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The Week Ahead

No war is no problem for news shows

May 05, 2003|Brian Lowry

Although President Bush declared the war in Iraq over only last week, the prime-time newsmagazines are back to a familiar if winning formula this week, loading up on crime and pop culture segments as the rating sweeps continue in full swing.

NBC's "Dateline," for example, features "ER's" 200th episode Tuesday (Stone Phillips interviews the producers), while Al Roker previews "The Matrix Reloaded" in Sunday's edition.

ABC's "Primetime Thursday," meanwhile, spends two hours examining the trio who scammed the British version of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire," and CBS' "48 Hours Investigates" focuses on whether "a high school honor student, a trusted baby-sitter," is guilty of murder.

Barbara Walters and "20/20" have also answered the call, featuring interviews with singer Anastacia and Queen Latifah. And while venerable "60 Minutes" has largely stuck with events abroad, offshoot "60 Minutes II" pitched in with a Judge Judy profile last week.

The month's TV news event from a TV news standpoint, however, might be anchor Jane Pauley's final "Dateline" appearance next week, which includes a Michael J. Fox interview and reflection on her 27 years at NBC, with testimonials from Tom Brokaw and Barbara Walters, among others. NBC also underscores the news-entertainment synergy next Monday when Katie Couric and Jay Leno swap roles on the "Today" and "Tonight" shows.

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