Merry Christmas to:
SIMPSON CASE ADDICTS: Every day without the trial on TV is like a month in the country.
CHRISTOPHER DARDEN: By far the most intriguing lawyer during the Trial of the Century.
PRINCESS DIANA: Oh, what a doozy of an interview. Brilliantly prepared and natural, she could write her own ticket on TV if things don't quite work out royally.
THE BEATLES: I liked the ABC anthology, but the on-screen digital countdown to their first new release in years was a bit much--absurd, you could say.
NOSTALGIA BUFFS: It's a Bing Crosby Yuletide marathon on American Movie Classics Monday, with "Holiday Inn," in which he introduced "White Christmas," airing at 1 p.m.
"THE NANNY": I still don't get this show--but it's doing fine in the ratings with star Fran Drescher, so what do I know?
"CENTRAL PARK WEST": Here's a series that never should have gone to CBS, but to Fox, where it would have done OK with its soul mates "Beverly Hills, 90210" and "Melrose Place."
MARY TYLER MOORE: I'd like to see her again in a flat-out, straight-up sitcom. The image is still there for the right part--maybe as somebody's mom.
THE CLOONEYS: Well, let's see. There's George in "ER." There's his dad Nick, daytime host of American Movie Classics. And there's his aunt, singer Rosemary Clooney, who's also done some solid guest-acting in "ER." A first family of sorts.
"HERCULES": It's ridiculous, but it's hot in syndication. Maybe it's time to bring back "Sheena, Queen of the Jungle." Oh, you remember: 1955-56, with Irish McCalla.
CBS: Nice to know that the network is thinking of going back to its traditional audience, now that it's killed off "Northern Exposure" and has just about demolished "Murder, She Wrote" by moving it.
BILL GATES: The Microsoft boss, the nation's richest person, turned up as a comic foil for David Letterman in one of various TV appearances timed for the launch of his Windows 95 and new book. Thus do modern-day Thomas Edisons and Alexander Graham Bells make the rounds.
GEORGE BURNS: Happy 100th birthday in advance. He hits the century mark on Jan. 20. When I interviewed him for his 97th birthday, he said: "Let's do this every five years." Sounds good to me.
DAVID CARUSO: Win some, lose some. Personally, I wouldn't mind seeing him rejoin "NYPD Blue" with Jimmy Smits and Dennis Franz.
JAY LENO: The reason he's moved ahead in late-night ratings isn't just NBC's stronger overall schedule, but because he's developed an audience comfort level. That's always the key. Johnny Carson remained No. 1 even in the years that NBC couldn't draw flies.
CARROLL O'CONNOR: An extraordinary demonstration of straight talk and openness after the suicide of his drug-addicted, 32-year-old son Hugh, who appeared with him in "In the Heat of the Night."
COUCH POTATOES: Should be a feast when the New York Museum of Television & Radio opens its West Coast branch in Beverly Hills in March.
DAN RATHER: Want to juice up the "CBS Evening News"? Get Walter Cronkite to sit in two or three times a week in the old Eric Sevareid analysis role. Rather plus Cronkite would be a pretty good lure.
ROSEANNE: If she really becomes a talk-show host after her comedy series ends, she'll blow everybody out of the water, including Oprah. A talk show would be a natural move from the stand-up comedy on which all her work is based.
CONNIE CHUNG: Not that she's indicated anything, but speaking of potential talk-show hosts ...
BILL CLINTON: For all his ups and downs, the Republicans still haven't come up with a strong TV candidate to oppose him in the 1996 presidential race.
CANDICE BERGEN: Stick around for awhile in "Murphy Brown."
NETWORK BRASS: Say it isn't so that CBS actually asked David Letterman to stop making fun of his network's prime-time shows. That's like waving a red cape at a bull.
"WALKER, TEXAS RANGER": The success of the Chuck Norris series merely validates the obvious--that a lot of people still like to see bad guys get beat up.
MADISON AVENUE: The public's overall rejection of TV's new fall series, which were passionately devoted to 18-to 49-year-olds, should cause some serious rethinking among sponsors and networks. Sure, NBC's "Caroline in the City" and "The Single Guy" are hits, but they're also hammocked securely among three Thursday blockbusters: "Friends," "Seinfeld" and "ER."
"TWILIGHT ZONE" AFICIONADOS: Rod Serling died 20 years ago at the age of 50, but his classic series and most memorable plays, from "Patterns" to "Requiem for a Heavyweight," hold up superbly. He was born, by the way, on Christmas Day, 1924.
TABLOID TV: You've won. Just check out most local TV news.
CABLE TV: It seems almost quaint to actually seek out the nightly network newscasts. I'm just as familiar with the overnight anchor of CNN's Headline News, Gordon Graham, as I am with Rather, Tom Brokaw and Peter Jennings.