The Spokesman-Review

Country Musicians Shine For Annual Awards Program

Country music - the music that binds young and old, country folk and city slickers these days has its time to shine at the “Academy of Country Music Awards” (NBC at 8).

Faith Hill and Brooks and Dunn host the 31st annual awards. For country fans, this is Oscar, Grammy and Emmy night rolled into one.

Winners will take home honors in 12 categories including Entertainer of the Year, Top Male and Female Vocalist and Top Vocal Group

What has distinguished the “Academy” telecast over the years has been its emphasis on music. Most of the year’s top songs will be featured.

Scheduled to perform are Garth Brooks, Shania Twain, Alabama, Alan Jackson, Reba McEntire, John Anderson, Joe Diffie, Tracy Lawrence, Martina McBride, Tim McGraw, John Michael Montgomery, Collin Raye, Marty Stuart, Aaron Tippin and Travis Tritt.

As usual, there’s one number that stands above all others. This year it’s a song called “Hope.” Recently recorded in Nashville, it is something of a “We Are the World” collaboration. It will be released later this month with proceeds going to the T.J. Martell Foundation for institutions involved in the fight against cancer and AIDS.

At least a dozen country superstars will take to the stage for the first live performance of the uplifting song.

Highlights

“Catch a Rising Star’s 50th Anniversary … Give or Take 26 Years,” CBS at 8: Rosie O’Donnell hosts this homage to the New York City comedy club that includes unremarkable performances by Richard Belzer, Janeane Garofalo and Bill Maher.

Robin Williams and Billy Crystal join forces in entertaining taped segments, and Jon Lovitz is hilarious as a “surprise” guest at the end of the hour-long telecast.

“New Explorers,” KSPS at 7: Flight fanatics will lose themselves in “Birth of a Jet Fighter,” a thorough examination of the Navy’s new Super Hornet.

“The X-Files,” FOX at 8: “Vampire Night” promotes FOX’s new vampire melodrama “Kindred: The Embraced.” It begins with an “X-Files” repeat from November 1994 in which Mulder (David Duchovny) falls for a beautiful woman (Perrey Reeves) wanted for a series of murders that hint of vampirism.

In “Kindred” at 9, Julian (Mark Frankel) is stalked by a “shape shifting” assassin.

“Picket Fences,” CBS at 9: Back-to-back episodes close out a great fouryear run. At 9, all of Rome is floored when they find out who fathered Mayor Laurie’s (Marlee Matlin) baby.

In the second episode at 10, Jill (Kathy Baker) decides to leave Jimmy (Tom Skerritt), but love blooms for two of the drama’s other couples. (CBS says there are four remaining original episodes, but isn’t sure when or if they will air.)

“Great Performances,” KSPS at 10: “Twyla Tharp: Oppositions” features her acclaimed dance composition “The Upper Room,” with music by Philip Glass.

Cable Calls

“Procedure 769,” MAX at 6:30: One way or another you’ll have a visceral response to this powerful documentary tracing the events leading to the execution of murderer Robert Alton Harris. On April 21, 1992, he became the first person in 25 years to be executed in California.

The story is told by 11 people who witnessed Harris’ death, including members of his family and his two victims’ families. This is about as close to an execution as you may ever get.

“20th Century,” A&E; at 7 and 11: “Upstairs at the White House: Private Lives of the Presidents” reviews presidential scandals from Andrew Jackson to allegations regarding the personal life of President Clinton.

The justification is to open the question of how much privacy a president or presidential candidate deserves. Writer Richard Reeves and scholar Suzanne Garment are among those offering opinions.



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