Do rock concerts make good television? Those of us old enough to remember television and movies before MTV recall the good and bad old days of concert performances on shows like "Midnight Special" and musical films such as Led Zeppelin's "The Song Remains the Same" and George Harrison's "Concert for Bangladesh." Not even decades of misty nostalgia can convince me that they were anything but dull. When it comes to rock concerts, you have to be there.
This is a rather long way of getting to the observation that tonight's CBS special "Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band" (8 p.m.) makes for less-than-scintillating television. I guess you had to be there. It doesn't help that many of the songs on Springsteen's Sept. 11-inspired album "The Rising" are deliberately mournful and downbeat.
The crowd at Madison Square Garden appears to be having a grand old time, but little of it translates to the small screen. If you're a Springsteen fan, don't pass this up. The rest of us won't be missing much.
- There is nothing wrong with your television. "Grounded For Life" (7:30 and 8:30 p.m., WB) has jumped networks. And I can't understand why. "Grounded" fit in nicely with Fox's stable of dysfunctional family comedies, including "Malcolm in the Middle" and "Titus."
Donal Logue and Megyn Price star as Sean and Claudia Finnerty, slightly overwhelmed parents of an unruly Staten Island brood. They had their oldest child Lily (Lynsey Bartilson) when they were in their teens, and they don't seem to have outgrown their own teenage rebellion.
To be perfectly blunt, the very capable cast of "Grounded" looks too much like real human beings to survive on the "Dawson's Creek" network. Don't look for "Grounded" to last very long on the dream-boat network.
- Just in case you missed Wednesday's Barbara Walters interview with Robert Blake, "Hollywood at Large" (6 p.m., Court TV) recaps the case against the former "Baretta" star and provides taped reports from preliminary hearings at the Van Nuys, Calif., courthouse.
Tonight's other highlights
- Arsenio Hall is host of "Star Search" (7 p.m., CBS).
- Sterling's death penalty stance makes for a bumpy trip home on "Mister Sterling" (7 p.m., NBC).
- David Hasselhoff, Pamela Anderson, Yasmine Bleeth, Carmen Electra and Gena Lee Nolin star in the nostalgic two-hour TV movie "Baywatch Hawaiian Wedding" (7 p.m., Fox). Thongs for the memories.
- Michael Jai White and John Leguizamo star in the 1997 comic-book adaptation "Spawn" (7 p.m., UPN).
- Scheduled on "Dateline" (8 p.m., NBC): Passengers who were aboard a 747 that lost all engine power recall their ordeal.
- An actress (Sherilyn Fenn) falls under suspicion on "Law & Order: SVU" (9 p.m., NBC).