A Year in TV Guide: September 23rd, 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 #38
September 23rd, 1989
Vol. 37, No. 38, Issue #1904
Toledo-Lima Edition

On the Cover (l-r): Kimberly Foster, by Charles William Bush; Khrystyne Haje, by Bernard Boudreau; and Richard Tyson, by Mario Casilli

  • Scan of the front cover to the September 23rd, 1989 issue of TV Guide magazine
    Cover to the September 23rd, 1989 issue of TV Guide | Copyright 1989 Triangle Publications, Inc.

The Magazine


This week’s issue includes five articles, one of which continues TV Guide‘s fall preview:

  • Continuing Our Fall Preview: The Stars You’d Better Keep an Eye On
  • My Bouffant’s Back, by Larry Closs
  • Book Excerpt: The Lessons TV Must Learn When Covering Terrorists, by Robert Kupperman and Jeff Kamen
  • Michael Damian, by Jane Marion
  • The Preppie Murder Case Comes to TV, by Peter H. Brown

This issue continues TV Guide‘s fall preview with an 11-page look at TV stars who “are among the people whose styles on and off screen promise to hold special interest for us in the new season.” They are:

  • Alison LaPlaca (Open House)
  • Richard Tyson (Hardball)
  • Christina Applegate (Married…with Children)
  • Alex Rocco (The Famous Teddy Z)
  • Kimberly Foster (Dallas)
  • Meredith Vieira (60 Minutes)
  • Neil Patrick Harris (Doogie Howser, M.D.)
  • Patrick Peterson (Knots Landing)
  • Khrystyne Haje (Head of the Class)
  • Sasha Mitchell (Dallas)
  • Paul Winfield (227)

A very short, one-page “Picture This…” article spotlights Sandy Duncan in NBC’s made-for-TV movie My Boyfriend’s Back, airing September 25th. There’s also a four-page article examining the murder of Jennifer Levin, the subject of ABC’s made-for-TV movie The Preppie Murder, airing September 24th.

I skipped the book excerpt from Final Warning, an upcoming book by Robert Kupperman and Jeff Kamen and the one-page “The Scoop” profile of Michael Damian.

TV Guide Insider

[TV Guide Insider includes the following features: Grapevine, Soaps, Sports View, Cheers ‘n’ Jeers, and Video Cassette Report.]

Lawrence Eisenberg’s Grapevine includes tidbits about Jon Cryer being mistaken for Matthew Broderick, Dee Wallace Stone’s life growing up in Kansas, Ted Shackelford’s protection dog, and more. Alan Carter shares stories about Todd McDurmont, too many toilets on The Young and the Restless, and Renee Props in Soaps. Mel Durslag’s Sports View tackles the best active boxer and Troy Aikman’s resemblance to Matthew Broderick.

Cheers ‘n’ Jeers criticizes how soap operas depict adoption, praises Ted Turner for funding socially concious movies on TV, laments CBS and ABC scheduling after-school specials during school hours, and applauds Chris Burke’s performance on Life Goes On. Prices from the Video Cassette Report for movies on VHS: Cyborg ($89.95), Echoes in the Darkness ($79.95), Edge of Sanity ($89.95), Every Girl Should Be Married ($19.98), Fast Food ($89.95), One Man Force ($89.95), Powwow Highway ($89.95).


Robert MacKenzie reviews FOX’s Totally Hidden Video. “I chuckle along with this half-hour descendant of Candid Camera like any other voyeuristic booby,” he writes, “but sometimes I wonder if I shouldn’t be scared instead.” The gags are funny, he continues, but it’s unnerving to see what people are willing to do. “I had to admire the adventurous spirit, if not the wisdom, of the young woman who agreed to a new beauty treatment involving hanging her from a rafter by her hair.” MacKenzie notes that Candid Camera‘s Allen Funt is not a fan of Totally Hidden Video.

The Program Section

[The Program Section includes the following features: TV Guide Plus, Letters, 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, one of which is a long look back at the first 14 seasons of Saturday Night Live. Other reports: a focus group reacted negatively to a synopsis of the mid-season premiere of Beauty and the Beast; Chicken Soup star Jackie Mason and executive producer Saul Turteltaub met with members of the Jewish Defense League following the taping of an episode; Catherine Crier, a state district court judge with no television experience, has joined CNN as a new anchor; Chantal Contouri wrote an open letter criticizing her General Hospital co-star Tristan Rogers; and Monday will be the “hottest night” of the new season with tough competition on the Big Three networks and FOX looking to draw younger viewers to its new lineup.


[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 seven letters respond to an article about Oprah Winfrey published in the August 26th, 1989 issue. Here are two:

I agree that Oprah is the richest woman on TV. I’m not referring only to her financial status but to her status as a human being as well. She really cares [about people], and I know this caring would be there even if the money weren’t. She is an inspiration to me.
Gina M.
Linden, Pa.

Oprah may be “the richest woman on TV,” but does she have time to enjoy her wealth? It sounds like she works a 24-hour day trying to keep her hands on her money. In any case, I have great respect for her. She still takes time for her friends–something rare in today’s world.
J. Elizabeth C.
Edmonds, Wash.

Channel Directory

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

The Listings

Close Ups

  • College Football: Michigan vs. UCLA (ABC, Saturday at 8PM)
  • Bob Hope: A Tribute to Lucille Ball (NBC, Saturday at 9:30PM)
  • Connie Chung: God’s Bad Boy (CBS, Saturday at 10PM)
  • Saturday Night Live 15th Anniversary (NBC, Sunday at 9PM)
  • Movie: The Preppie Murder (ABC, Sunday at 9PM)
  • NFL Football: Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals (ABC, Monday at 9PM)
  • American Masters, “W. Eugene Smith: Photography Made Difficult” (PBS, Monday at 9PM)
  • Midnight Caller, “Evil is Live Spelled Backward” (NBC, Tuesday at 9PM)
  • [Cable Close Up] Ivory Wars: The African Elephant’s Fight for Survival (Discovery, Tuesday at (PM)
  • Barbara Walters: Comedy Tonight (ABC, Tuesday at 10PM)

Do You Remember…?

Sunday, September 24th, 1989
7PM NBC (13) (35) (4) (4D) (22) (33) ALF TAKES OVER THE NETWORK; 60 min.
In this preview of NBC’s fall lineup, ALF dreams of controlling the network, detailing to his vice-presidents the changes he envisions in series such as “The Cosby Show,” “227,” “Quantum Leap,” “Midnight Caller,” “Sister Kate” and “Mancuso, FBI.”

FOX (36) (28) (50D) BOOKER–Crime Drama; 60 min.
Debut: Booker (Richard Grieco) exits Jump Street to become head insurance investigator for Teshima Corp. But, in the opener, he detours to help his new assistant, Elaine (Katie Rich), clear a man she feels she wrongly convicted when she was a juror.

8PM NBC (13) (35) (4) (4D) (22) (33) SISTER KATE (CC)–Comedy
All the kids grumble when Kate (Stephanie Beacham) pairs them off in bedrooms, but none as much as Eugene (Harley Cross), who has a secret reason for not wanting a roommate.

ABC (24) (2) (6) (7D) (21) FREE SPIRIT (CC)–Comedy
A warlock (Dann Florek) arrives to retrieve Winnie, who is only on temporary duty with the Harpers, and he tests her love for the family by denying her the use of her powers.

8:30PM ABC (24) (2) (6) (7D) (21) HOMEROOM (CC)–Comedy
Donald (Billy Dee Willis) plays the blues when his friends find out he’s taking piano lessons, and Anthony (Claude Brooks) sings the ame song when his girlfriend dumps him.

9PM CBS (11) (2D) (7) (10) (15) ISLAND SON (CC)–Drama; 60 min.
Daniel’s estranged son Sam (William McNamara) is in Hawaii for a karate match, but still has reservations about seeing his father. Meanwhile, someone seems to be using an apparently alcoholic diabetic as a punching bag.
[Another episode airs Tuesday.]

9:30PM FOX (36) (28) (50D) OPEN HOUSE–Comedy
Fighting with Richard (Chris Lemmon), Linda (Alison LaPlaca) throws herself into her work, prompting Ted (Philip Charles MacKenzie) to plot to throw them together and throw Linda off her hot sales track.
[Postponed from an earlier date.]

10PM CBS (11) (2D) (7) (10) (15) WOLF (CC)–Crime Drama; 60 min.
Lou Ferrigno plays a homeless, developmentally disabled man, who’s charged with kidnapping when he tries to protect an 8-year-old girl from her abusive father. Meanwhile, Connie questions Sal’s motives in romancing her wealthy widowed aunt.
[Another episode airs Tuesday.]

Monday, September 25th, 1989
8:30PM CBS (11) (2D) (7) (10) (15) PEOPLE NEXT DOOR (CC)
Walter (Jeffrey Jones) applies his big-city observations to small-town living and inadvertently insults the townsfolk with his first cartoon from Covington.

9PM FOX (36) (28) (50D) ALIEN NATION (CC)–Drama; 60 min.
After taking a bullet in the arm to save George (Eric Pierpoint), a Newcomer patrolman dies during minor surgery performed by the director of a Newcomer clinc, who’s done quite well since his high-school days with Sikes (Gary Graham).

9:30PM CBS (11) (2D) (7) (10) (15) FAMOUS TEDDY Z (CC)–Comedy
After breaking the news of his new job to his grandmother (Erica Yohn), Teddy (Jon Cryer) gets a quick rundown on what agents do, including watching free movies, making calls, taking lunch–and firing secretaries.

Tuesday, September 26th, 1989
8:30PM ABC (24) (2) (6) (7D) (21) LIVING DOLLS (CC)–Comedy
Debut: Former model Trish Carlin (Michael Learned) acts as agent and housemother for four New York City teenage models: self-centered Caroline (Deborah Tucker); studious Emily (Halle Berry); naive Martha (Alison Elliot); and rebellious newcomer Charlie (Leah Remini), a friend of Samantha Micelli (Alyssa Milano of “Who’s the Boss?”), who comes to interview the girls for her school paper in the opener.
[“Living Dolls” moves to its regular time slot on Saturday. “The Wonder Years” returns here next week.]

9PM CBS (11) (2D) (7) (10) (15) WOLF (CC)–Crime Drama; 60 min.
Tony (Jack Scalia) puts aside his friendship with his old high-school coach to investigate the death of a track star and suspected steroid use at the school.

9:30PM ABC (24) (2) (6) (7D) (21) CHICKEN SOUP (CC)–Comedy
Born salesman Jackie (Jackie Mason) isn’t sure he can sell himself on social work, but when he fills in for Michael (Brandon Maggart) behind the bar, he finds out what he has to offer–advice.

10PM CBS (11) (2D) (7) (10) (15) ISLAND SON (CC)–Drama ; 60 min.
A resident’s mother, herself a renowned surgeon, pressures him to specialize in surgery even though he feels he can’t cut it. Meanwhile, Sam (William McNamara) is entranced by a lovely visitor who turns out to be a patient.

Wednesday, September 27th, 1989
8PM CBS (11) (2D) (7) (10) (15) PEACEABLE KINGDOM (CC)–Drama; 60 min.
Her family is rattled when Rebecca (Lindsay Wagner) is bitten by a snake, and the zoo staff rushes to find the renegade reptile and identify the antivenin.

9:30PM NBC (13) (35) (4) (4D) (22) (33) NUTT HOUSE (CC); 60 min.
An INS inspector comes to the hotel and Ms. Frick (Cloris Leachman) can’t prove her citizenship, but the solution to Ms. Frick’s problem alienates Tarkington (Harvey Korman), the hotel’s most eligible bachelor.

Thursday, September 28th, 1989
9PM CBS (11) (2D) (7) (10) (15) TOP OF THE HILL (CC)–Drama; 60 min.
Tom (William Katt) has no trouble becoming emotionally involved with the plucky young woman who’s advocating an adoption-rights bill–she’s in need of an emergency bone-marrow transplant from her birth mother.

10PM NBC (13) (35) (4) (4D) (22) (33) HARDBALL (CC)–Crime Drama; 60 min.
While working as technical advisors on a film, Charlie and Kaz (John Ashton, Richard Tyson) also assist in guarding an actress whose attacker has just been paroled.
[At press time, it was likely that NBC would air this episode and not the one described in NBC’s ad for the program.]

Friday, September 29th, 1989
8PM CBS (11) (2D) (7) (10) (15) SNOOPS (CC)–Mystery; 60 min.
After one suspect is found dead, Chance (Tim Reid) receives a veiled warning to discontinue his embezzlement investigation.

Final Thoughts

The 1989-1990 television season is in full swing and TV Guide continues its coverage of the new season in this issue. The article about stars to keep an eye on may have been interesting to viewers when it was published 30 years ago. It’s not very interesting to read today. On television, two new shows (Booker on FOX and Living Dolls on ABC) debuted this week. CBS aired two episodes each of new shows Island Son and Wolf in the hopes of attracting viewers.

That’s it for this issue. Check back next week for my review of the September 30th, 1989 issue of TV Guide. As always, hit the comments with any thoughts or reactions.

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