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.
May 13th, 1989
Vol. 37, No. 19, Issue #1885
On the Cover: Tracy Scoggins, by Tony Coasta
This week’s issue includes six articles:
- Family Ties: Our Final Season, by Michael Gross
- That’s How the Dynasty Crumbles, by Eric Goodman
- Is Network News Getting Better–or Worse? by Ed Joyce
- The Truth About Tracy Scoggins, by Elaine Warren
- Ricky Schroder After Silver Spoons, by Bill Davidson
- Geraldo Rivera’s Compromising Tattoo, by Jane Marion
Michael Gross looks back at the final season of NBC’s Family Ties in a dairy-style article, with entries starting on September 12th, 1988 with the first rehearsal day of the season and concluding on April 10th, 1989 with a tale about the epic game of tag Gross and Tina Yothers have been playing for years. In between are entries about Gross suffering a nasty head wound (covered successfully by makeup man Bron Roylance), Brian Bonsall selling rocks, an unnamed guest star replaced overnight due to the producers opting for “a slightly different ‘type’,” and Meredith Baxter filing for divorce. It’s an fascinating look behind the scenes of the show.
Ed Joyce’s article about the quality of network news is largely negative. The former president of CBS News feels the networks are sabotaging themselves by laying off news staff and closing international bureaus. He hopes CNN is up to the challenge of running an “expanding global news service” while the networks worry more about stock prices than news. “They are creating a situation in which they will become increasingly irrelevant,” Joyce concludes.
The cover article about Tracy Scoggins is interesting because apparently many of the stories she told writer Elaine Warren about herself and her life were lies, including her age. She claims to be 30 but according to her birth certificate, she’s 35.
There’s also a profile of Ricky Schroder (“a very angry young man”), a one-page article about how cast of Dynasty waiting to hear if the show is coming back next season, and another one-page article about Geraldo Rivera’s tattoo.
Robert MacKenzie reviews Paradise, a show that “looks to revive the TV Western in a purse and respectful form, saving most of the movie traditions but discarding some of the sillier ones.” He likes the scenery and the cast and appreciates the show’s simplicity. “If the old-movie West is largely baloney, it is good baloney, and this series earnestly serves it up, free of spoofery.”
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 Mary Tyler Moore’s thoughts on drinking, Meshach Taylor’s previous job at a massage parlor, Mary Kay Place’s concerns about the “monkey-see, monkey-do mentality” in Hollywood, and more. Alan Carter shares stories about John Loprieno, Katherine Kelly Lang, Linda Cook, Elizabeth Denney, and Nancy Grahn in Soaps. Mel Durslag’s Sports View tackles NBA rookies and how much Chris Mullin improved over the past season.
Prices from the Video Cassette Report for movies on VHS: The French Line ($19.98), Full Moon in Blue Water ($89.95), Madame Sousatzka ($89.95), Till the End of Time ($19.98), Under the Gun ($79.98), Watchers ($89.95). Cheers ‘n’ Jeers praises Billy Crystal’s hosting abilities, laments the “interminable NBA playoffs,” criticizes Arsenio Hall and Geraldo Rivera for “staging shamelessly risque pajama parties on the air,” and applauds George Strait for is health segments on ABC World News Tonight.
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.]
Four of the eight letters respond to Judge Abner H. Mikva’s review of The People’s Court, published in the April 22nd issue. Here are two:
Although the litigants who agree to appear on The People’s Court could use a crash course in “How to Dress and Act Before a Judge” and are ridiculed by millions of viewers for their presentations, no human being should be subjected to the likes of Judge Wapner. He is rude, condescending, impatient and arrogant.
Regarding Judge Mikva’s “Verdict on Judge Wapner,” the court does not stand adjourned! The good Judge Mikva should be sentenced to come down from his “superior” bench and attend small-claims-court trials for a month. There he would find a rich blend of the letter of the law, plus common sense, that results in real justice far more often than appeals-court decisions we have observed over the years.
TV Guide Plus
[TV Guide Plus includes the following categories: In The News, On The Grapevine, Soap Opera Guide, and The Ratings Race.]
There are just two In the News reports this week. The first is a lengthy tribute to Lucille Ball from former TV Guide editorial director Merrill Panitt, who back in 1953 made the decision to put Lucy and her new baby on the cover of the very first issue of TV Guide. The second is about the series finale wrap party for Family Ties.
On the Grapevine contains just one report this week about Ted Shackelford finally getting to guest star in a Western, an episode of Paradise on CBS.
According to The Ratings Race, Guts and Glory: The Rise and Fall of Oliver North performed poorly for CBS with a 14.0/23 rating/share for the first half and a 9.6/15 rating/share for the second half.
See my review of the January 7th, 1989 issue for the Channel Directory to the Toledo-Lima Edition.
- [Cable Close Up] Hall & Oates: Rocking Tokyo (HBO, Saturday at 11PM)
- Golf: The Memorial (ABC, Saturday at 2:30PM/Sunday at 3PM)
- 21 Jump Street, “Partners” (FOX, Sunday at 7PM)
- Family Ties, “Alex Doesn’t Live Here Anymore” (NBC, Sunday at 8PM)
- Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (NBC, Sunday at 9PM)
- War and Remembrance, “The Final Chapter” (ABC, Sunday at 9PM)
- Circus Highlights (CBS, Monday at 8PM)
- Movie: Roe vs. Wade (NBC, Monday at 9PM)
- Newhart, “Murder, He Wrote” (CBS, Monday at 10PM)
- Knots Landing (CBS, Thursday at 9PM)
Do You Remember…?
Saturday, May 13th, 1989
8PM ABC (24) (2) (6) (7D) (21) MAN CALLED HAWK (CC)–Crime Drama; 60 min.
A friend’s death compels Hawk (Avery Brooks) to help a young man prove that he didn’t shoot his pregnant girlfriend. Boxer Thomas Hearns has a cameo.
8:30PM NBC (13) (35) (4) (4D) (22) (33) ONE OF THE BOYS (CC)–Comedy
Maria Conchita (Maria Conchita Alonso) is a member of the wedding, but it’s not part of Mike’s blueprint for her to become a member of his construction crew as well.
9PM CBS (11) (2D) (7) (10) (15) JESSE HAWKES (CC); 60 min.
The Hawkes (Robert, Christian and Shane Conrad) go after a strange bird indeed: a timorous stockbroker who increased his holdings by robbing an armored truck.
[At press time, it was likely that CBS would air this episode and not the one described in CBS’s ad for the program.]
10PM CBS (11) (2D) (7) (10) (15) WEST 57TH (CC); 60 min.
A conversation with Prince Charles, who discusses his concerns about the environment and what executive producer Tom Yellin calls “the frustrating limitations imposed on him by his title.” Also: interviews with people who’ve turned 100.
Sunday, May 14th, 1989
7PM NBC (13) (35) (4) (4D) (22) (23) JIM HENSON (CC); 60 min.
Grammy winner Bobby McFerrin is the guest at Muppet Central, joining Kermit and company for a musical number and commentary. Then Miss Piggy tours Tinsel Town, dropping in (unexpectedly) on some of her favorite stars: Bob Hope, Dudley Moore, George Wendt and Justine Bateman. Also: a muppet-monster soap opera (“hurtingsomething”) and Fozie Bear’s audition at The Comedy Store in West Hollywood.
Monday, May 15th, 1989
9PM ABC (24) (2) (6) (7D) (21) B.L. STRYKER (CC)–Crime Drama; 2 hrs.
Kimberly’s wealthy friend hires Stryker (Burt Reynolds) to find a school for her vexatious grandson, who yearns to join an evangelist more interested in his trust fund than his soul.
Tuesday, May 16th, 1989
9:30PM ABC (24) (2) (6) (7D) (21) HAVE FAITH (CC)–Comedy
Monsignor Mac (Joel Higgins) prays for his own safety after he angers the parishioners by shutting down the weekly bingo game. Meanwhile, Father Gabe (Stephen Furst) goes overboard in preparing for his first big sermon.
Wednesday, May 17th, 1989
9:30PM ABC (24) (2) (6) (7D) (21) ROBERT GUILLAUME (CC)–Comedy
While Edward and Ann (Robert Guillaume, Wendy Phillips) have a great time learning exotic techniques at a psychology seminar, their daughters have a great time just getting acquainted.
Friday, May 19th, 1989
10PM NBC (13) (34) (4) (4D) (22) (33) DREAM STREET
[NOTE: My copy of this issue is missing several pages, including the page with entry for this episode.]
As expected, after last week’s stellar 50th anniversary of TV celebration, this week we’re back to the regular mix of dull articles and useless profiles of actors and actresses.
That’s it for this issue. Check back next week for my review of the May 20th, 1989 issue of TV Guide. As always, hit the comments with any thoughts or reactions.