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Archive for Thursday, April 19, 2007

Former stars light up night

April 19, 2007

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Stars of prime-time past show up in the strangest places.

Somewhere in the back of my kitchen cabinet, I think I still have my promotional mug for the short-lived 2003 sitcom "A Minute with Stan Hooper," starring Norm MacDonald. The former "Saturday Night Live" player appears tonight on "My Name is Earl" (7 p.m., NBC) as the heir to the local exotic-dancing emporium.

For close students of "Earl," that would make him the son of Richard Chubby, the character played by Burt Reynolds. MacDonald's character, "Little Chubby," has none of his late father's good nature.

Lynda Carter guest stars as Chloe's mother on "Smallville" (7 p.m., CW). It's fitting - perhaps even form-fitting - that the actress best known as "Wonder Woman" should appear on this "Superman" prequel.

Some may remember Carter from her more recent appearance in the 2005 big-screen adaptation of "The Dukes of Hazzard." The former pageant winner, who did all of her own stunts on "Wonder Woman," received some unwanted publicity in the early 1990s when her husband, Washington attorney Robert Altman, was linked to a complex financial scandal.

Gary Cole guest stars as a horror-film star working on a haunted set on "Supernatural" (8 p.m., CW).

An actor with too many TV credits to mention, Cole has shown remarkable versatility. He has starred in the violent TNT cop drama "Wanted" while doing voice work on the Disney cartoon "Kim Possible." He's also the title voice on the Adult Swim cartoon "Harvey Birdman, Attorney At Law." He was the vice president on "The West Wing," and the boss you loved to hate in the 1999 big screen satire "Office Space."

¢ Viewers who don't want to leave the 1980s can enjoy their own crimson-hued film festival. Molly Ringwald plays an ugly duckling prom date in the 1986 coming-of-age comedy "Pretty in Pink" (6 p.m. and 8 p.m., Oxygen). The 1984 Cold War fantasy "Red Dawn" (7 p.m., AMC) pits a good portion of the brat pack (Patrick Swayze, C. Thomas Howell, Lea Thompson, Charlie Sheen and Jennifer Grey) against Soviet and Cuban troops engaged in a Communist occupation of Colorado.

"Red Dawn" was written and directed by John Milius, whose recent credits include the recently concluded HBO epic "Rome," on which he served as executive producer.

Tonight's other highlights

¢ Betty helps Daniel remain focused on "Ugly Betty" (7 p.m., ABC).

¢ Michael can't get out of vacation mode on "The Office" (7:30 p.m., NBC).

¢ Grissom receives a "gift" of a second tiny crime-scene replica on "CSI" (8 p.m., CBS).

¢ George helps Izzie confront her back pages on "Grey's Anatomy" (8 p.m., ABC).

¢ Floyd mulls a big move with Liz on "30 Rock" (8 p.m., NBC).

¢ Sebastian faces a former student in court on "Shark" (9 p.m., CBS).

¢ The doctors console the father of a young heart patient on "ER" (9 p.m., NBC).

¢ The gang holds a vigil at Sam's hospital bed on "October Road" (9 p.m., ABC).

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