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.
September 9th, 1989
Vol. 37, No. 36, Issue #1902
Hartford-New Haven Edition
On the Cover: Art by Jeffrey Lynch
This is it. The 1989 Fall Preview issue of TV Guide. In place of the regular (and dull) articles and profiles, the issue is full of previews of the new TV shows debuting on the networks. The issue starts with an “Editors’ Choice” column, in which Chicken Soup (ABC) is declared the likely ratings winner of the new season due to scheduling (it follows Roseanne). But the TV Guide editors call The Famous Teddy Z (CBS) their favorite. Other new shows the editors like include Doogie Howser, M.D. (ABC), Mancuso FBI (NBC), Major Dad (CBS), Hardball (NBC), Open House (FOX), and Baywatch.
There’s also a look at specials (miniseries, made-for-TV movies, news and documentaries, variety, and spectacles); an overview of what to watch on cable this fall (feature films, original programming, golden oldies, comedy, music, documentaries, and sports); and new programming during the daytime.
An “Early Starters” section includes Cops (FOX), Totally Hidden Video (FOX), Open House (FOX), Anything But Love (ABC), Quantum Leap (NBC), and PrimeTime Live (ABC).
Then come the night-by-night previews. Here’s a list of the new shows for Fall 1989:
Living Dolls (ABC)
Life Goes On (ABC)
Free Spirit (ABC)
Sister Kate (NBC)
Major Dad (ABC)
The People Next Door (CBS)
Alien Nation (FOX)
The Famous Teddy Z (CBS)
Rescue: 911 (CBS)
Chicken Soup (ABC)
Island Son (CBS)
Peaceable Kingdom (CBS)
Doogie Howser, M.D. (ABC)
The Nutt House (NBC)
The Young Riders (ABC)
Top of the Hill (CBS)
Family Matters (ABC)
Mancuso FBI (NBC)
Next is a preview of what public TV has to offer this fall, ranging from Masterpiece Theatre to Nova to Live from Lincoln Center to This Old House. There’s also a five-page preview of feature films on television, with Sunday night movies on all three networks, Monday movies on ABC and NBC, and monthly movies on FOX. Then comes sports, changes to returning shows, and syndicated programming.
TV Guide Insider
[There is no TV Guide Insider in this issue.
[There is no review in this issue.]
The Program Section
[The Program Section includes the following features: Nighttime at a Glance, 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 a list of series premieres by date.]
There are four news reports this week. Barbara Walters landed an interview with Fergie, the Duchess of York, beating out her ABC News competitors Diane Sawyer and Sam Donaldson of PrimeTime Live. Other reports: Thomas Ian Griffith will play Rock Hudson in ABC’s The Rock Hudson Story; Telly Savalas is returning as Kojak on The ABC Saturday Mystery; and CNN’s Crossfire is under fire for replacing Tom Braden with Michael Kinsley.
[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 seven letters are about The Pat Sajak Show. Here they are:
I wish you and CBS would stop picking on Pat Sajak [“Cheers ‘n’ Jeers,” Aug. 19]. I find him to be a breath of fresh air. I happen to like the monologue in the middle of the show. Where is it written that the late-night audience has to watch a arbon copy of Carson? Next you’ll be complaining that his sidekick Dan Miller doesn’t react with phony laughs to all his jokes.
Regarding the slide in Sajak’s ratings, I hate to say I told you so. Arsenio Hall gets less hype but has a much more interesting show. CBS should never have canceled [the previous show in Sajak’s time slot] Night Heat.
- U.S. Open Tennis (CBS, Saturday at 11AM/USA, Sunday at 1PM/CBS, Sunday at 4PM)
- [Cable Close Up] Diana Ross: Workin’ Overtime (HBO, Saturday at 10PM)
- NFL Football, New England at New York Jets (NBC, Sunday at 4PM)
- From the Heart (NBC, Sunday at 8PM)
- NFL Football, New York Giants at Washington (ABC, Monday at 9PM)
- American Masters, “Neil Simon: Not Just for Laughs” (PBS, Monday at 9PM)
- Tommy (FOX, Wednesday at 8PM)
- Afterschool Special, “My Dad Can’t Be Crazy…Can He?” (ABC, Thursday at 4PM)
- 48 Hours, “Return to Crack Street” (CBS, Thursday at 8PM)
- ABC News Special, “Kids in Trouble: Fighting Back” (ABC, Thursday at 9PM)
- Great Moments from Austin City Limits (PBS, Friday at 9PM)
Do You Remember…?
Saturday, September 9th, 1989
9PM ABC (7) (8) (40) B.L. STRYKER (CC)–Crime Drama; 2 hrs.
Lyynda (Dana Kaminski) draws Stryker (Burt Reynolds) into a complex case involving her jailed brother, her brother’s jailed lover, a murder, and the murder victim’s fiance, a wealthy detective buff eager to help B.L. (Repeat)
10PM CBS (2) (3) WEST 57TH (CC)–Newsmagazine; 60 min.
Scheduled: An April report on Leonard Peltier, a Sioux serving two consecutive life sentences at Leavenworth Penitentiary for the 1976 murders of two FBI agents; a March interview with singer Natalie Cole; and a January segment on zydeco music. (Repeat)
Sunday, September 10th, 1989
9:30PM FOX (5) (61) 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.
10:30PM NBC (4) (22) (30) BABY BOOM–Comedy
J.C. (Kate Jackson) has her hands full when Helga (Joy Behar) quits, Elizabeth gets sick, the doctor (Mark Lindsay Chapman) is cute, and the procession of unsuitable nannies seems neverending.
Tuesday, September 12th, 1989
9:30PM ABC (8) (40) CHICKEN SOUP (CC)–Comedy
Debut: Comedian Jackie Mason plays Jackie Fisher, who quit his job selling pajamas to experience life and love with Maddie (Lynn Redgrave), a tall Irish Catholic mother of three. In the opener, Jackie’s mother Bea (Rita Karin) is not so happy to discover whom her nice Jewish boy’s been spending all his time with.
Wednesday, September 13th, 1989
9PM CBS (13) (35) (4) (22) (33) WOLF (CC)–Drama; 2 hrs.
Debut: Jack Scalia stars as Tony Wolf, a once respected San Francisco cop who was set up in a drug bust and kicked off the force. Now, two years later, he returns home to rebuild his life, the family fishing vessel and his relationship with his father Sal (Joseph Sirola).
ABC (7) (8) (40) COMEDY SNEAK PEEK (CC)
A preview of new comedy series in ABC’s fall lineup, including talks with Jackie Mason and Lynn Redgrave (“Chicken Soup”); Neil Patrick Harris (“Doogie Howser, M.D.”); Michael Learned and Leah Rimini (“Living Dolls); Jo-Marie Payton-France and Reginal VelJohnson (“Family Matters”); Corinne Bohrer (“Free Spirit”); Darryl Sivad (“Homeroom”).
Thursday, September 14th, 1989
9:30PM NBC (4) (22) (30) FM (CC)–Comedy
Lee-Ann (Patricia Richardson) cons Ted (Robert Hays) into having dinner at her new home with her new husband Jonathan (Jack Bannon) and a surprise guest, who happens to be beautiful, newly divorced, and very wealthy.
[Last show of the series. Next week, the crime drama “Hardball” premieres here.]
Friday, September 15th, 1989
8PM NBC (4) (22) YESTERDAY, TODAY & TOMORROW (CC)–Newsmagazine; 60 min.
Scheduled: A report on emergency procedures aboard airliners includes the re-creation of a successful landing in 1971 of a DC-10 that experienced the same malfunctions that caused the July crash of United Airlines flight 232 in Iowa. Also: a piece on corporate espionage and a segment on plastic surgery as a means of enhancing a contestant’s chances in a beauty pageant.
[The drama “Baywatch” premieres next week at this time.]
The 1989 Fall Preview issue is a breath of fresh air after several months of boring profiles and limited original programming on the networks. I’m not very familiar with the 1989-1990 television season so I’m curious to learn more about the short-lived new shows that debuted during Fall 1989. This week sees the series premieres of Chicken Soup (ABC) and Wolf (CBS), neither of which survived the entire season.
That’s it for this issue. Check back next week for my review of the September 16th, 1989 issue of TV Guide. As always, hit the comments with any thoughts or reactions.