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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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‘Whoopi’ shows return to Broadway

Kevin McDonough United Feature Syndicate

The comedy special “Whoopi: Back To Broadway - The 20th Anniversary” (10 p.m. tonight, HBO) reunites director Mike Nichols with comic Whoopi Goldberg on a New York stage, where Nichols originally presented Goldberg in 1985.

“Whoopi” offers many of the comedienne’s stock characters, including Fontaine, a dope-smoking street person given to political rants. While some may enjoy Fontaine’s extended zingers about the Bush administration, they serve to remind us how much of Goldberg’s act has become political and, too often, predictable.

Goldberg’s fellow comic and Oscar host Steve Martin stars in the 1999 movie industry spoof “Bowfinger” (8 p.m. tonight, NBC) as an out-of-work producer who hires a celebrity look-alike to appear in his latest project. Eddie Murphy and Heather Graham co-star.

Rebecca Romijn and Antonio Banderas star in “Femme Fatale” (9 and 11:30 p.m. tonight, Oxygen) director Brian DePalma’s homage to film noir films, including “Double Indemnity.” Critics were decidedly mixed about this 2002 thriller.

Tired of “CSI” style forensics morbidity?

Maybe you’re in the market for a “Supervolcano” (8 p.m. Sunday, Discovery).

A fake documentary (a crockumentary, if you will) disguised as a geological thriller (as opposed to a logical thriller), “Supervolcano” uses news magazine style talking heads to look back at the results of a volcanic explosion at Yellowstone Park that makes the 1980 Mt. St. Helens eruption look like a firecracker. “Super” also offers a movie-style narrative of the events leading up to the eruption, involving a group of intrepid Park Service scientists trying to understand the unusual activities surrounding Old Faithful and other popular attractions.

“Super” does a good job of mixing real science with “what if” sensationalism. Characters discuss plate tectonics and the differences between volcanic and seismic activity in ways that sound less than stilted. And that’s no small accomplishment.

A supervolcano may not happen in our lifetime or that of our distant descendents. Until then, we’ll just have to think of the disaster movie possibilities.

Directed by Maryann DeLeo, the harrowing documentary “Terror at Home” (11 p.m. Sunday, Lifetime) brings a human dimension to the staggering statistics about violence against women. According to this film, a shocking percentage of women admitted for emergency care are the victims of domestic abuse.

At some point in her life, one woman in three will be abused by a partner. Homicide has emerged as the leading cause of death in pregnant women.

DeLeo presents the stories of a wide spectrum of women seeking shelter from abusive husbands and boyfriends.

One embarrassed newlywed girl counts the days at the women’s shelter as the first days in six months that she has not been battered. A frequently beaten mother wonders if she’s doing the right thing when she calls the police on her common-law husband.

A lawyer’s wife, married 22 years, enters group therapy and is astonished to find how many of her affluent neighbors have shared her experience.

Former Miss American Kate Shindle hosts “Chasing the Crown” (4 p.m. Sunday, WE), a documentary look at the contestants in the Miss Ethnic World International Pageant, a small beauty contests designed to showcase contestants who might not make it in more traditional pageants.

Tonight’s highlights

Christmas with new neighbors on “Little House on the Prairie” (8 p.m., ABC).

Hugh Grant stars in the 2002 comedy “About a Boy” (9 p.m., ABC).

Alexa Vega stars in “Odd Girl Out” (9 p.m., Lifetime), a 2005 cable drama about teen cliques and cruelty.

Cameron Diaz hosts “Saturday Night Live” (11:30 p.m., NBC), featuring musical guest Green Day

Sunday’s highlights

Scheduled on “60 Minutes” (7 p.m., CBS): a former mobster; Homeland Security waste; an interview with Jane Fonda continues.

David Duchovny appears on “Inside the Actor’s Studio” (7 p.m., Bravo), now in its new time slot.

Another palooka hits the mat on “The Contender” (8 p.m., NBC).

Tears and drywall on “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” (8 p.m., ABC).

“Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” (8 p.m., HBO) glances back at its first 10 years.

Ashley Judd and Morgan Freeman star in the 2002 drama “High Crimes” (9 p.m., CBS).

Susan’s mom, Sophie (Lesley Ann Warren), pops in on “Desperate Housewives” (9 p.m., ABC).

A patient makes a pass on “Grey’s Anatomy” (10 p.m., ABC).

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