Plenty of people think it’s a crime that pro athletes make the kind of money they make these days. Their agents, most suspect, are real cutthroats.
That’s the point of departure for “Arliss,” now in its second season on HBO. Robert Wuhl stars as superagent Arliss Howard, who will do just about anything to turn his celebrated clients into cash cows. And he’s first in line for the milking.
You can see new episodes Tuesdays at 11 with a repeat Thursdays at 10:30.
Tonight, one of Arliss’ baseball clients hits his 500th home run. Everyone, from a reclusive billionaire to the player himself, wants the souvenir ball.
The trouble is, the ball was grabbed by a bullpen coach who’s asking a cool $1 million.
Can Arliss keep his client happy and profit from the transaction? Chances are, he’ll find a way.
The episode features guest appearances by Henry Aaron, Roger Clemens, Frank Robinson and Larry King.
Wuhl is right on target as the two-faced, practically unredeemable agent. He gets great help from co-stars Jim Turner as his loopy ex-athlete expediter, Kirby Carlise; Sandra Oh as his secretary, Rita Woo; and Michael Boatman as his associate, Stanley.
“Arliss” turns the wide world of sports on its ear with a cynical, comical view of how big bucks have contaminated all involved in pro sports. We don’t doubt that it’s close to reality.
“Diagnosis Murder,” CBS at 8: In Part 1 of a 1993 two-part episode, Sloan (Dick Van Dyke) is pitted against crooked cops when his son Steve (Barry Van Dyke) is framed in the murder of a policeman. Part 2 follows at 9.
“Friends,” NBC at 8: Monica (Courteney Cox) goes on a date with a guy (Jon Favreau) who turns out to be a millionaire who will, in subsequent episodes, offer her almost everything she’s ever wanted. Repeat.
“Living Single,” FOX at 8:30: Adam Wylie (“Picket Fences”) guest-stars as the obnoxious, pint-size host of a kids show where Synclaire (Kim Coles) is hired as his clown sidekick. Repeat.
“Politically Incorrect With Bill Maher,” ABC at 9: Maher’s guests are Florence Henderson, G. Gordon Liddy, Marilyn Manson and abstinence advocate Lakita Garth. A repeat program airs at 9:30.
“Seinfeld,” NBC at 9: George (Jason Alexander) discovers the perfect place to nap at work, and Jerry (Jerry Seinfeld) copes with a wacky contractor.
“Turning Point,” ABC at 10: You’ll be amazed at what Diane Sawyer finds out about the mental abilities of animals. She meets a talking parrot that can distinguish colors and shapes and even count objects, as well as dogs that can warn their masters when they are about to have seizures.
Scientists say we know very little about how smart animals truly are, but researchers are recording some impressive examples of how they use their brains. The hour’s most memorable segment finds Sawyer turning over her own pet, her dog George, to a consultant who says she can “read” animals’ thoughts. Repeat.
“Football,” ESPN at 5: The New England Patriots meet the Green Bay Packers.
“To Love or Kill: Man vs. Animal,” HBO at 11: This is a very difficult documentary to watch. The hour examines extreme treatment of animals.
Shocking and at times almost vulgar, it’s an eye-opener intended to challenge indifference to the plight of animals. Repeat.
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