What's On TV

TV highlights for the week of Sept. 26-Oct. 2. Shows listed are not necessarily recommended by the Monitor. All times are Eastern; check local listings.


Girl Crazy (TCM, 6-7:30 a.m.): This 1932 musical-comedy kicks off a 14-hour marathon of George Gershwin's contribution to film in celebration of the maestro's centennial. (See story, below.) (TV-G)


The Island on Bird Street (Showtime, 6-8 p.m.): Emotionally touching and beautifully filmed. Based on an award-winning children's book by the same name, this movie is about the trials and tribulations, the adventures and assiduousness, of a Jewish boy in a Warsaw ghetto under Nazi control. Awaiting his father's return from a concentration camp, young Alex pores over the pages of his favorite book, "Robinson Crusoe," as he hides out in a ramshackle building, and later saves resistance fighters from the Nazis.

Cold War (CNN, 8-9 p.m.): Narrated by Kenneth Branagh, this 24-part series puts on record many of the most significant players of the past 50 years, including three US presidents and an exclusive interview with Cuban leader Fidel Castro.


Major League Baseball (ESPN, 1-7 p.m.; Fox, 8-11 p.m.): The show is over, but the game must go on. After the captivating home-run chase by Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, baseball shifts gears into the postseason today.


To Have & to Hold (CBS, 9-10 p.m.): One of the most appealing new shows of the season, this comedy-drama stars Jason Beghe as a conservative Irish cop in Boston who marries a liberal public defender (Moira Kelly). More than cultures clash in their two approaches to the law. (TV-PG, DL)

Great Performances (PBS, 9-11 p.m.): It's George Gershwin's centennial, and Carnegie Hall opens its 26th concert season with a tribute to the American-music icon. Sharing the stage with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra will be soprano Frederica von Stade and "Ragtime" stars Audra McDonald and Brian Stokes Mitchell. (TV-G)


Mystery! Touching Evil (PBS, 9-11 p.m.): It's present-day England, and three children have been abducted. The only clues so far are a daffodil and a yellow Volvo - strangely reminiscent of an unsolved multiple kidnapping several years before. The series' two-hour opener introduces London's new Organized and Serial Crime unit, headed by Robson Green (pictured left) and Nicola Walker ("Moll Flanders"). A smart and involving mystery. The series continues Thursdays through Nov. 5. (TV-14, L)

Phil Collins Live ... by Request (A&E, 9-11 p.m.): A&E invites viewers to phone or e-mail in their song requests during this interactive concert event with Phil Collins. Visit www.livebyrequest.com for more information. (TV-G)

Friday 10/2

Sessions at West 54th (PBS, time varies): The contemporary-music show launches its second season with a new host, former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne, and features folk-pop singer Lucinda Williams and country group the Mavericks.

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