A Year in TV Guide: 1989 is a year-long project to review all 52 issues of TV Guide magazine published during 1989. Every week, I’ll share my thoughts about the issue of TV Guide published exactly 30 years earlier. My goal is to examine what was written about television three decades ago while highlighting the short-lived and forgotten TV shows on network television during 1989.
April 15th, 1989
Vol. 37, No. 15, Issue #1881
On the Cover: Joan Collins, by Mario Casilli
This week’s issue includes seven articles plus a picture feature:
- Joan Collins’ Parting Shots at Dynasty, by Michael Leahy
- Baseball Stadiums, by Herma M. Rosenthal
- TV Evangelists, by Doug Hill
- Greg Evigan of My Two Dads, by Betty Goodwin
- Duet’s Jdi Thelen, by Jane Marion
- World Monitor, by John Weisman
- Jess Walton of The Young and the Restless, by Elaine Warren
- Picture Feature: Long Dazed Journey into Prime Time, by Michael A. Lipton
The article about World Monitor is the best of a weak selection of articles this week. I had never heard of the news program, a companion to the Christian Science Monitor newspaper, before reading about it in this issue. It debuted on September 12th, 1988–the same day as USA Today: The Television Show, which earned low ratings and negative reviews. World Monitor, airing on The Discovery Channel, is likewise low-rated: it averages roughly 300,000 viewers each weeknight. Yet it is popular with critics and has become a haven for network news cast-offs like John Hart, Sanford Socolow, and Meredith Lewis.
[World Monitor moved to The Monitor Channel, a 24-hour cable news channel, in May 1991. The channel folded less than a year later.]
I skimmed the articles about Joan Collins, Greg Evigan, and Jess Walton. Fans of Dynasty, My Two Dads, and The Young and the Restless may find these 30-year-old profiles interesting. I can’t say I do.
I skipped the articles about baseball stadiums and TV evangelists. The article about Jodi Thelen is not an article at all, just a small box with information about her hobbies and dream roles.
The picture feature is about NBC’s upcoming miniseries Around the World in 80 Days, starring Pierce Brosnan.
TV Guide Insider
[TV Guide Insider includes the following features: Grapevine, Soaps, Sports View, Video Cassette Report, and Cheers ‘n’ Jeers.]
Lawrence Eisenberg’s Grapevine includes tidbits about Katey Sagal’s experience walking around New York City, Lynn Whitfield’s thoughts on how TV casts blacks, how NBC almost censored Dennis Miller, and more. Alan Carter shares stories about Trent Bushey, Hillary Bailey Smith, and Linda Dano in Soaps. Mel Durslag’s Sports View tackles the Dodgers winning and the Orioles losing.
Prices from the Video Cassette Report for movies on VHS: Bat 21 ($89.95), Cocktail ($89.95), Crossing Delancey ($89.95), Dead Ringers ($89.95), Gorillas in the Mist ($89.95), Son of Frankenstein ($29.95), Sweethearts ($29.95), They Live ($89.95). Cheers ‘n’ Jeers praises the evolution of Peter Scolari’s character on Newhart, criticizes CNN for putting a logo in the lower right-hand corner of the screen, laments how Tour of Duty has shifted focus this season, and applauds the “consistency and cleverness” of Knots Landing this season.
Merrill Panitt reviews ABC’s Burning Questions. The specials “bombard the viewer with so many startling facts that the program transcends its documentary format and becomes an engrossing experience.” Panitt is a big fan:
Documentaries make for relatively inexpensive programming. Still, it couldn’t have been easy for a network to decide upon a series that asks, “How could this happen in America?” Most of us understandably prefer to laugh at a sitcom or watch a drama rather than tune to a mostly downbeat program about problems. Which is why the network deserves high praise, not only for scheduling the series, but for doing it so well that the specials hold our attention as firmly as an outstanding drama would.”
The Program Section
[The Program Section includes the following features: Letters, TV Guide Plus, This Week, This Week’s Movies, Four-Star Movies, This Week’s Sports, Channel Directory, Pay-TV Movie Guide, TV Crossword Puzzle, and Horoscope.]
[Although TV Guide published the first and last names of those who wrote letters, for privacy reasons I will only be sharing the first name and the first letter of the last name.]
Three of the eight letters respond to articles about The Women of Brewster Place and/or women reporters, both published in the March 18th issue. Here are two:
I was awed by the magnificent portrayals by all the actresses in “The Women of Brewster Place,” not just the three featured in your article. This drama far surpasses any recent movies I’ve seen at the theater.
Marion K. Y.
Ellenburg Depot, N.Y.
The sexist nature of two of the articles in your March 18 issue–“Are Women Reporters Better Than Men?” and “‘The Women of Brewster Place’: There’s Oprah, Jackee, Robin Givens–and a Break Men May Not Deserve”–becomes apparent when you reverse the genders. Male bashing seems to be in vogue, and because the women’s movement has succeeded in putting men on the defensive, we (men) are considered safe targets for the media. Contrary to the last title, these days we deserve every break we can get!
Florham Park, N.J.
TV Guide Plus
[TV Guide Plus includes the following categories: In The News, On The Grapevine, and The Ratings Race.]
There are two In the News reports this week, one about Larry Hagman’s reactions to shooting scenes in Moscow and Linda Gray’s departure from Dallas, the other rating Oscar parties.
On the Grapevine contains three reports this week. The Equalizer is getting a love interest, Avery Brooks will play piano in the May 6th episode of A Man Called Hawk, and upcoming Quantum Leap episodes will see Scott Bakula’s character cause the great Northeast blackout of 1965 and teach a young Michael Jackson how to moonwalk.
According to The Ratings Race, the first Sunday installment of Moonlighting (on April 2nd) ranked fourth in its time slot with a series-low 6.9 rating and 11 share, making it one of the five lowest-rated networks shows of the week.
See my review of the January 7th, 1989 issue for the Channel Directory to the Toledo-Lima Edition.
- [Cable Close Up] Movie: Beetlejuice (HBO, Saturday at 8:30AM)
- Around the World in 80 Days (NBC, Sunday at 9PM)
- Movie: A Deadly Silence (ABC, Sunday at 9PM)
- Frontline, “A Shakespeare Mystery” (PBS, Tuesday at 9PM)
- Movie: A Great Wall (PBS, Wednesday at 9PM)
- Afterschool Special, “Torn Between Two Fathers” (ABC, Thursday at 4PM)
- Firing Line, “Sanctions and Apartheid (PBS, Thursday at 10PM)
Do You Remember…?
Saturday, April 15th, 1989
9PM ABC (24) (2) (6) (7D) (21) MAN CALLED HAWK (CC)–Crime Drama; 60 min.
When Hawk (Avery Brooks) and Old Man’s ailing sister are among those taken hostage inside a hospital, Hawk attempts to give the gunmen a taste of their own medicine.
9:30PM NBC (13) (35) (4) (4D) (22) (33) ONE OF THE BOYS (CC)–Comedy
Debut: Former waitress Maria Navarro (Maria Conchita Alonso) settles in as the new office manager at Lukowski Construction, where she finds owner Mike Lukowski (Robert Clohessy) also in need of some management in his personal life.
10PM ABC (24) (2) (6) (7D) (21) MEN (CC); 60 min.
The guys consider pooling their money for a sailboat, but Charlie (Ving Rhames) must first deal with sinking self-esteem after losing his job, while Paul (Saul Rubinek) thinks his ship has come in after a favorable audition for a TV talk-show spot.
Monday, April 17th, 1989
8PM CBS (11) (2D) (7) (10) (15) LIVE-IN (CC)–Comedy
Circumstantial evidence is all Danny (Chris Young) needs to convict his father (Hugh Maguire) of sharing Danny’s prurient interest in Lisa (Lisa Patrick).
8:30PM CBS (11) (2D) (7) (10) (15) HEARTLAND (CC)–Comedy
Gus (Devin Ratray) proves that chivalry isn’t dead–nor is the male ego–when he quits the wrestling team to avoid grappling with a girl.
[Another episode airs two hours later tonight.]
NBC (13) (35) (4) (4D) (22) (23) NEARLY DEPARTED (CC)–Comedy
Grant (Eric Idle) has a supernatural adventure in baby-sitting when Grampa (Henderson Forsythe) asks him to watch Derek (Jay Lambert), who invites a girl (Shonda Whipple) over to “study.”
9PM ABC (24) (6) (7D) (21) B.L. STRYKER (CC)–Crime Drama
Stryker’s incorrigible Aunt Sue (Maureen Stapleton) will stop at nothing to aqcuire an old mansion for herself and two septuagenarian friends, while four thugs are “urging” B.L. (Burt Reynolds) to “get out of the business.”
10:30PM CBS (11) (2D) (7) (10) (15) HEARTLAND (CC)–Comedy
B.L. and Tom (Brian Keith, Richard Gilliland) go at each other like angry bulls, and B.L. bolts from the house. Meanwhile, Johnny schemes to go skinny-dipping. (Repeat)
Tuesday, April 18th, 1989
9:30PM ABC (24) (2) (6) (7D) (21) HAVE FAITH (CC)–Comedy
Debut: A “divine” comedy about a passel of parish priests in Chicago, with Cubs fan Monsignor “Mac” MacKenzie (Joel Higgins) officiating. In the opener, Father Tuttle (Frank Hamilton) wields a ruler to enforce classroom discipline; and an overzealous job applicant (Francesca Roberts) anoints herself Mac’s secretary.
Wednesday, April 19th, 1989
9:30PM ABC (24) (2) (6) (7D) (21) ROBERT GUILLAUME (CC)–Comedy
Ann (Wendy Phillips) swears she’ll learn how to drive even if it kills her–and her teacher (Robert Guillaume) too.
Thursday, April 20th, 1989
9:30PM NBC (13) (35) (4) (4D) (22) (33) NICK & HILLARY
In a revamped, jazzed-up version of the drama “Tattinger’s,” which aired last fall, Nick (Stephen Collins) leaves the restaurant in Hillary’s hands when he goes to Brazil, and comes back to find a revamped, jazzed-up version of the eatery.
[Moves to Wednesday next week.]
Friday, April 21st, 1989
8PM NBC (13) (35) (4) (4D) (22) (33) JIM HENSON (CC); 60 min.
Ted Danson joins Kermit and the Muppets for a day at the beach that includes a brush with pirates and a lesson about the evolution of humans. Songs: “Splish Splash” and “Maneater.” The story is about a man from “Lighthouse Island,” who has an unusual experience when he bicycles into town to buy his fiancee a wedding present.
10PM NBC (13) (35) (4) (4D) (22) (33) DREAM STREET–Drama; 60 min.
At a particularly romantic moment, Marianne (Jo Anderson) invites Denis (Dale Midkiff) to her house; Harry (Peter Fretchette) sets his sights on getting back his stereo system from his ex-wife (Wendy Makkena); and Joey (Thomas Calabro) meets Joni’s parents, who are less than thrilled with his line of work.
Another lackluster issue but there sure were a lot of short-lived, forgotten TV shows on the air this week 30 years ago.
That’s it for this issue. Check back next week for my review of the April 22nd, 1989 issue of TV Guide. As always, hit the comments with any thoughts or reactions.