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Archive for Saturday, July 22, 2000

Shows poised to split the sexes

Tune In

July 22, 2000

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If the cable network programming is any indication, America has become a nation where men and women inhabit separate rooms watching very different TV shows. And if this weekend's new offerings from USA and Lifetime are any barometer, perhaps men and women reside on different planets.

  • Smarting from the loss of wrestling programming to the CBS/Viacom media omniverse, USA offers a new program for guys who never want to grow up. Although a live-action comedy, "The War Next Door" (8 p.m., Sunday) clearly sets out to reproduce the violent and unending struggles between such classic cartoon characters as Wile E. Coyote and the Roadrunner. Linden Ashby stars as CIA agent Kennedy Smith, who retires to the suburbs after subduing his evil nemesis Kriegman (Damian Young). Only once ensconced in a safe and boring job as a used car salesman, Smith discovers that Kriegman has been revived and has moved next door with a nasty sexy sidekick named Barbara Bush (Tara Rosling). "War" promises weekly battles to the death between these two unreal rivals. Young is a lot of fun as the snobby and fussy Kriegman who combines and elastic grace with a haughty sense of humor.
  • Meanwhile on Lifetime, there's a brand-new hour drama about serious women discussing serious issues. "Strong Medicine" (8 p.m., Sunday, TV-PG, D, L) stars Janine Turner ("Northern Exposure") as the beautiful, ambitious and cold Dr. Dana Stowe, a surgeon practicing at Philadelphia's exclusive Rittenhouse Hospital. She cares more about winning a Nobel Prize than her individual patients. On the other side of town, Dr. Luisa Delgado (Rosa Blasi) runs a beleaguered clinic for the poor that's forever on the brink of foreclosure. She's aided by a handsome male nurse and midwife, Peter Riggs (Josh Coxx), whose job it is to flirt with the bill collectors from the HMOs and utter such lines as "With a trillion dollar budget surplus, you'd think they'd come up with aid for places like this." Delgado also runs a "chat room" for her patients where the women can talk about their personal problems, health woes and the no-good men in their lives.

Stowe and Delgado's paths cross when Stowe visits the clinic to see if Rittenhouse should help the financially strapped office. While she is appalled by the way Delgado cuts corners, she is convinced by the renowned Dr. Emerson (guest star and series executive producer Whoopi Goldberg) that the two doctors have a lot to learn from each other.

  • And for the children " Actor John Leguizamo, who made a name for himself discussing his outrageous upbringing and family dysfunction in his one-man shows, lends his voice to the gentle, family friendly comedy, "The Brothers Garcia" (7:30 p.m., Sunday, Nickelodeon). The first English language sitcom with an all-Latin cast and creative team, "Garcia" is the coming-of-age story of Larry (Alvin Alvarez) and his two brothers, Carlos (Jeffrey Licon) and George (Bobby Gonzalez) and Larry's fraternal twin sister Lorena (Vaneza Leza Pitynski). In this series opener, the boys put on a show in the back yard to raise money to buy tickets to see their wrestling hero, the Astronut. Although some may find "Garcia" inoffensive to a fault, the network sees the show as a way of "increasing kids' awareness and understanding of the diverse world they live in."

Saturday's highlights

  • A murdered executive comes back as a dog (with the voice of Samuel L. Jackson) in the 1995 fantasy, "Fluke" (7 p.m., NBC, TV-PG).
  • Jason Biggs, Mena Suvari and Eugene Levy star in "American Pie" (7 p.m., Starz), last summer's raunchy teen hit.
  • Danny Bonaduce narrates the repeat showing of "Totally Out of Control" (9 p.m., ABC, TV-14, V). No, it's not about his life, but a look at nature's fury.
  • Moby, Macy Gray, John Prine and others appear on a "Best of" segment of "Sessions at West 54th Street" (11 p.m., PBS).

Sunday's highlights

  • Scheduled on "60 Minutes" (6 p.m., CBS): repeat reports on autopsies; a professor accused of vandalism; new resistant strains of tuberculosis.
  • Live coverage of U.S. Olympic Track and Field trials (6 p.m., NBC).
  • A man (Bill Murray) inherits an elephant in the 1996 comedy, "Larger Than Life" on "The Wonderful World of Disney" (6 p.m., ABC, TV-G).
  • Eric Roberts stars as a patient evading an evil organ-harvesting corporation in the futuristic thriller, "Race Against Time" (7 p.m., TNT, TV-14, L, V).
  • Disappearing children roil a rural paradise in the 1997 miniseries, "Night Sins" (8 p.m., CBS, TV-14, concludes Tuesday), starring Valerie Bertinelli and Harry Hamlin.
  • Denzel Washington stars in the 1995 detective drama, "Devil in a Blue Dress" (8 p.m., NBC, TV-14), based on a novel by Walter Mosley.
  • The Mills trial concludes with a bang on a repeat of "The Practice" (9 p.m., ABC, TV-14, D, L).
  • The sitcom star returns to standup on "Ellen DeGeneres: The Beginning" (9 p.m., HBO, TV-MA, L).

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