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.
November 18th, 1989
Vol. 37, No. 46, Issue #1912
On the Cover: Courteney Cox and Barry Bostwick, by Bob Greene; Krantz novel, © 1988 Published by Crown Publishers, Inc.
This week’s issue includes eight articles:
- Judith Krantz Tells Why TV Strips the Sex Out of Her Novels, by Bill Davidson
- Courteney Cox in “Judith Krantz’s Till We Meet Again” by Susan Littwin
- Tabloid Clones Invade TV, by Monica Collins
- The Stones Are Rolling with a Hot New Video, by Hoard Polskin
- HBO’s Kids in the Hall, by Herma M. Rosenthal
- Today’s Willard Scott, by Hilary Sterne
- Connie Sellecca in “Turn Back the Clock,” by Glenn Esterly
- What Goes On in Football Huddles, by Gary Morgenstein
This week’s cover article is unnecessary. Nobody should be surprised network television can’t faithfully recreate the lengthy and racy sex scenes found in Judith Krantz’s novels. She doesn’t always like it when a particular scene is changed for television, but she “accepts the constraints of TV.”
I read the profile of Courteney Cox and learned she’s a motorcycle enthusiast (back in 1989, at least) and owns a Hondo Rebel. Curiously, although the article discusses Judith Krantz’s Till We Meet Again, it doesn’t talk about any of the sex scenes to tie in with the cover article. There’s is a brief mention of her role in short-lived Misfits of Science.
I skimmed the profiles of Willard Scott and Connie Sellecca. I don’t watch The Today Show and definitely didn’t watch it when Willard Scott was the “wacky weatherclown.” As for Connie Sellecca, I’m a fan of The Greatest American Hero but otherwise haven’t seen much of her work. Apparently, she loves practical jokes, the darker the better.
I skipped the articles about tabloid television, a new music video from The Rolling Stones, football huddles, and the one-page “The Scoop” article about The Kids in the Hall.
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 Ted Danson and the eventual end of Cheers, Alyssa Milano’s goal of getting accepted at a prestigious college, the fate of USA Today on TV, and more. Alan Carter examines shares stories about Beverlee McKinsey, John O’Hurley, and psychic Kenny Kingston Soaps. Mel Durslag’s Sports View tackles changes to NBC’s NFL Live.
Prices from the Video Cassette Report for movies on VHS: Batman ($24.98), Elves ($79.95), K-9 ($89.95), Out of the Darkness ($79.95), Sleepaway Camp 3: Teenage Wasteland ($79.98), Under the Biltmore Clock ($79.98). Cheers ‘n’ Jeers praises Pee-wee’s Playhouse “for continuing to be the only truly innovative alternative in a Saturday morning television schedule full of badly animated dreck and thinly veiled half-hour commercials,” criticizes the overuse of the California Raisins, laments the outdated opening credits for The Young and the Restless, and applauds USA Network for airing Lost in Space reruns.
Robert MacKenzie reviews “A Tale of Two Cities” on Masterpiece Theatre, which “finally does the novel justice with an atmospheric production, a graceful script and controlled performances.”
The Program Section
[The Program Section includes the following features: TV Guide Plus, The Collins Report, 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 seven news reports this week. The first discusses the new (and untitled) ABC sitcom starring Dr. Ruth Westheimer. [ABC ultimately passed on “Dr. Ruth’s House” but aired the pilot in June 1990.]
Other reports: ABC has cancelled Chicken Soup due to low ratings; Paramount and MCA are still hoping to launch a fifth broadcast network; Wolf and Major Dad are retooling; TV shows based on Uncle Buck, Parenthood, and Working Girl are all in the works; PrimeTime Live isn’t doing well in the ratings; CBS has given a 13-episode commitment to a sitcom called Dad’s a Dog from producer Barry Kemp.
The Collins Report
[The Collins Report–written by columnist Monica Collins–appears every two weeks.]
Collins examines why television shows keep letting bad things happening to good characters, using examples from In the Heat of the Night, Dear John, and L.A. Law.
[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 six letters respond to an article about ABC’s Richard Nixon telefilm The Final Days, published in the October 28th issue. Here are two:
TV has truly exceeded the limits of decency by trying to make a martyr out of Richard Nixon. The Watergate coverrup and the end of his Presidency were his own doing. The man is a criminal, not a respectable former President.
The media just can’t stop “kicking Nixon around.” The excuse for making “The Final Days” is the fact that a whole generation doesn’t know about Watergate. Let me tell you, there is a whole generation that doesn’t even know the name of the current President, the Vice President, the two senators who represent them in Washington or the representative from their district.
Grace A. S.
West Mifflin, Pa.
See my review of the March 4th, 1989 issue for the Channel Directory to the Dayton Edition.
- College Football: Notre Dame vs. Penn State (CBS, Saturday at 2:30PM)
- NFL Football: Detroit Lions at Cincinnati Bengals (CBS, Sunday at 1PM)
- Masterpiece Theatre, “A Tale of Two Cities, Part 1” (PBS, Sunday at 9PM/10PM)
- [Cable Close Up] Latino Session (Cinemax, Sunday at 10PM)
- American Experience, “Yosemite: The Fate of Heaven” (PBS, Tuesday at 9PM)
- Garfield (CBS, Wednesday at 8PM)
- Moyers: The Public Mind, “Illusions of News (PBS, Wednesday at 9PM)
- Movie: Dumbo (Various Stations, Various Times)
- Grammy Living Legends (CBS, Friday at 9PM)
Do You Remember…?
Saturday, November 18th, 1989
8:30PM ABC (2) (6) (12) LIVING DOLLS (CC)–Comedy
Charlie (Leah Remini) gives assertiveness training to Martha (Alison Elliott) after Caroline (Deborah Tucker) steals Martha’s assignment for an international perfume campaign.
9PM ABC B.L. STRYKER (CC)–Crime Drama; 2 hrs.
In the second-season opener, Stryker (Burt Reynolds) works in tandem with an FBI agent who was once a rival in police work and love. Now, they both have an interest in a wealthy philanderer who’s into polo ponies and financial scams.
Sunday, November 19th, 1989
8PM ABC (2) (6) (12) FREE SPIRIT (CC)–Comedy
NBC (4) (5) (22) SISTER KATE (CC)–Comedy
Sister Kate (Stephanie Beacham) becomes a mother–to an infant abandoned at the orphanage. Meanwhile, the kids have to come up with $200 to replace a vase they smashed in Kate’s office.
8:30PM ABC (2) (6) (12) HOMEROOM (CC)–Comedy
Daryl (Daryl Sivad) deals with science projects in class while performing experiments of the heart at home, where he fixes Phil (Bill Cobbs) up with a fellow teacher (Madge Sinclair).
9:30PM FOX (19) (28) (45) OPEN HOUSE–Comedy
Conclusion. Linda and Richard (Alison LaPlaca, Chris Lemmon) dress for showgirl success as they try to rescue Ted (Philip Charles MacKenzie) from Marty’s version of debtors prison.
Monday, November 20th, 1989
8:3PM CBS (7) (9) (10) FAMOUS TEDDY Z (CC)–Comedy
Teddy (Jon Cryer) tries to save his house after someone bites at the price he was just fishing with, while Al Floss (Alex Rocco) tries to save face after making a boffo deal for a dead client.
9PM FOX (19) (28) (45) ALIEN NATION (CC); 60 min.
The holiday celebrating the Newcomers’ landing is lost on George (Eric Pierpoint), who’s haunted by shipboard memories of a deadly game he believes is now killing Newcomers on Earth.
Friday, November 24th, 1989
9PM NBC (4) (5) (22) HARDBALL (CC); 60 min.
10PM NBC (4) (5) (22) MANCUSO, FBI (CC)–Crime Drama; 60 min.
Mancuso (Robert Loggia) investigates the theft of plutonium from a nuclear-weapon plant, but he nearly melts down when evidence points to the Israeli Secret Service as the culprit.
Another week of November sweeps, plus Thanksgiving specials, but viewers still had the opportunity to watch new episodes of several of the (ultimately) short-lived TV shows on the air. Within the pages of TV Guide, it was once again slim pickings.
That’s it for this issue. Check back next week for my review of the November 25th, 1989 issue of TV Guide. As always, hit the comments with any thoughts or reactions.