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.
July 15th, 1989
Vol. 37, No. 28, Issue #1894
On the Cover (from top): Tom Brokaw, by Forrest Anderson/Gamma-Liaison; Peter Jennings, by Joe McNally;
Andrew Andrea Mitchell; and Lesley Stahl
This week’s issue includes five articles:
- The 1989 Network News All-Star Team
- If They Turned Me Loose on the Moon, by Isaac Asimov
- thirtysomething’s Melanie Mayron
- Attention, Kids: Sesame Street Wants You, by Andrea Darvi Plate
- MTV’s Julie Brown, by Howard Polskin
The cover article isn’t much of an article. For the second year in a row, TV Guide asked a TV critic, academics, and media professionals to vote for the best network news anchors and reporters. Peter Jennings (ABC) and Tom Brokaw (NBC) tied for Best Anchor, just as they did in 1988. John Hart was voted Best Anchor (Cable). The remaining 11 categories covered various news beats ranging from White House to Defense to Foreign to General Assignment to Best All-Around. For two categories (Defense and Economics/Business) there was no winner.
Although I’m much too young to have watched network news in 1989, I recognize many of the names on the 1989 Network News All-Star Team, like Lesley Stahl (CBS, White House), Andrew Mitchell (NBC, Congress), Bob Simon (CBS, Foreign), and Charles Kural (CBS, Specialty).
I read Isaac Asimov’s article about what he’d do on the Moon, timed to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the first lunar landing on July 20th, 1969. He wouldn’t perform any scientific experiments because he’s a writer, not a scientist adept at experimentation. Instead, Asimov would “see the sights” as a tourist. Specifically, he’d like to be on the Moon during a lunar eclipse.
According to Andrew Darvi Plate’s article about casting kids on Sesame Street, the long-running PBS educational show has a talent pool of 250 to 300 youngsters, most between the ages of three and seven. A few particularly talented kids may stay until they’re 10 or 12 but that’s it. The three and four year old “teenies” typically don’t have a problem interacting with the fantasy world of Sesame Street. They don’t realize it’s a TV show. Older kids may be disappointed to learn Big Bird isn’t real. Producers on the show always have backup kids ready in case a scene isn’t working.
I skipped the profiles of thirtysomething actress Melanie Mayron and MTV’s Julie Brown.
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 Dr. Ruth Westheimer, Ed O’Neill’s childhood, Hope Lange’s career, and more. Alan Carter shares stories about Michael David Morrison, Kate Collins, and Michael Zaslow in Soaps. Mel Durslag’s Sports View tackles Fred Hickman’s troubles with addiction.
Prices from the Video Cassette Report for movies on VHS: The Boost ($89.99), Dangerous Liaisons ($89.95), Physical Evidence ($89.99), Talk Radio ($89.95), True Believer ($89.95), Who’s Harry Crumb? ($89.95). Cheers ‘n’ Jeers criticizes comic Paul Rodriguez for a joke about an airline disaster on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, praises “Our Common Future” for raising money and awareness about the environment, laments the “monotonous opening monologues” on Saturday Night Live, and applauds Bryant Gumbel for acting warmer and kinder.
[There is no review in this issue.]
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 news reports and following categories: On the Grapevine, The Ratings Race, and Soap Opera Guide.]
There are two news reports in this issue, one about Susan Lucci’s losing streak at the Daytime Emmy Awards and another about how ABC tried and failed to reunite the cast of Dynasty for a TV movie.
On the Grapevine contains four reports, one of which reveals Steve Dunleavy of The Reporters on FOX spent two days locked up in a maximum security prison in Louisiana. “Obviously, I knew I was going to get out, but there was this feeling that I had no control over my life,” he explains. “It’s a complete rape of your ego. I didn’t know I had such an ego until I wasn’t who I was.”
According to The Ratings Race, three network shows have seen their ratings improve during the summer months: Dear John (NBC), Newhart (CBS), and Miami Vice (NBC).
[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 seven letters respond to an article about love stories on daytime soaps published in the June 24th issue. But here’s a letter from a frustrated fan of Beauty and the Beast:
If Beauty and the Beast has had a little trouble with the ratings, it’s because the writers forgot who they were writing for [“On the Grapevine: Beauty, the Beast and the Baby,” June 10]. The show’s audience is women. We watch it for the heart and soul. The writers are giving us blood and guts. Enough already! If we want screaming and yelling and growling, we’ll get it from our husbands.
See my review of the January 7th, 1989 issue for the Channel Directory to the Toledo-Lima Edition.
- Cops, “Policing the Streets in the Soviet Union” (FOX, Saturday at 8PM)
- [Cable Close Up] Moonwalk: As It Happened 1969 (A&E, Sunday at 9:20AM/Thursday at 10:30PM)
- Women’s Golf: U.S. Women’s Open (ABC, Saturday at 2:30PM/Sunday at 3:30PM)
- Movie: The Attic: The Hiding of Anne Frank (Repeat, CBS, Sunday at 9PM)
- American Masters, “Celebrating Bird: The Triumph of Charlie Parker” (PBS, Monday at 9PM)
- Movie: P.O.V. – Who Killed Vincent Chin? (PBS, Thursday at 10PM)
Do You Remember…?
Saturday, July 15th, 1989
8:30PM NBC (13) (35) (4) (4D) (22) (33) WALLY AND THE VALENTINES (CC)–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.
[Postponed from an earlier date.]
10PM CBS (11) (2D) (7) (10) (15) WEST 57TH (CC)–Newsmagazine; 60 min.
Scheduled: A February report for a Minnesota woman whose attempts to care for her female lover injured in a 1983 car accident have been rebuffed by the victim’s parents; an April segment on a Florida drug-enforcement program in which women who give birth to crack-addicted babies are prosecuted for child abuse; and a 1988 profile of Billy Crystal. (Repeat)
Sunday, July 16th, 1989
7PM NBC (13) (35) (4) (4D) (22) (33) JIM HENSON (CC); 60 min.
Guest Smokey Robinson performs “Just to See Her” and “Jump” with some help from Solid Foam, the all-Muppet house band; while Kermit goes all out promoting health and fitness. Later, Henson introduces a tale about a golden frog named Milton (voice of Dave Goelz) and his animal friends, who harmonize on “The Song of the Cloud Forest.” The Uprights: Fran Brill, Jerry Nelson.
8PM ABC (24) (2) (6) (7D) (21) HAVE FAITH (CC)–Comedy
The jury’s out on whether Father Gabe (Stephen Furst) will go behind bars to deliver last rites to his prison pen pal (William Windom), who’s been writing from death row. (Repeat)
Monday, July 17th, 1989
10:30PM CBS (11) (2D) (7) (10) (15) DOCTOR, DOCTOR (CC)–Comedy
As a favor to Dierdre (Maureen Mueller), Mike (Matt Frewer) makes a house call on a cantankerous diabetic (Dion Anderson) who turns out to be Dierdre’s bitter father.
Wednesday, July 19th, 1989
9:30PM NBC (13) (35) (4) (4D) (22) (33) KNIGHT & DAYE (CC)–Comedy
When a New York station offers Knight and Daye a job, only Hank (Jack Warden) goes to take a bite out of the Big Apple, and each is left with a core of a show.
ABC (24) (2) (6) (7D) (21) ROBERT GUILLAUME (CC)–Comedy
A great deal of sentiment is attached to the rock Ann (Wendy Phillips) gives Edward (Robert Guillaume), so things get a bit rocky after he nonchalantly tosses it away.
Thursday, July 20th, 1989
9PM CBS (11) (2D) (7) (10) (15) CAVANAUGHS (CC)
On the eve of his 72nd birthday, Pop (Barnard Hughes) is afraid he’ll fall prey to the Cavanaugh Curse–whose victims don’t make it past 71.
9:30PM CBS (11) (2D) (7) (10) (15) COMING OF AGE (CC)
Van Johnson plays Ed’s recently widowed brother Red, whose down in the dumps visiting at the Dunes until he meets the seductive Pauline (Ruta Lee) at an upbeat party in his honor.
Friday, July 21st, 1989
9:30PM ABC (24) (2) (6) (7D) (21) PHILBY (CC)
The new bodyguard for a TV talk-show hostess finds his employer strangely impervious to his charm, while she thinks he’s meddlesome and overbearing. A pilot not on ABC’s announced fall schedule.
There wasn’t much of interest to read about or watch this week. Knight & Daye continued it’s brief run while both NBC and ABC aired unsold sitcom pilots.
That’s it for this issue. Check back next week for my review of the July 22nd, 1989 issue of TV Guide. As always, hit the comments with any thoughts or reactions.