A Year in TV Guide: August 26th, 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 #34
August 26th, 1989
Vol. 37, No. 34, Issue #1900
Toledo-Lima Edition

On the Cover: Oprah Winfrey, art by Chris Notarile

  • Scan of the front cover to the August 26th, 1989 issue of TV Guide magazine
    Cover to the August 26th, 1989 issue of TV Guide | Copyright 1989 Triangle Publications, Inc.

The Magazine


This week’s issue includes six articles:

  • The Richest Woman on TV? Oprah! by Andrew Feinberg
  • Grant Shaud of Murphy Brown, by Jane Marion
  • Stuntmen and Crew, Beware: Injuries and Deaths on the Set, by Timothy Carlson
  • Robert Stack of Unsolved Mysteries, by Bill Davidson
  • Actresses Who Pose Nude, by Andy Meisler
  • With Less Linguine, Tom Lasorda Isn’t Managing So Well, by Melvin Durslag

I never watched The Oprah Winfrey Show but of course I know who Oprah is and a little about her career. I did not know she was a limited partner in a Chicago restaurant called The Eccentric. According to the article, “she generally spends one or two nights a week greeting people and dashing from table to table.” A sidebar runs though other wealthy women in television, including Marcy Carsey, Mary Tyler Moore, Susan Harris, and Joan Rivers.

I skimmed the article about the dangers facing stuntmen, which references several incidents during filming that resulted in serious injuries or deaths, plus statistics from the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration as well as the Screen Actors Guild.

“In reality,” Andy Meisler writes in his article about actresses who undressed for Playboy, “appearing in the nude has as much effect as getting a new set of publicity photos. It’s a maneuver that is based on a miscalculation and desperation and a large amount of pure, unadulterated naivete.” Only a few actresses were willing to comment for the article, including Judy Norton-Taylor, Audrey Landers, and Jenilee Harrison. All three agreed posing for Playboy had no impact on their career.

The article about Grant Shaud is a half-page “The Scoop” box. I skipped the profiles of Robert Stack and Dodgers manager Tom Lasorda.

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 Anna Maria Horsford racing, John Tesh trying to loosen up for Entertainment Tonight, Harry Groener’s love of New York, and more. Alan Carter shares stories about Peter Love, Julia Barr and Richard Shoberg, and Morgan Englund in Soaps. Mel Durslag’s Sports View tackles North Carolina State basketball coach Jim Valvano on The Lighter Side of Sports and Jim Palmer covering the Little League World Series for ABC.

Prices from the Video Cassette Report for movies on VHS: Beaches ($89.95), Bert Rigby, You’re a Fool ($89.95), Disorganized Crime ($89.95), The Naked Gun (N/A), Stalking Danger ($79.95). Cheers ‘n’ Jeers criticizes A Current Affair for “flashing pictures and silly graphics on the screen during interviews to mock and contradict its guests,” praises Dann Florek on L.A. Law, applauds CBS This Morning‘s economics correspondent Robert Krulwich, and bids a cheerful farewell to Jim Backus, Vic Perrin, and Mel Blanc.


[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.]

There are four news reports in this week. The first is a lengthy overview of how characters on L.A. Law, Head of the Class, Designing Women, and The Cosby Show will look different this fall. Other articles discuss Ed O’Neill and Katey Sagal looking for big raises, Richard Threlkeld’s departure from ABC News, and mud wrestling on pay-per-view.


[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 an article about tabloid television published in the August 5th issue. Here are two:

The American people are weary of having their lives trashed and trespassed upon by the G.O.D.S. (Geraldo, Oprah, Donahue and Sally), who try to prove that exploding cars, blazing guns, yelling people and obligatory sex at every turn of the road are somehow relevant to the American way of life. Freedom of speech does not include freedom to desecrate life. Maybe someday they will get the word, and modify their programming accordingly.
Peter W. E.
Amarillo, Texas

I say hurrah for so-called “tabloid TV.” It is the only area of television that even recognizes the existence of gays and lesbians. Granted, they are treated as curiosities on these shows, but at least they get visibility–and the chance to prove that they are no different than others in their dreams and aspirations.
Marianne G.C. S.
Stamford, Conn.

Channel Directory

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

The Listings

Close Ups

  • Evening at the Pops, “An Evening with the Coal Miner’s Daughters” (PBS, Saturday at 8PM)
  • World Series of Golf (CBS, Saturday/Sunday at 4PM)
  • [Cable Close Up] Movie: Clean and Sober (HBO, Sunday at 9PM)
  • American Masters, “Lillian Gish: The Actor’s Life for Me” (PBS, Monday at 9PM)
  • ABC News Special, “Blacks in White America” (ABC, Tuesday at 10PM)
  • National Driving Test (CBS, Tuesday at 10PM)
  • [Cable Close Up] Movie: Big (HBO, Friday at 8AM/8PM)

Do You Remember…?

Saturday, August 26th, 1989
8:30PM NBC (13) (4) (4D) (22) (33) 13 EAST–Comedy
Frazier (Wayne Powers) believes that a story on the hospital by an exploitative TV host will be good PR, but the host sees the story from a different perspective.

9PM ABC (24) (2) (6) (7D) (21) B.L. STRYKER (CC)–Crime Drama; 2 hrs.
Return: 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. (Repeat)

10PM CBS (11) (2D) (7) (10) (15) WEST 57TH (CC); 60 min.
Scheduled: A 1988 tribute to singer Roy Orbison (1936-1988); a February profile of director Henry Jaglom (“Someone to Love”); and a January report on a former policeman who works to expose racism in Southern California police departments. (Repeat)

Sunday, August 27th, 1989
9:30PM FOX (36) (28) (50D) OPEN HOUSE–Comedy
Debut: This spinoff from “Duet” focuses on the real-estate office where Linda Phillips (Alison LaPlaca) is carving out a new career while, in the opener, attempting to outshine a co-worker (Philip Charles MacKenzie), as both curry favor with the boss (Jon Cypher), who’s soon to announce a promotion.
[Postponed from an earlier date.]

Wednesday, August 30th, 1989
9:30PM NBC (13) (35) (4) (4D) (22) (33) FM (CC)–Comedy
Two big topics around the station: Gretchen’s new flame, and the fact that a bartender gave her phone number to Ted (Robert Hays)–to give to Harrison (Fred Applegate).

Thursday, August 31st, 1989
8PM ABC (24) (2) (6) (7D) (21) MAN CALLED HAWK (CC)–Crime Drama; 60 min.
A hit man wants to put Hawk (Avery Brooks) on ice when Hawk comes into possession of stolen South African diamonds. Singer Valerie Simpsons performs in a cameo. (Repeat)
[Beginning next week, “Mission: Impossible” airs at this time.]

Friday, September 1st, 1989
8PM NBC (13) (4) (4D) (22) (33) HOUND TOWN–Cartoon
In an animated tale of suburban canines, shy mutt Rusty is conned into throwing a party while his family is away, thanks to scheming Great Dane Napoleon, who has a self-serving plan for Rusty to meet a classy show dog named Sasha. A pilot not on NBC’s announced fall schedule.

8:30PM NBC (13) (4) (4D) (22) (33) ONLY TEMPORARY
Temporary-agency employee Barbara (Chelsea Field) finds her job may be just that when her fellow workers and roommates–her ditsy sister and equally ditsy friend (Lisa Kudrow, Christie Mellor)–continually mess up. A pilot not on NBC’s announced fall schedule.

Final Thoughts

This issue wasn’t quite as dull as last week’s issue, but it came close. Hopefully things will pick up in September as the new TV seasons approaches. On television, viewers could sample the premiere of new FOX sitcom Open House, new episodes of 13 East and FM, and a pair of unsold sitcom pilots.

That’s it for this issue. Check back next week for my review of the September 2nd, 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: August 26th, 1989”

  1. This cover created quite a bit of controversy as that was clearly NOT Oprah’s body! The magazine was later forced to admit they put Oprah’s head on Ann Margaret’s body!

      1. Oh please, have you even seen a photo of Oprah? She has NEVER been that thin!!

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