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Archive for Saturday, July 19, 2008

Pretty Woman’ still generates interest

July 19, 2008

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In a world of uncertainty, one thing holds true: If you air "Pretty Woman" (7 p.m. today, TBS), millions of people will watch it, presumably not for the first time. This 1990 Cinderella romance about a kindly hooker (Julia Roberts) who melts the cold, cold heart of a Wall Street tycoon (Richard Gere) has aired at least 10 zillion times in the past two decades, and people still find reasons to watch it. For years, every time "Pretty Woman" aired, it was the most watched movie on cable, and often among the most-watched cable program. Its message that even a "fallen" woman can find Mr. Right, a very rich Mr. Right at that, seems to resonate down the years. And it does offer a chance to watch a pre-"Seinfeld" Jason Alexander acting like a snake.

Other cable movie offerings on a lazy summer Saturday night include the Oscar-winning romance "Brokeback Mountain" (7 p.m., Bravo), starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger. Ed Harris stars in both the murky 1989 sci-fi thriller "The Abyss" (7 p.m., Fox Movie Channel) and the 1995 NASA nail-biter "Apollo 13" (9 p.m., TV Land). Sci Fi serves up a double helping of super-sick ultra-violence with "Saw" (5:30 p.m., Sci Fi) and "Saw II" (8 p.m., Sci Fi). Debra Winger returned to the small screen in 2005 to appear in what might be the ultimate Lifetime woman-in-peril movie, "Dawn Anna" (6 p.m., Lifetime), a true-life account of a strong woman who survives a life-threatening illness only to lose a child in a national tragedy.

¢ For those of you who have been living under a rock for the past two years, the "High School Musical" franchise is a very big deal. ABC and Disney have produced two hit TV-movie musicals and enough spin-off products to employ half of Asia's low-paid lunchbox and T-shirt manufacturers for years to come.

I have to wonder when the "High School Musical" craze will fizzle out. Or, more to the point, when will ABC-Disney beat it to death? We can find out with "High School Musical: Get in the Picture" (7 p.m. Sunday, ABC), a talent contest in which kids try to win a coveted role in "High School Musical 3." Nick Lachey hosts.

What's the matter with kids today? What ever happened to the days when pop fads were furious but brief affairs? Kids loved stuff intensely, then moved on, spitting out used fads like old bubble gum.

I remember one Christmas when every one of my nieces and nephews seemed obsessed with "Thriller" and Michael Jackson. But by Easter, both he and his white glove were very old news and subject to some derision. That seemed natural.

Today's highlights

¢ Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan star in the 2003 remake of the 1976 Disney classic "Freaky Friday" (7 p.m., ABC).

¢ The king makes a request on "Robin Hood" (8 p.m., BBC America).

¢ Scheduled on "48 Hours Mystery" (10 p.m., CBS): A nurse's calm demeanor after her husband's death in a blaze raises eyebrows.

Sunday's highlights

¢ Scheduled on "60 Minutes" (6 p.m., CBS): a refugee from Darfur; a machine that fights cancer; Venezuela's prized orchestra.

¢ Death cuts the cards on "Cold Case" (8 p.m., CBS).

¢ Passions run hot when former POWs return on "Foyle's War" on "Masterpiece" (8 p.m., PBS).

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