines from the male receptionist, played by Patrick Bristow (of "Ellen" fame), the lines are corny and the plot is flimsy. (TV-PG)
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