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Archive for Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Back to future for CBS News

February 8, 2012

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CBS News takes a page from the distant past and reintroduces the special “Person to Person” (7 p.m.) to a new generation.

TV journalist Edward R. Murrow, best remembered for his serious news reports and commentary, also hosted lighter fare, including the original “Person to Person.” Using the latest “coast to coast” cable technology of the early 1950s, Murrow would sit, chain-smoking in his New York office, and conduct live interviews with movie stars and entertainers in their Hollywood homes. Audiences marveled at television’s ability to be in two places at once, but mostly tuned in to see the homes of stars like Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh.

I watched several of these old “Person” installments when they were released on DVD, and they were remarkable. Murrow would make pleasant conversation as Leigh conducted a tour of the kitchen, and later Curtis would take Murrow and viewers to another room to show off his proudest possession: a set of model trains. It was a simpler time.

In a nod to art imitating life, co-hosts Lara Logan and Charlie Rose will interview George Clooney in his Los Angeles home. Clooney directed “Good Night, and Good Luck,” a 2005 drama starring David Strathairn as Edward R. Murrow. Other guests include musician Jon Bon Jovi and investor Warren Buffett.

• Less than a week after Groundhog Day, “Nature” (7 p.m., PBS, check local listings) presents “Raccoon Nation,” a look at how these fastidious and clever garbage-pickers have learned to live with humans, particularly in urban areas. Some scientists theorize that efforts to keep raccoons out of our trash cans only stimulates their problem-solving skills, leaving us with generations of smarter critters.

Tonight’s other highlights

• The talent contest proceeds in Hollywood on “American Idol” (7 p.m., Fox).

• A father-and-son encounter on “Mobbed” (8 p.m., Fox).

• Phil seems clueless as a new business partner (Greg Kinnear) flirts inappropriately with Claire on “Modern Family” (8 p.m., ABC).

• “NOVA” (8 p.m., PBS) looks at a difficult surgical effort to separate conjoined twins.

• A murder victim’s wig obsession may have been her undoing on “CSI” (9 p.m., CBS).

• Shifting alliances on “Revenge” (9 p.m., ABC).

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