A Year in TV Guide: September 2nd, 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 #35
September 2nd, 1989
Vol. 37, No. 35, Issue #1901
Toledo-Lima Edition

On the Cover: Miss America 1989, Gretchen Carlson, by John M. Frank/CP News Service; Lawrence Taylor, Mark Rypien and Eric Dorsey, by Focus on Sports

  • Scan of the front cover to the September 2nd, 1989 issue of TV Guide magazine
    Cover to the September 2nd, 1989 issue of TV Guide | Copyright 1989 Triangle Publications, Inc.

The Magazine


This week’s issue includes seven articles:

  • Was Last Year’s Miss America Voting Suspect? by Lisa DePaulo
  • Monday Night Football Should Cut the Show Biz, by Melvin Durslag
  • Watch Out for Joan Lunden’s Surprise Offensive, by Doug Hill
  • Funny You Should Ask, by Jane Marion
  • What Parents Can Do When Teachers Fail, by Patrick Walsh
  • Jonathan Banks of Wiseguy, by Jane Marion
  • Dale Midkiff in “The Tracey Thurman Story,” by Susan Littwin

I didn’t read either of the cover articles, one of which has almost nothing to do with television. Although the Miss America pageant is televised, the article is not about NBC’s upcoming broadcast on September 16th. Instead, it looks back at rule changes introduced during the previous year’s pageant. The other article is about a television program, ABC’s Monday Night Football, but it’s not something I’m interested in reading about.

I also skipped the article about parents and teachers, timed to coincide with a special titled “The Truth About Teachers” airing in local syndication throughout September, and Jane Marion’s one-page “Funny You Should Ask” article.

So what did I read in this issue? The one-page profile of Jonathan Banks, which mentions his love of doughnuts but not his role in short-lived Otherworld (CBS, 1985). I skimmed the longer profile of Joan Lunden, which briefly discusses her new syndicated talk show Everyday with Joan Lunden. [It ran for just one season.] And I skimmed the one-page profile of Dale Midkiff, who starred in NBC’s short-lived Dream Street, which ran for six episodes earlier in 1989.

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 Loretta Swit’s animal activism, Shannon Tweed’s thoughts on fur coats, Angie Dickinson’s scary plane ride, and more. Alan Carter shares stories about Joe Mascolo, Christopher Norris, and Jeff Conaway in Soaps. Mel Durslag’s Sports View tackles the 10th anniversary of ESPN, San Diego Padres manager Jack McKeon, and Orlando Magic play-by-play announcer Chip Caray.

Prices from the Video Cassette Report for movies on VHS: Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure ($89.98), Dream a Little Dream ($89.98), Jacknife ($89.99), Rain Man ($89.95), The Stay Awake ($79.98), Wings of Desire ($79.98). Cheers ‘n’ Jeers praises the “growing acceptance of pregnancy on TV,” criticizes Totally Hidden Video for focusing on perpetrators rather than victims, laments a Baby Fresh Wet Wipes commercial that recreates the opening credits to thirtysomething, and chastises ABC and ESPN for “”subpar” golf coverage.


[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 five news reports this week. The first is a lengthy story about The Young and the Restless costar Terry Lester quitting and moving to Santa Barbara. Other reports discuss John Palmer leaving Today, a paparazzo suing Roseanne Barr, Michael Jackson’s California Raisins commercial, and whether NBC will shift the start of prime time on the West Coast to 7PM from 8PM.


[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 eight letters respond to an article about female news reporters published in the August 12th issue. Here are two:

Maria Shriver, Diane Sawyer, Connie Chung, and Mary Alice Williams are four extremely intelligent and classy women who have proven they can hold their own against their male counterparts. Yet in the illustration accompanying your article you have chosen to portray them as mere sex objects. The extreme hairstyles, tight, low-cut black dresses, fishnet stockings and spike heels degrade them. If I were any one of them, I would be extremely insulted.
Laura D.
Wonder Lake, Ill.

Newswomen deserve to be taken seriously. Next time, focus a little more on credentials and a little less on cleavage.
Melissa R.
Dayton, Ohio

Channel Directory

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

The Listings

Close Ups

  • Horse Racing: The Arlington Million (ABC, Sunday at 5PM)
  • [Cable Close Up] NFL Dream Season (ESPN, Sunday at 8PM)
  • [Cable Close Up] Movie: Crossing Delaney (HBO, Sunday at 8PM)
  • College Football: Illinois vs. USC (ABC, Monday at 8PM)
  • President and Mrs. Bush (PBS, Tuesday at 8PM)
  • Presidential Address (ABC/CBS/CNN/C-SPAN/PBS, Tuesday at 9PM)
  • NBC News Special – “The R.A.C.E., Part 1” (NBC, Tuesday at 10:30PM)
  • Intifada: The Palestinians and Israel (PBS, Wednesday at 9PM)
  • Video Music Awards (MTV, Wednesday at 9PM)

Do You Remember…?

Saturday, September 2nd, 1989
8:30PM NBC (13) (4) (4D) (22) (33) 13 EAST–Comedy
Having told his parents he’s married with children, Newman (Timothy Wade) gets Kelly (Barbra Isenberg) to help cover the holes in his story, but she falls ill, apparently too late to get anyone else.
[Last show. “Amen” moves here next week.]

9PM ABC (24) (2) (6) (7D) (21) GIDEON OLIVER (CC)–Crime Drama; 2 hrs.
Gideon (Louis Gossett Jr.) fears that his brilliant protege, an estranged member of a tong family, may be drawn into a war for power in Chinatown. (Repeat)

Sunday, September 3rd, 1989
9:30PM FOX (36) (28) (50D) OPEN HOUSE–Comedy
Laura (Mary Page Keller) has a new life, and maybe a new job, if the new boss at Juan Verde decides she’s worth keeping–and isn’t involved in the embezzlement of company funds.

Monday, September 4th, 1989
8:30PM CBS (11) (2D) (7) (10) (15) STARTING NOW
An aspiring actress (Ricki Lake) who works as a gofer on a children’s show digs herself into a hole when she brings home the show’s starring rabbit and it dies. A pilot not on CBS’s announced fall schedule.

10:30PM CBS (11) (2D) (7) (10) (15) JULIE BROWN: THE SHOW–Comedy
Julie Brown stars as “Julie Brown,” frantically romping through an angry breakup with her restaurateur boyfriend and the taping of her talk show, which features a humble director (Adam Arkin), a handsome co-host (Larry Poindexter), a pompous producer (Marcia Strassman) and Julie’s “Garage Band.” A pilot not on CBS’s announced fall schedule.

Wednesday, September 6th, 1989
9:30PM NBC (13) (35) (4) (22) (33) FM (CC)–Comedy
After a surreptitious move on Lee-Ann (Patricia Richardson) during an interview, a senator with a reputation for roving makes a more open play toward Gretchen (DeLane Matthews).

Friday, September 8th, 1989
8PM NBC (13) (4) (4D) (22) (33) WHO SHRUNK SATURDAY MORNING?
The kids from “Saved By the Bell,” shrunken by Screech’s electronic minimizer, wander through a fantasy land of NBC’s Saturday-morning children’s shows as they search for a way back to school.

Bronson Pinchot and Mark Linn-Baker (“Perfect Strangers”) take a look at ABC’s Saturday-morning lineup of cartoons, including the new series “Bettlejuice” about the adventures of an eccentric ghost in Neitherworld.

Final Thoughts

The long, dull summer repeat season is finally coming to an end. The articles in this issue are some of the worst yet. On television, viewers could watch new episodes of 13 East, Open House, and FM, plus another pair of unsold pilots, and two Saturday-morning fall preview specials. Not bad.

That’s it for this issue. Check back next week for my review of the September 9th, 1989 issue of TV Guide. As always, hit the comments with any thoughts or reactions.

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2 Replies to “A Year in TV Guide: September 2nd, 1989”

  1. When I was growing up in the 1960s and 70s two television staples that I thought would last forever was the Miss America pageant on NBC over the Labor Day weekend, and Saturday morning cartoons.

    In 1989 both were still a big deal. I suppose young viewers can’t understand why the Miss America pageant was so popular, but for decades it was the only national beauty / talent pageant around, and it was a yearly tradition to watch a well-produced “variety show” where the winner got a crown, plus money for college.

    In my home everyone first hoped Miss Pennsylvania would win (the “local” young lady) but after she was eliminated we all chose our favorite to hope over.

    I believe I still watched the Miss America pageant in the 1980s, just because it had been a family tradition.

  2. I taped NBC’s “Who Shrunk Saturday Morning?” and dubbed it to DVD awhile back. It’s the last of the Saturday morning preview specials that I recall seeing, though I was already well past childhood at the time and rarely watched any Saturday morning programs.

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