A Year in TV Guide: August 19th, 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 #33
August 19th, 1989
Vol. 37, No. 33, Issue #1899
Toledo-Lima Edition

On the Cover: Crystal Gayle and Loretta Lynn, by Bill Bernstein

  • Scan of the front cover to the August 19th, 1989 issue of TV Guide magazine
    Cover to the August 19th, 1989 issue of TV Guide | Copyright 1989 Triangle Publications, Inc.

The Magazine


This week’s issue includes six articles:

  • Hollywood’s Drug Scene–How Bad Is It Now? by Gordon Dillow
  • Edie McClurg of The Hogan Family, by Elaine Warren
  • This Week: Loretta Lynn and Crystal Gayle, by Neil Hickey
  • Book Bonus: Running Touch, by Tony Dorsett with Harvey Frommer
  • Rating the Breakfast-Show Sets, by Howard Polskin
  • Ilene Graff of Mr. Belvedere, by Elaine Warren

This may be the least-interesting issue of TV Guide I’ve reviewed this year, filled with three profiles, a book excerpt, an article about drugs in Hollywood, and a very brief analysis of the sets seen on morning network talk shows. I skimmed the article about Hollywood’s drug scene, which claims cocaine is no longer considered hip and cool so it isn’t used as heavily–and as openly–as it once was. Hollywood has become anti-drug, both on screen and behind the scenes. Those that still use cocaine do it alone, secretly, fearful of negatively impacting their careers.

Howard Polskin’s look at morning network talk show sets is less than two pages long. He ranks the sets for Good Morning America (ABC), CBS This Morning (CBS), and Today (NBC) using multiple categories, including Overall Ambience (CBS This Morning wins), Artwork (CBS This Morning wins again), Most Livable (Good Morning America), and Most Unlivable (Today).

I skipped the excerpt from Tony Dorsett’s book Running Tough as well as the profiles of Loretta Lynn and Crystal Gayle, Edie McClurg, and Ilene Graff.

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 David Coulier flopping during a stand-up routine, Katherine Helmond’s summer-stock theater in the Catskills, Carol Leifer’s thoughts on cruises, and more. Alan Carter shares stories about Paul Johanson, Michael Swan, and Lynn Herring in Soaps. Mel Durslag’s Sports View tackles ESPN pit reporter Jerry Punch.

Prices from the Video Cassette Report for movies on VHS: The Beer Drinker’s Guide to Fitness and Filmmaking ($89.95), I Am The Law ($69.95), The Lady in Question ($69.95), Little Dorrit ($89.95), Patty Hearst ($89.95), Tap ($89.95), Ten Wanted Men ($69.95), The Wizard of Oz ($24.95). Cheers ‘n’ Jeers criticizes The Pat Sajack Show for “tinkering with elements that were functioning well to begin with,” praises Friday Night Videos on NBC, laments the “copycat syndrome pervading television,” and applauds ESPN’s daytime block of exercise shows.


[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 the following categories: On the Grapevine]

There are four news reports in this week, including a long one examining why Roseanne Barr wasn’t nominated for Emmy Awards. There are also articles about a pair of biopics about Rock Hudson, Sam Donaldson’s thoughts on PrimeTime Live, and Connie Chung’s new CBS newsmagazine (a reworked version of West 57th).

On the Grapevine contains just two reports, one about pregnant actresses playing pregnant characters on television and the other about Rick Springfield’s upcoming CBS made-for-TV movie Nick Knight.


[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 nine letters respond to an article about Married…with Children published in the July 29th issue. Here are three:

Married… is hilarious and fresh. It offends exactly the right people (people who, according to John Cleese, need to be offended). It’s the only intelligent, grown-up, American-produced TV show on any network. I deeply resent wealthy women who have nothing better to do than try to control what I watch.
Malcolm K. M.

Yes, Married…with Children is occasionally raunchy. So was Shakespeare. So what?
Martin W. S.
Springfield, Mo.

It seems to me the show’s creators get a big kick out of an unfunny lack of taste. This dull, humorless, soft-porn “comedy” needs all the promotional effort Fox can muster to give the illusion of audience support.
Mary J. M.
Portland, Ore.

Channel Directory

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

The Listings

Close Ups

  • Wide World of Sports, “Highlight: The Travers Stakes” (ABC, Saturday at 4:30PM)
  • [Cable Close Up] Movie: Married to the Mob (Showtime, Saturday at 8PM)
  • [Cable Close Up] Movie: Tailspin: Behind the Korean Airliner Tragedy (HBO, Sunday at 9PM)
  • American Masters, “Neil Simon: Not Just for Laughs” (PBS, Monday at 9PM)
  • Movie: The Thomas Crown Affair (WGTE [PBS?], Thursday at 9PM)

Do You Remember…?

Saturday, August 19th, 1989
8:30PM NBC (13) (35) (4) (4D) (22) (33) 13 EAST–Comedy
After Monique (Jan Cobler) opines that Maggie’s job is a cushy one, Maggie (Diana Bellamy) agrees to work the floor while Monique assumes head-nurse duties.

Tuesday, August 22nd, 1989
8PM CBS (11) (2D) (7) (10) (15) SUMMER PLAYHOUSE (CC)–Science Fiction
Rachel Morgan (Joanna Going) is the marshal of a sleepy human “Outpost” on the planet Icarus, but her colony is threatened when a vicious alien named Regnad arms a group of native Icari and leads them on the warpath.

Wednesday, August 23rd, 1989
8:00PM CBS (11) (2D) (7) (10) (15) SMOTHERS BROTHERS; 60 min.
Performing are opera singer Julia Migenes, Glen Campbell (and son Cal), John Hartford (and son Jamie), Geoffrey Lewis and Celestial Navigations, Prof. Irwin Corey, Dick Smothers Jr. and rock group Kamikaze, comedians Ritch Shydner and Ed Yeager, Jim Stafford with Flatnose the tree-climbing dog, and Bill Dana as matador Jose Jimenez. Pat Paulsen.
[Last scheduled show]

9:30PM NBC (13) (35) (4) (4D) (22) (33) FM (CC)–Comedy
Lee-Ann (Patricia Richardson) returns to the station when Ted (Robert Hays) begins interviewing candidates for his assistant, including the son of a potential station benefactor and a now gorgeous woman Ted used to baby-sit.

10PM NBC (13) (35) (4) (4D) (22) (33) YESTERDAY, TODAY & TOMORROW (CC)–Comedy
Scheduled: A retrospective on the 1968 My Lai massacre; and a report on America’s $100 billion home-remodeling industry. Correspondents: Chuck Scarborough, Mary Alice Williams and Maria Shriver.
[Time approximate on Ch. 4D.]

Thursday, August 24th, 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 he didn’t shoot his pregnant girlfriend. (Repeat)
[Postponed from an earlier date.]

Final Thoughts

Readers had little to enjoy in this issue and not much to watch on television, either. return of football filled multiple hours this week. The networks only offered one unsold pilot (Summer Playhouse on CBS). There were also a new episodes of 13 East and FM plus the second “pilot” episode of flop newsmagazine Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow.

That’s it for this issue. Check back next week for my review of the August 26th, 1989 issue of TV Guide. As always, hit the comments with any thoughts or reactions.

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