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Highlights | TURN ON, TUNE IN OR MISS OUT

Mayberry, still pretty as you please; 'Third Rock' aims for super show; KCET explores the Emerald flow

January 25, 1998|STEVEN LINAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Sunday

"The Andy Griffith Show" / 7:30 a.m. TBS

Who can't whistle the theme song from this classic comedy? Well, you can whistle while working on 16 straight hours of warm, winning tales set in the tiny town of Mayberry. For the uninitiated, this is the cable superstation's annual counterprogramming maneuver designed to draw viewers from today's little football game in San Diego. Makes one wonder what Andy, Don Knotts and Ron Howard will be watching.

****

"3rd Rock From the Sun" / 7 p.m. NBC

After Green Bay or Denver walks off the field as champions of Super Bowl XXXII, the real scrimmage begins with a special one-hour episode of this crazed comedy. In past years, a network carrying the NFL extravaganza has reserved the highly coveted postgame slot for a new or high-profile series assured of a huge audience. This time, NBC looks toward "Rock" to roll with impressive ratings. Cindy Crawford, Angie Everhart and Beverly Johnson guest as beautiful aliens bent on taking over Earth.

Monday

"The American Music Awards" / 8 p.m. ABC

Drew Carey promises to maintain a lively pace as host of the 25th annual ceremony. The quick-witted comic oversees this three-hour telecast in which rap producer-turned-performer Sean "Puffy" Combs leads the field with five nominations, including favorite male pop/rock artist. Michael Bolton, Garth Brooks, Mariah Carey, Janet Jackson, Enrique Iglesias and Reba McEntire are among the performers. Frank Sinatra will receive an Award of Merit.

****

"The Irish in America: Long Journey Home" / 9 p.m. KCET through Wednesday

We won't be raising a glass to St. Patrick's Day for another month or so, but until then history buffs can turn to this six-hour PBS series. Boasting the music of Elvis Costello, Sinead O'Connor, Van Morrison and the Chieftains, this documentary chronicles the Emerald Isle migration from the mid-1800s to the 1960s with John F. Kennedy as president.

Tuesday

"The Harryhausen Chronicles" / 6 p.m. AMC

Ever marveled at the imaginative special effects of "The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms" (1953), "The 7th Voyage of Sinbad" (1958) or "Mysterious Island" (1961)? If so, you are eminently familiar with the work of Ray Harryhausen, the master craftsman who excelled at interweaving stop-motion animation with live action. Leonard Nimoy narrates this hourlong documentary featuring home movies and clips of his entertaining films, including "Jason and the Argonauts," his favorite from 1963.

****

"Barbara Mandrell and the Do-Rites: The Last Dance" / 6 and 10 p.m. TNN

Last dance? Yes, the ebullient entertainer is capping her busy road schedule with the "final" concert of her career. The two-hour special was taped in October at the Grand Ole Opry House, where she sings with her band and performs on a variety of musical instruments. Mandrell, who wants to devote her energy to acting, will continue in a recurring role on the NBC soap "Sunset Beach."

Saturday

"TV Censored Bloopers '98" / 8 p.m. NBC

How soft is this week in terms of original, rock-'em, sock-'em programs? Well, the inclusion of this midseason series should say it all. Actually, with ABC posting respectable ratings for its revival of "America's Funniest Home Videos," perhaps the timing is right for a weekly collection of giddy gaffes from TV and movies. Dick Clark's co-host is Suzanne Whang of the Lifetime magazine show "New Attitudes."

"Gia" / 9 p.m. HBO

Angelina Jolie glimmers and glowers as Gia Carangi, the smashingly successful and self-destructive supermodel whose glamorous, fast-track lifestyle was terminated by AIDS in 1986 at the age of 26. Uninhibited and loaded with attitude, Gia grabbed the covers of Vogue and Cosmopolitan while delving deeper into drugs and dirty needles. This made-for-cable drama also acquaints us with her mother (Mercedes Ruehl) and on-again, off-again lover (Elizabeth Mitchell). Faye Dunaway co-stars as mentor Wilhelmina Cooper.

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