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Archive for Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Family-friendly fare is feted

December 12, 2006

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Stephen Collins and Haylie Duff play host to the eighth annual "Family Television Awards" (8 p.m., CW). The Family Friendly Programming Forum, an organization of major advertisers, bestows the honors.

This is not a night of suspense. The 2006 honorees have been decided, and they are "Numb3rs" (Best Drama); "Everybody Hates Chris" (Comedy); "Dancing with the Stars" (Reality); Howie Mandel (Game Show Host); and "Ugly Betty" (New Series). The cable movies "High School Musical" and "The Ron Clark Story" are also feted.

With the inclusion of "Chris" and "Betty," it's nice to see "family friendly" does not have to be synonymous with insipid, safe and innocuous. And any television show, like "Numb3rs," that celebrates math and logical thinking deserves all the awards it gets.

"Family Friendly" is such a broad term it's hard to pin down. I'll settle for anything that doesn't make for awkward and embarrassing moments between parents and kids. "All in the Family" was smart, funny and controversial, but I never felt mortified watching it in the same room as my parents. Maybe that's why it regularly reached an audience of 30 million.

The other day I got a note from an old friend who told me she and her husband loved "Friday Night Lights," but found it impossible to watch with their children because of its sexual themes. No parent wants to deal with the question, "What's a three-way, Mommy?" Particularly while watching a program airing at 7 p.m.! "Friday" is a great show, but it belongs at 9 p.m., when the kids are presumably in bed, sneaking a look at "Hanna Montana" on their iPods under the covers.

¢ Hey, it's that time. Prepare to be fascinated! "Barbara Walters Presents: The 10 Most Fascinating People of 2006" (9 p.m., ABC). The list includes tennis great Andre Agassi, televangelist Joel Osteen, actor Patrick Dempsey, fashion tyrant Anna Wintour, entertainer Jay-Z and others.

Tonight's other highlights

¢ The pep squad causes an off-field distraction "Friday Night Lights" (7 p.m., NBC).

¢ Hostages without borders on "Standoff" (7 p.m., Fox).

¢ Boris Karloff narrates the 1966 animated holiday favorite "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas" (7 p.m., ABC).

¢ Lorelai reorients her decor on "Gilmore Girls" (7 p.m., CW).

¢ The documentary "Taking the Hill" (8 p.m., Discovery Times) looks at the more than 50 military veterans who ran for Congress in 2006.

¢ A philandering father's final fling on "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" (8 p.m., NBC).

¢ House faces his shortcomings on "House" (8 p.m., Fox).

¢ Joe discovers he has rivals in search of objects from the motel on night two of "The Lost Room" (8 p.m., Sci Fi).

¢ The two-part "Amazing Planet" (National Geographic) looks at volcanoes (8 p.m.) and vast oceans (9 p.m.).

¢ A bank robber has a revealing technique on "Criminal Minds" (9 p.m., CBS). Note: "3lbs." has been canceled.

¢ A class trip turns tragic on "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (9 p.m., NBC).

¢ The gang doesn't know what to make with an odd new character (Johnny Galecki) on "My Boys" (9:30 p.m., TBS).

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