A Year in TV Guide: May 27th, 1989

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.

Week #21
May 27th, 1989
Vol. 37, No. 21, Issue #1887
Toledo-Lima Edition

On the Cover: Ted Danson and Kirstie Alley, by John Solie

  • Scan of the front cover to the May 27th, 1989 issue of TV Guide magazine
    Cover to the May 27th, 1989 issue of TV Guide | Copyright 1989 Triangle Publications, Inc.

The Magazine


This week’s issue includes eight articles:

  • Cheers Free-for-All
  • Virginia Madsen in “Third Degree Burn” by Louise Farr
  • Commentary: Let’s Stop Turning Rapists into Heroes, by Gerard J Waggett
  • TV Weatherpersons Insist on Hamming it Up, by Roger Simon
  • Women Worth Watching, by Jane O’Reilly
  • Ed O’Neill of Married…with Children, by Rip Rense
  • On a Bad Night, Victoria Jackson Gets $500 a Word, by Ileane Rudolph

The cover article is not an article. Instead, it collects various “memos” written by Rebecca Howe, manager of Cheers, to her staff. Although I’ve seen every episode of Cheers and enjoyed watching them, I didn’t bother reading the memos.

I skimmed the article about how soap operas keep turning rapists into heroes. I don’t follows soaps. I think I watched an episode of General Hospital once with my grandmother. Still, it’s disturbing to read how several characters on soap operas like General Hospital and Ryan’s Hope were later embraced by the women they brutalized–and also, it seems, by viewers. “Rape is a violent crime,” Gerard G Waggett declares. “Rapists are dangerous individuals with serious psychological problems. If a soap operas is going to feature a rape storyline, the writers cannot dismiss those facts.”

I also skimmed the article about women on TV worth watching. Although I’ve heard of all the shows mentioned, like China Beach, Murphy Brown, Designing Women, and Roseanne, I’ve never watched any of them.

I skipped the articles about weatherpersons as TV personalities and how the British view American television. There are also profiles of Virginia Madsen, Ed O’Neill, and Victoria Jackson.


Robert MacKenzie devotes most of his review of new NBC daytime soap opera Generations to explaining the premise and characters, leaving little time to actually review the show. “If this series helps expand the options for minority audiences,” he concludes, “more power to it. Since it seems to be to be as torpid and talky as the other serials, I see no reason why it shouldn’t succeed.”

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 Morgan Fairchild’s political activism, when Brooke Theiss met Meryl Streep, and Paul Rodriguez’s reaction to what contestants say on The Newlywed Game, and more. Alan Carter shares stories about Elizabeth Dennehy, George Reinholt, and Jacklyn Zeman in Soaps. Mel Durslag’s Sports View tackles the cost of racing the Indy Car circuit and the end of Arena Football.

Prices from the Video Cassette Report for movies on VHS: Another Woman ($89.98), Bringing Up Baby ($19.98), Everybody’s All-American ($89.95), The Experts (N/A), Far North ($89.98), High Spirits ($89.95), Return to Mayberry ($29.98), Without a Clue ($89.98). Cheers ‘n’ Jeers criticizes Entertainment Tonight for allowing co-host Mary Hart to promote her exercise video, praises Charlie Rose and Nightwatch, laments the rise of cable-TV rates, and applauds Gary Cole’s performance on Midnight Caller.

The Program Section

[The Program Section includes the following features: 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, Letters, and Horoscope.]

TV Guide Plus

[TV Guide Plus includes the following categories: In The News, On The Grapevine, and Soap Opera Guide.]

There are three In the News reports this week. The first is long report about Harry Reasoner cutting back his role on 60 Minutes due to health issues. Also, NBC will delay the launch of Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow and sportscaster Tim McCarver is near a deal to cover baseball for CBS next season.

On the Grapevine contains four reports. Linda Gray asked Dallas producers not to kill off her character so she can return in the future. Plots for Knots Landing revolve around Karen MacKenzie (played by Michele Lee). Richard Grieco won’t be the traditional private eye on FOX’s upcoming 21 Jump Street spin-off Booker. Head of the Class heads to the Johnson Space Center in Houston to tape an episode for next season.


[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.]

Five of the eight letters respond to the May 6th 50th anniversary of TV issue. Here are three:

I find it difficult to believe that you never mentioned The Waltons. That show was the catalyst for the health-conscious, back-to-nature trend that began in the early ’70s. The Waltons gave the country permission to be a family again, after the turbulent ’60s, and it lasted for nearly one-fifth of the history of television.
Phyllis O. B.
Grand Rapids, Mich.

Every time TV GUIDE takes a nostalgic look back at past TV programs, The Andy Griffith Show is missing. Please give credit to the wonderful characters of Mayberry.
Gayle S.
Texarkana, Texas.

How could you fail to mention Elizabeth Montgomery and her super supernatural sitcom, Bewitched? Montgomery was Emmy-nominated five times for her role as the “witch with a twitch,” Samantha Stephens. She was the fist female sex symbol of the TV generation.
Herbie J. P.
Santa Monica, Cal.

Channel Directory

See my review of the January 7th, 1989 issue for the Channel Directory to the Toledo-Lima Edition.

The Listings

Close Ups

  • Indianapolis 500 (ABC, Saturday at 11AM)
  • Movie: Places in the Heart (NBC, Saturday at 9PM)
  • [Cable Close Up] Movie: Calgary ’88: 16 Days of Glory, Part 2 (Disney, Saturday at 9PM)
  • Arab and Jew (PBS, Monday at 9PM)
  • International Rock Awards (ABC, Wednesday at 9:30PM)

Do You Remember…?

Saturday, May 27th, 1989
9PM CBS (11) (2D) (7) (10) (15) JESSE HAWKES (CC)–Adventure; 60 min.
Cody (Shane Conrad) is among hostages taken by bank robbers led by a homicidal maniac.
[Last scheduled show.]

10PM CBS (11) (2D) (7) (10) (15) WEST 57TH (CC); 60 min.
Scheduled: Racism in the film and television industry; Palestinians who, executive producer Tom Yellin says, “engage in fraud and theft” in the U.S. and “send the money back to the West Bank.”

Sunday, May 28th, 1989
8PM NBC (13) (35) (4) (4D) (22) (33) WALLY AND THE VALENTINES–Comedy
Milquetoast accountant Wally Gills (William Ragsdale) has a surprise in store when he unwillingly takes over his uncle’s talent agency and meets his first clients–the singing Valentine family. A pilot not on NBC’s announced fall schedule.
[“Family Ties” follows.]

Monday, May 29th, 1989
8:30PM CBS (11) (2D) (7) (10) (15) LIVE-IN (CC)–Comedy
Peter (David Moscow) has eyes for his clarinet teacher (Mimi Rose), who has eyes for Danny (Chris Young), who thinks eyeing Peter’s partner will raise a jealous eyebrow on Lisa (Lisa Patrick). (Repeat)

9:30PM NBC (13) (35) (4) (4D) (22) (33) MORTON’S BY THE BAY–Comedy
Nell Carter plays the office manager of a banquet hall who serves up romantic advice to the owner’s son (Alan Ruck) that could wreck a wedding–catered by Morton’s. A pilot not on NBC’s announced fall schedule.

Tuesday, May 30th, 1989
8:30PM ABC (24) HAVE FAITH (CC)–Comedy
The jury’s out on whether Father Gabe (Stephen Furst) will venture behind bars to deliver last rites to his pen pal (William Windom) who’s been corresponding from death row.

9:30PM ABC (24) HAVE FAITH (CC)–Comedy
The jury’s out on whether Father Gabe (Stephen Furst) will venture behind bars to deliver last rites to his pen pal (William Windom) who’s been corresponding from death row.

9:30PM ABC (2) (6) (7D) (21) HAVE FAITH (CC)–Comedy
The jury’s out on whether Father Gabe (Stephen Furst) will venture behind bars to deliver last rites to his pen pal (William Windom) who’s been corresponding from death row.
[Time approximate on Ch. 2.]
[Note: Yes, the above listings are what’s printed in the pages of TV Guide.]

Wednesday, May 31st, 1989
8PM CBS (11) (2D) (7) (10) (15) HARD TIME ON PLANET EARTH (CC)–Adventure; 60 min.
After a dream hints at the cause of his troubles back home, Jesse (Martin Kove) wants to contact his planet’s council and finds a professor experimenting in sending messages to alien life.

10PM NBC (13) (35) (4) (4D) (22) (33) FAIR GAME–Crime Drama; 60 min.
Bounty hunter Joe Maples (Bruce Weitz) teams up with a streetwise ex-con (Carlos Gomez) to catch a bail-jumping former inmate who’s now a bestselling author. A pilot not on NBC’s announced fall schedule.
[Time approximate on Ch. 35.]

Final Thoughts

Three unsold pilots airing on NBC this week? I didn’t expect that but I guess the network needed to fill the hours somehow. Also, I’m curious why Have Faith is scheduled to air twice on one ABC station. It was probably a mistake of some sort.

That’s it for this issue. Check back next week for my review of the June 3rd, 1989 issue of TV Guide. As always, hit the comments with any thoughts or reactions.

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4 Replies to “A Year in TV Guide: May 27th, 1989”

  1. That triple listing for Have Faith was proably unique to that particular regional edition of TV Guide, and it was proably the result of 2 things: [1] I’m not sure, but I suspect this edition may represent stations in 2 time zones [i.e. Eastern and Central]. By the way, could you explain 2, 4, 7, 2D 4D, and 7D? [2] I also suspect at least one of these stations may have had live local sports, which would explain the time approximate footnote. This mistake could not happen today because TV Guide only publishes a national edition. As far as unsold pilots, it was a common practice for many years that networks would run “busted pilots” as filler. Again, this too doesn’t happen anymore as networks can’t sell commercials on these shows, so unsold pilots just stay locked away and are never seen except perhaps on You Tube!

  2. The underlining contained in the Channel Listings Section offers a link that will answer the question.

    1. Ok, so D means Detroit, but why would Detroit channels be listed in an Ohio edition? This may also explain the Have Faith triple listing.

      1. Detroit is close enough to Toledo that the stations may be viewable via broadcast or available on cable.

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