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Archive for Saturday, October 30, 2004

NBC, CBS undergo reality check

October 30, 2004

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In a clear sign that nobody is buying into warmed-over reality fare, NBC and CBS have yanked repeats of "The Apprentice" and "Survivor" from their Saturday schedules.

Tonight, NBC turns over two hours to its little corporate cousin The Sci Fi Channel. Stephen Baldwin is host of back-to-back episodes of "Scare Tactics" (7 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. today, NBC). For the uninitiated, "Scare Tactics" is an update of "Candid Camera" with the soul of a horror movie. Unsuspecting participants (set up by friends) find themselves in frightening situations right out of their favorite cinematic nightmare. Of course, everyone else involved is an actor and nobody gets hurt.

The new Sci Fi series "Ghost Hunters" (8 p.m. today, NBC) follows a group of blue-collar plumbers from New England with a very peculiar hobby. They track down spirits. Complete with their own official organization (T.A.P.S. -- The Atlantic Paranormal Society) and "Scooby-Doo"-like van, they drive from state to state in search of haunted houses and ghoulish entities.

l It's only fitting that the series "Dead Like Me" (9 p.m., Sunday, Showtime) wraps up its sophomore season on Halloween. In the odd logic of this tale of afterlife bureaucracy, Halloween is the one day of the year when the Reapers appear in death as they did in life. Meanwhile, in the realm of the living, George (Ellen Muth) learns that her still-mourning family has found some healing on the eve of the Day of the Dead.

Tonight's other highlights

  • Scheduled on two episodes of "48 Hours Mystery" (CBS): new evidence in the Scott Peterson case (7 p.m.), three generations of women who work in a Canal Street brothel (9 p.m.).
  • The voices of John Goodman, Billy Crystal, Steve Buscemi and James Coburn animate the 2001 cartoon feature "Monsters, Inc." (7 p.m., ABC).
  • Mrs. Huber tries blackmail on "Desperate Housewives" (9 p.m., ABC).

Sunday's other highlights

  • Scheduled on "60 Minutes" (6 p.m., CBS): an interview with California's Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger; how U.S. troops in Iraq face dangers without armor, night-vision goggles and other promised equipment.
  • Phantom Planet impersonates The Zombies on "American Dreams" (7 p.m., NBC).
  • Hard luck ends for a city family on "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" (7 p.m., ABC).
  • A burglary increases feelings of insecurity on "Desperate Housewives" (8 p.m., ABC).
  • A killer stalks homeless men on "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" (8 p.m., NBC).
  • A murder suspect skips out on "Crossing Jordan" (9 p.m., NBC).

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