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'Masterpiece' moves to new 'Heights'; slow exit of Mr. Smits; awarding Arnold with a roast



"Emma's Wish" / 9 p.m. CBS

No growing pains here. Joanna Kerns stars in this whimsical TV movie as a lonely septuagenarian who gets her birthday wish to be 35 years younger. Posing as a helpful nanny (a la "Mrs. Doubtfire"), the young-again Emma goes to work for her troubled daughter (Harley Jane Kozak) in a bid to reconcile their estranged relationship, gaining a newfound perspective on the mother-daughter dynamic in the process. Della Reese plays Emma's retirement home roommate.


"Masterpiece Theatre" / 9 p.m. KCET

Back to the moors we go for a new adaptation of the passionate Emily Bronte novel, "Wuthering Heights." Orla Brady and Robert Cavanah portray Cathy and Heathcliff, the star-crossed lovers whose happiness is upended when Cathy marries her refined neighbor, Edgar. Where most versions of the bittersweet story end with Cathy's demise, this PBS retelling deals with the second generation, involving a romantic triangle among Cathy's daughter, Heathcliff's son and another handsome young man. As always, hankies are optional for the viewing.


"Africans in America" / 8 p.m. KCET

From the nation's early days as an English settlement to the start of the Civil War, this four-part PBS series examines the roots of slavery. Narrated by actress Angela Bassett, the 90-minute programs (which air through Thursday with nightly repeats at 9:30 p.m.) feature the familiar voices of Andre Braugher, Avery Brooks, William Hurt and others. Executive producer Orlando Bagwell hopes the series yields a discussion of the prickly subject. "If we recognize our shared history," he asserts, "then we're on the road to reconciling racial divisiveness."


"Lost Warriors of the Clouds" / 9 p.m. Discovery Channel

In the summer of 1997, a team of intrepid archeologists recovered 200 remarkably preserved mummies from the jungles of South America. This one-hour documentary narrated by Edward James Olmos follows Dr. Sonia Guillen, whose work shed light on an ancient people defeated by the Inca more than 500 years ago. This unprecedented discovery included the removal of the mummies from a cliff-side mausoleum, which enabled scientists to study the Inca empire more closely than ever.


"The Girl Next Door" / 9 p.m. CBS

The synopsis for this TV movie smacks of the been-there, seen-that variety. Tracey Gold plays a young woman manipulated by her older, married lover (Tom Irwin) into murdering his wife (a variation of "Double Indemnity" and countless imitators). After committing the crime, the heroine Annie then is consumed by the overwhelming guilt (with apologies to Dostoevsky, think "Crime and Punishment"). Sharon Gless co-stars as a police psychologist who helps Annie come to grips with her emotions.


"NYPD Blue" / 10 p.m. ABC

Good teams are hard to find on the prime-time landscape. One of the best in recent years has been the highly successful pairing of Jimmy Smits and Dennis Franz as seasoned police detectives Bobby Simone and Andy Sipowicz. As the justifiably acclaimed cop show takes to the streets for its sixth season, producer Steven Bochco has fashioned a five-episode story line that will result in November's departure of Smits, who replaced David Caruso in 1994. In this week's opener, Simone is stabbed by the prime suspect in a murder case, and retired cop Mike Roberts returns to rub Andy the wrong way.


"Hollywood Salutes Arnold Schwarzenegger" / 8 p.m. TNT

Most people can't spell that surname (hey, even we have to double-check it), but they certainly know his face and physique. Man o' action Ah-nold, who has flexed his pecs in "The Terminator," "True Lies," "Total Recall" and other mega-budget flicks, accepts the American Cinematheque Award annually bestowed on an artist making a "significant contribution" to film and video. Garry Shandling (he's the one without the bulging biceps) emcees the event (part tribute, part roast), which was taped in Beverly Hills.

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