'Yearbook' and 'Baby Talk' debut


On The Weekend Watch:

INTRODUCING. . . -- It's spring tryout season in places other than baseball's training camps -- namely, on television. A pair of new series get first airings in the coming days. At 8:30 tonight on Channel 45, the Fox show "Yearbook" (reviewed elsewhere today) gets a sneak preview and moves to its regular slot at 8:30 p.m. Saturday. And on ABC Friday (at 8:30, Channel 13), we finally get a peek at "Baby Talk," the TV spinoff of the hit movie "Look Who's Talking." Julia ("Newhart") Duffy stars in the show that will usually run at 9:30 p.m. Fridays.

HE CAN TOO SING -- The famous screen test report on the young Fred Astaire said, "Can't act. Can't sing. Can dance a little." As we all know, wrong, wrong and wrong, especially on the last point. Astaire's dancing was sublime and his acting, especially later in life, was more than competent. Now Astaire's singing is getting some attention Friday in a special edition of "Great Performances" at 9 p.m. on channels 22 and 67. Audrey Hepburn hosts "The Fred Astaire Songbook," with clip collections from numerous films and even Astaire's 1958 TV singing debut on "The Oscar Levant Show."

SATURDAY CATCH UPS -- With the Persian Gulf war out of prime time and CBS and ABC repeating well-worn movies on Saturday ("La Bamba" on Channel 11 and "Beverly Hills Cop" on Channel 13), the NBC series lineup has fresh fare. "Amen," "Golden Girls" and "Empty Nest" all catch up with pre-empted outings, and the nice returning series "Down Home" (at 8:30) has a guest appearance by country singer Randy Travis.

A PALMER PROFILE -- It is an irresistible story, this saga of a 45-year-old former glory pitcher seeking one more summer in the major league sun. He's Jim Palmer, of course, trying for a comeback with the Baltimore Orioles, whose games he's been broadcasting for several seasons. It's been big news on local stations, of course, but this weekend NBC's "Sunday Today" (at 8 a.m. Channel 2) is scheduled to do the story, too.

SPEAKING OF SPORTS . . . -- March is the mad month for basketball, and warming up toward the big NCAA tourney climax, this weekend offers both the Big East and ACC conference championships. Although Maryland can't play in the post-season go-round because of NCAA sanctions, ACC games can be seen at 2, 7 and 9 p.m. Friday on Channel 45, then move to Channel 2 at 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. Saturday and the final at 2:15 p.m. Sunday. The Big East is on CBS/Channel 11 at 2:30 p.m. Saturday and noon on Sunday.

THE CABLE CONNECTION -- One's from Baltimore and the other is from the Soviet Union. But they're both comics with cable specials Saturday. At 9:45 p.m. on HBO, Baltimore's Jeff Marder stars in a "One Night Stand." And at 9:30 p.m. on Showtime, Yakov Smirnoff performs on tape from Moscow, Idaho.

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