A Year in TV Guide: September 16th, 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 #37
September 16th, 1989
Vol. 37, No. 37, Issue #1903
Dayton Edition

On the Cover: Roseanne Barr and Bill Cosby, by Chris Notarile

  • Scan of the front cover to the September 16th, 1989 issue of TV Guide magazine
    Cover to the September 16th, 1989 issue of TV Guide | Copyright 1989 Triangle Publications, Inc.

The Magazine


This week’s issue includes just three articles, two of which continue TV Guide‘s fall preview:

  • What to Expect from Your Favorite Shows, by Andy Meisler
  • Four More to Watch, by Andy Meisler
  • Head of the Class’s Jeannetta Arnette, by Dawn Hudson

[Also listed in the table of contents is “Who Really Deserves the Emmys?” by Marilyn Beck, which appears in the TV Guide Plus feature in the Program Section.]

The bulk of the issue consists of a 14-page article by Andy Meisler giving readers details on changes to returning TV shows, ranging from ALF to Cheers to Dallas to Full House to Head of the Class to The ABC Mystery Movie. For some shows, Meisler provides quote from executive producers about what viewers can expect to see when new episodes return. There’s also a one-page article by Meisler focusing on four shows not included in his other article: Married…with Children, Newhart, thirtysomething, and Wiseguy.

The third and final article is a one-page “The Scoop” profile of actress Bernadette Meara, which I didn’t read.

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 Tim and Daphne Maxell Reid marriage, Sarah Purcell’s repetitious interview with Edward Albee, Jack Scalia’s former job working at a Campbell Soup factory, and more. Alan Carter shares stories about Joanna Johnson, Judith McConnell, and Billy Hufsey in Soaps. Mel Durslag’s Sports View tackles athletes who only care about their egos and money plus the drawbacks of television on college athletics.

Prices from the Video Cassette Report for movies on VHS: Baby It’s You ($29.95), Cousins ($29.95), Fletch Lives ($89.95), Her Alibi ($89.95), The January Man ($89.98), The Land Before Time ($29.95), Moontrap ($89.95), Skin Deep ($89.95). Cheers ‘n’ Jeers criticizes the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for not nominating the cast of Designing Women for Lead Actress in a Comedy Series Award, praises Lifetime for picking up The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd after NBC cancelled the sitcom, laments “the use of electronic gimmickry to jazz up TV news shows” like Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, and applauds CBS Sports for its Th!nk Fast! series.


Robert MacKenzie reviews NBC’s Quantum Leap. “Writers must like the notion of this returning NBC hour,” he declares. “Any pet story idea that has been festering in a drawer can be given a little CPR and be born again as a Quantum Leap episode.” The show is “more fun when it keeps its tongue in its cheek than when it turns meaningful on us,” he continues, and some of the scripts aren’t very good.

The Program Section

[The Program Section includes the following features: Letters, TV Guide Plus, This Week, This Week’s Movies, Four-Star Movies, Soap Opera Guide, This Week’s Sports, Channel Directory, Pay-TV Movie Guide, TV Crossword Puzzle, and Horoscope.]

TV Guide Plus

[TV Guide Plus includes news reports.]

There are six news reports this week, including a lengthy look at the Emmy Awards by Marilyn Beck. Other reports: Donald Trump will help judge this year’s Miss America pageant; Arsenio Hall has had scary encounters with fans; Joan Van Ark may leave Knots Landing; Roger Rees previews his Cheers character Robin Colcord; and Newhart actress Julia Duffy had her baby a month early, necessitating some last-minute rewriting of a script featuring her character.


[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.]

Two of the five letters respond to an article rating morning talk show sets published in the August 19th, 1989 issue. Here they are:

TV GUIDE, you have egg on your face! A viewer doesn’t rate the breakfast talk shows on their decor. It’s the news and entertainment values that are important [“Who’s Top of the Morning? Who’s Got Egg on Their Faces? Rating the Breakfast-Show Sets,” Aug. 19]!
Sherry O.
San Ramon, Cal.

Regarding your article comparing the various morning news shows, I have found that if you want the views, you watch the networks; if you want the news, you watch CNN. I would recommend to CBS This Morning’s Kathleen Sullivan that she wear a longer skirt, get a taller table or change the name of the show to Flash the Nation.
Jane H.
Dalton, Ga.

Channel Directory

See my review of the March 4th, 1989 issue for the Channel Directory to the Dayton Edition.

The Listings

Close Ups

  • College Football: Notre Dame at Michigan (ABC, Saturday at 3:30PM)
  • [Cable Close-Up] Movie: The Heist (HBO, Saturday at 8PM)
  • The 63rd Annual Miss America Pageant (NBC, Saturday at 10PM)
  • NFL Football: Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals (NBC, Sunday at 1PM)
  • Movie: Prizzi’s Honor (ABC, Sunday at 8PM)
  • Emmy Awards (FOX, Sunday at 8PM)
  • Movie: Roxanne (CBS, Sunday at 9PM)
  • Live from Lincoln Center (PBS, Wednesday at 8PM)
  • PrimeTime Live (ABC, Thursday at 9PM)

Do You Remember…?

Saturday, September 16th, 1989
8:30PM ABC (2) (6) (12) HOMEROOM (CC)–Comedy
Debut: Fourth-grade teacher Darryl Harper (Darryl Sivad) instills respect for education in his inner-city students, but he’d settle for some respect, period, from his father-in-law (Bill Cobbs). In the opener, wife Virginia (Penny Johnson) helps Darryl learn a lesson about himself after his kids cheat at a big math meet.
[Beginning next Sunday, the series airs in its regular time slot.]

9:30PM NBC (4) (5) (22) SISTER KATE (CC)–Comedy
Debut: Sister Katherine Lambert (Stephanie Beacham) is a no-nonsense nun sent to care for seven obstreperous orphans at the diocesan Redemption House. Her first challenge in the opener is 16-year-old April (Erin Reed), who’s afraid her date (Christian Hoff) will find out she’s an orphan.
[Another episode airs Thursday.]

Sunday, September 17th, 1989
8PM CBS (7) (8) (10) PREMIERE PREVIEW; 60 min.
Angela Lansbury hosts this look at CBS’s fall shows, with Candice Bergen, Delta Burke, Richard Chamberlain, Jon Cryer, Mary Gross, Jeffrey Jones, Tim and Daphne Maxwell Reid, Lindsay Wagner. Also included: the debut of “Major Dad,” a comedy with Gerald McRaney as Maj. John D. “Mac” MacGillis, USMC. In the opener, Mac goes to battle with reporter Polly Cooper (Shanna Reed), a widowed mother of three girls, over an article she wrote about the Marines.
[Another episode of “Major Dad” airs tomorrow in the series’ regular time slot.]

10:45PM ABC (2) (6) (12) FALL PREVIEW (CC)
Alan Thicke screens scenes from ABC’s new hourlong series: “Life Goes On,” a family drama; and “The Young Riders,” a Western.

Monday, September 18th, 1989
8:30PM CBS (7) (9) (10) PEOPLE NEXT DOOR (CC)
Debut: Cartoonist Walter Kellogg (Jeffrey Jones) has the uncanny ability to make things appear just by imagining them. Trouble is, his fiancee, psychologist Abigail MacIntyre (Mary Gross) doesn’t yet know his secret until, in the opener, Walter’s worst nightmare comes to life on his wedding day.

9PM FOX (12) (28) (45) ALIEN NATION (CC)–Drama; 2 hrs.
Debut: George Francisco (Eric Pierpoint) and his family are among the 300,000 former alien slaves called Newcomers who’ve been stranded on Earth. In the opener, the Franciscos adjust to a new neighborhood–and vice versa–while George, an LAPD detective, and his partner Matthew Sikes (Gary Graham) investigate the disappearance of a vagrant’s corpse, and a mysterious file kept by Sikes’ late partner. Based on the 1988 movie.

9:30PM CBS (7) (9) (10) FAMOUS TEDDY Z (CC)–Comedy
Debut: Jon Cryer is Teddy Zakalokis, a 23-year-old ex-GI whose mailroom job at a Hollywood talent agency may be more temporary than he expected when an obnoxious star takes advantage of his good nature.

Tuesday, September 19th, 1989
9PM CBS (7) (9) (10) WOLF (CC)–Crime Drama; 60 min.
Tony (Jack Scalia) has his hands full as the coach of Angie’s softball team and, off the playing field, working for a Seattle industrialist whose wife ran out on him.

9:30PM ABC (2) (6) (12) CHICKEN SOUP (CC)–Comedy
Maddie (Lynn Redgrave) gets the same negative reaction from her brother Michael (Brandon Maggart) that Jackie (Jackie Mason) got from his mother, but even Jackie’s considerable charm can’t melt Michael’s cold Irish heart.

10PM CBS (7) (9) (10) ISLAND SON (CC)–Drama ; 60 min.
Debut: Richard Chamberlain dons a TV stethoscope again after 23 years, this time as Dr. Daniel Kulani, an adopted son of Hawaiian parents. In his first case, Daniel must ask a young mother to donate the heart of her daughter, near death after an accident, to a boy in need of a transplant.

Wednesday, September 20th, 1989
8PM CBS (7) (9) (10) PEACEABLE KINGDOM (CC)–Drama; 60 min.
Debut: New zoo director Rebecca Cafferty (Lindsay Wagner) brings a menagerie of her own–three kids and a seal–to live and work at the Los Angeles County Zoo. In the opener, Rebecca tries to keep from going ape when a series of crises threatens to scuttle the opening of the new gorilla exhibit.

9PM NBC (4) (5) (22) NUTT HOUSE (CC); 60 min.
Debut: Room service comes with sight gags at a New York hotel, courtesy of unflappable manager Reginald J. Tarkington (Harvey Korman) and the lustful head of housekeeping Ms. Frick (Cloris Leachman). In the opener, hotel matriarch Edwina Nutt (also played by Leachman) puts her ne’er-do-well grandson Charles (Brian McNamara) in charge of stopping a hostile takeover by a Texas hotel magnate.

Thursday, September 21st, 1989
8:30PM NBC (4) (5) (22) SISTER KATE (CC)–Comedy
Kate (Stephanie Beacham) tries an unusual tack to snuff Freddy’s smoking habit, and Neville (Joel Robinson) burns because Violet (Alexaundria Simmons) may have found adoptive parents (Dennis Howard, Nancy Lenehan).
[Beginning next Sunday, “Sister Kate” airs in its regular time slot.]

9PM CBS (7) (9) (10) TOP OF THE HILL (CC)–Drama; 2 hrs.
Debut: Mr. Thomas Bell (William Katt) goes to Washington to fill his ailing father’s seat in the House, and gets personally involved in his constituents’ problems. In the opener, Tom travels to Latin America to find a man’s missing son, a DEA agent.

9:30PM NBC (4) (5) (22) HARDBALL (CC)–Crime Drama; 90 min.
Debut: Despite his age–or maybe because of it–veteran cop Charlie Battles (John Ashton) fumes at the prospect of a desk job. But he gets a reprieve in the opener, teaming with young Joe “Kaz” Kaczierowski (Richard Tyson) to protect a witness, a mobster’s wife whom Charlie knows too well.

Friday, September 22nd, 1989
8PM CBS (7) (9) (10) SNOOPS (CC)–Mystery; 60 min.
Debut: Tim and Daphne Maxwell Reid play Chance and Micki Dennis, a Washington, D.C. criminologist and State Department aide who have a penchant for solving mysteries. In the opener, a cocky student in Chance’s class gets more attention than he bargained for when he makes a case against the police findings in a four-year-old murder case.

9:30PM ABC (2) (6) (12) FREE SPIRIT (CC)–Comedy
Debut: Thomas Harper (Franc Luz) is a divorced lawyer who has little time for his three children and needs a housekeeper. When Winnie the witch (Corinne Bohrer) materializes in the opener, the kids want her to become the housekeeper, but her antics don’t bewitch Thomas–and he doesn’t even know she’s a witch.
[Beginning next Sunday, the series airs at its regular time.]

Final Thoughts

The 1989-1990 television season has finally started. There’s not much of interest within the pages of TV Guide, although the lengthy overview of changes to returning shows may have been useful to viewers 30 years ago. On television, however, it’s another story, with plenty of new and returning shows to watch. A dozen short-lived TV shows debuted during the week, many I hadn’t heard of before. As I’ve mentioned, I’m not as familiar with forgotten TV shows from the late 1980s and early 1990s so I’ll be learning about these flops as my journey through 1989 continues.

That’s it for this issue. Check back next week for my review of the September 23rd, 1989 issue of TV Guide. As always, hit the comments with any thoughts or reactions.

One Reply to “A Year in TV Guide: September 16th, 1989”

  1. It’s funny to see this cover again after 30 years! Who would have thought the biggest stars on TV would be a racist and a rapist? Then again, consider that we have both in the Oval Office!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.