PICK OF THE WEEK
XVIII Winter Olympics
Friday, Feb. 6
8-11 p.m. (CBS)
TV highlights for the week of Jan. 31-Feb. 6. All times are Eastern; check local listings.
Australian Open (ESPN, 10 p.m.-1 a.m.): The road to the men's final has been a minefield: Patrick Rafter, Andre Agassi, and returning champ Pete Sampras all lost. The players still in contention at press time are Marcelo Rios, Petr Korda, Karol Kucera, and Nicolas Escude - none of whom has ever won a Grand Slam singles event. File under year of the underdog.
Inside 'The X-Files' (Fox, 9-10 p.m.): This one-hour special features interviews with series creator/executive producer Chris Carter and cast members David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson. Rounding out the special are never-before-seen segments from the show, bloopers, and a preview of the coming feature film. (TV-14, V)
The Love Letter (CBS, 9-11 p.m.): In this appealing story, a young man finds a letter in a Civil War-era desk written 134 years earlier by a young woman. When he writes to her on a whim, she writes back, the letters appearing in the desk. The two fall in love, defying time and space. Part of the Hallmark Hall of Fame series. Starring Jennifer Jason Leigh and Campbell Scott. (TV-G)
Three (WB, 9-10 p.m.): Set a thief to catch a thief is the meat-and-potatoes of this season premire. Based on "It Takes a Thief" and "Mission: Impossible," the plot features The Man (David Warner), a mysterious figure who blackmails three criminals to do his bidding - a jewel thief (Jonathan Vance), a street-smart con (Amanda Webb), and a computer hacker (Marcus Miller). Action compensates for an ill-defined story line. (TV-PG, V)
VH1's Before They Were Rock Stars (VH1, 9-10 p.m.): This program takes a look at musical stars before they struck it big - bad-hair days included. Sting reveals how his favorite sweater helped create his nickname, and Billy Joel explains why he took up boxing as a teenager. The special also features Jewel, Bruce Springsteen, and Madonna. (TV-PG)
American Masters (PBS, 9-10 p.m.): Mel Stuart's tribute to Billy Wilder, the legendary Hollywood director who made "Double Indemnity," "Sunset Boulevard," and "The Apartment."
Great Performances (PBS, 10-11:30 p.m.): "Porgy and Bess: an American Voice" is an engaging documentary exploring George and Ira Gershwin's folk opera. The work is based on DuBose Heyward's novel "Porgy" - a racially sensitive story of a crippled beggar and a shady lady. Some like it, some don't. "Negroes had been pictured in the usual clichs ... [my father] didn't like the opera at all," recounts Anne Brown, the original "Bess." Poet Maya Angelou, a veteran of a 1954 "Porgy" tour, says, " 'Porgy and Bess' is truth, a human truth." (TV-G)
XVIII Winter Olympics (CBS, 8-11 p.m.): Let the Games begin. Over the next 17 days, CBS will broadcast 128 hours of athletic winter indulgence from Nagano, Japan, including some firsts: snowboarding, women's ice hockey, and the participation of hockey pros. Figure skater Midori Ito, silver medalist in 1992, will light the flame at the opening ceremony.