December 26, 1997 in Features

Performers Cited In Kennedy Center Show

John Martin New York Times Syndicate
 

“The Kennedy Center Honors: A Celebration of the Performing Arts” (CBS at 9) pays tribute to an actress, an actor, a legendary singer-songwriter, a great opera star and a celebrated dancer.

Lauren Bacall, Charlton Heston, Bob Dylan, Jessye Norman and Edward Villella are this year’s honorees. The two-hour-long tribute was taped Dec. 7 in Washington D.C., at the Opera House of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

These Kennedy Center galas - this one makes 20 - are an institution. The broadcasts are always smartly produced and exceptionally entertaining.

Tonight, for instance, Bruce Springsteen, country star David Ball and gospel singer Shirley Caesar present a musical salute to Dylan. Tony winners Christine Baranski (“Cybill”), Ann Reinking and Bebe Neuwirth (“Cheers”) appear in a song-and-dance number honoring Bacall.

Heston gets a tip of the hat from fellow actors Tony Roberts, Gregg Edelman and Brian d’Arcy James.

Walter Cronkite hosts the event, with assistance from Joanne Woodward, Jerome Robins, Gregory Peck and others.

Highlights

“The Mighty Ducks” (1992), NBC at 8: Emilio Estevez plays a cocky lawyer sentenced to community service of coaching a pee-wee hockey team.

At its core, it’s just another variation on “The Bad News Bears.” But the hockey action provides more thrills and spills, and kids get a kick out of the slapstick antics and likable characters.

“Family Matters,” CBS at 8: Urkel (Jaleel White) loses the suspenders and gets voice therapy in order to participate in a “kissing auction” held by Laura’s (Kellie Shanygne Williams) sorority.

Repeat.

“Sabrina, the Teenage Witch,” ABC at 8: This episode from October reminds me of the Jack Nicholson line in “A Few Good Men.” Sabrina’s (Melissa Joan Hart) school “can’t handle the truth” when the teen witch puts magic “truth sprinkles” on a home-economics cake sampled by students and faculty.

Another repeat airs at 9.

“Boy Meets World,” ABC at 8:30: To fulfill a class assignment, Cory (Ben Savage) makes a documentary about roommates Eric, Jack and Shawn (Will Friedle, Matthew Lawrence, Rider Strong). Caught in the act of being themselves, they expose real problems in their living arrangements. Repeat.

“Millennium,” FOX at 9: Black (Lance Henriksen) investigates a murder at the site of a Native American burial site discovered in Manhattan. Clues reveal it was the setting for the ritualistic killing of a lost tribe. And it may have left a deadly legacy.

Cable Calls

“To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday” (1996), MAX at 8: David E. Kelley (“Chicago Hope”) wrote and produced this drama about a widower (Peter Gallagher) mourning the death of his wife (Michelle Pfeiffer (Kelley’s real-life wife) and coping with relatives who believe his grief is destroying the life of his 16-year-old daughter (Claire Danes).

Danes gives the best performance, but a muddled script and several uninspired subplots drag this one down.

“Football,” ESPN at 5: The first-ever Motor City Bowl in Pontiac, Mich., pairs Marshall (10-2) and Mississippi (7-4).

“The Guide to Babylon 5,” TNT at 8: As the syndicated series moves to TNT next month, here’s an opportunity to get acquainted with the cast and characters of the space fantasy. There are plenty of fun behind-the-scenes moments as well.

Talk Time

“Tonight,” NBC at 11:35: Actor John Travolta, actress Laura Dern and musical group Stone Temple Pilots. Repeat.

“Late Show With David Letterman,” CBS at 11:35: Director Quentin Tarantino, actress Anne Heche and music group Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band.

“Politically Incorrect With Bill Maher,” ABC at 12:05 a.m.: Drew Carey, Lynn Sherr, Frances Fisher and commentator Jane Chastain.

“The Late Late Show With Tom Snyder,” CBS at 12:35 a.m.: Drew Carey (“The Drew Carey Show”) and author John Katzenbach. Repeat.

“Late Night With Conan O’Brien,” NBC at 12:35 a.m.: Actor Kevin Bacon and actress Bonnie Hunt. Repeat.


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