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Preview '96

Special Orders

September 15, 1996|JON MATSUMOTO | Jon Matsumoto is a frequent contributor to Calendar and TV Times

When it comes to specials, politics carries the season. This fall, comedian Dennis Miller hosts HBO's "Not Necessarily the Election" every Friday night during October. On Election Night (Nov. 6), Bill Maher will present a special edition of his irreverent Comedy Central gabfest "Politically Incorrect With Bill Maher."

Discovery Channel also jumps into the political fray when it examines "The Reagan Legacy," Nov. 3-4.

Of course, there will be plenty of apolitical specials airing too--everything from friendly felines (A&E's "Cats") to unexplained visions and occurrences (NBC's "Ancient Prophecies IV"). A sampling:

COMEDY

"HBO Comedy Hour: Jon Stewart": Stand-up comedy with the former talk-show host. Friday HBO.

"Not Necessarily the Election": Dennis Miller unleashes his political wit. Every Friday night in October. HBO.

"Politically Incorrect With Bill Maher": Maher hosts live, prime-time coverage of Election Night. Nov. 5. Comedy Central.

"Pulp Comics": A special featuring a noteworthy comedian in a casual, storytelling setting. No brick walls, no microphones, no punch lines. October. Comedy Central.

DOCUMENTARY

"Ancient Prophecies IV": The latest installment of this periodic two-hour special explores unexplained visions and occurrences, as well as modern-day prophecies. Hosted by David McCallum. TBA. NBC.

"Cats": A historical, cultural and sociological look. Dec. 22. A&E.

"Chariots of the Gods? The Mystery Continues": Author Erich Von Daniken once again suggests that extraterrestrials made contact with humans many centuries ago. TBA. ABC.

"Destination Mars": The feasibility of sending humans to Mars. Dec. 1. Discovery.

"Do Something: An MTV News Special Report": Andrew Shue hosts a documentary profiling young activists who shatter the "slacker" stereotype of the MTV generation. Oct. 21. MTV.

"Fox: The Early Years": A salute to the people and films that made 20th Century Fox a major film studio. December. AMC.

"The Free Willy Story: Keiko's Journey Home": Rene Russo narrates this special about Keiko, the orca whale who inspired "Free Willy" and the sequel. Oct. 28. Discovery.

"Ghost Stories": Six people tell stories about their encounters with the dead. Oct. 27. TBS.

"Immortality On Ice": A look at cryonics, the practice of preserving bodies in a state of frozen suspended animation. Oct. 20. Discovery.

"National Geographic Specials": The giant squid, Botswana's Kalahari Desert and new technology in medical science will be topics explored this season. TBA. NBC.

"Raising the Titanic: The Adventure Continues": Sets the stage for the April airing of "Titanic: Anatomy of a Disaster," a two-hour follow-up with results of the expedition. Oct. 13. Discovery.

"The Reagan Legacy": Reaganomics and Star Wars. Nov. 3-4. Discovery.

"Shingalana": The story of an abandoned lion cub adopted by humans; three parts. Sept. 24. Disney Channel.

"Smashed: An MTV News Special Report": The impact of alcohol on young lives, hosted by reporter Kurt Loder. Oct. 7. MTV.

"25th Anniversary of MASH": One-hour special looks back at the popular sitcom through clips and interviews with cast and crew. TBA. Fox.

"Without Pity": Case studies of men, women and children coping with disabilities from cerebral palsy to blindness. Christopher Reeves narrates. Oct. 8. HBO.

MUSIC

"Farm Aid '96": Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, Neil Young and Hootie & the Blowfish perform during a six-hour event benefiting farm families. Oct. 19. TNN.

"Gloria Estefan Live In Concert": Live from her Miami hometown. Sept. 21. HBO.

"Billboard Music Awards": Honoring chart-toppers of the year, Dec. 4. Fox.

SPORTS

"Rock 'N' Roll Skating Championships III": TBA. Fox.

"The NBA at 50": The golden anniversary of the National Basketball Assn. Nov. 16. TNT.

"Winter X Games": A four-day winter extreme sports showcase. Jan. 30-Feb. 2. ESPN and ESPN2.

VARIETY

"From Zero to Three" (working title): Performance turns from celebrities--in music, comedy and documentary shorts--show how the first three years of a child's life are the most important in human development. Rob Reiner directs. TBA. ABC.

"World's Greatest Magic III": Nov. 27. NBC.

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