ON AND OFF THE AIR:
* Where do families begin? With the arrival of a baby, of course, and WBAL-Channel 11's second "Your Family Works" special explores the process this weekend.
Airing at 7 p.m. Saturday (and repeating at 4 p.m. Sunday), "Rites of Passage: Part One -- Birth," follows an expectant couple through pregnancy and the baby's arrival.
And on Sunday, a "Family Works Forum" special airs at noon. Anchor Carolyn McEnrue and reporter Tim Tooten moderate an hourlong discussion of family problems associated with the recessionary rise in unemployment.
"The Family Works" is WBAL's two-year public affairs campaign aimed at supporting families in a time when they face extraordinary stress.
* Speaking of families, cable television's The Family Channel tonight is repeating the 1990 movie by which it launched the revival of a favorite family TV series from the past.
"Zorro: The Legend Begins" can be seen at 7 o'clock, with Duncan Regehr as the masked protector of the downtrodden and Efrem Zimbalist Jr. ("The FBI") as his father. (The series resulting from the pilot film, "The New Zorro," can be seen at 6:30 p.m. weekdays on The Family Channel.)
Did you know the history of the masked Southwest swordsman reaches pretty far back into pop culture? The character was born long before Walt Disney created the first TV series (1957-59 on ABC), when artist Johnston McCulley created a "Zorro" comic strip in 1919.
Several movies were made before the TV series, and after the series came a 1974 TV-movie, "The Mark of Zorro" (with Frank Langella) and a short-lived 1983 comedy series, "Zorro and Son" (with Henry Darrow, Paul Regina and Bill -- "Jose Jimenez" -- Dana as the servant, Bernardo.
The word zorro, by the way, is Spanish for "fox.")
* A half-hour special on cable's CNN network tonight, "The People's House" (at 8:30), examines the U.S. Congress in light of recent scandals and polls showing an all-time low level of public confidence. Correspondent Bob Franken is the host.
Another CNN special this weekend, "The People Bomb," is the first of four reports this month on the problems of the growing world population, as found in 13 nations. The series can be seen at 9 p.m. the next four Sundays.
* Cable's VH-1 video service takes a drive in the country this weekend, programming the greatest hits of country music and a variety of down-home specials all day Sunday.
"VH-1: A Day In the Country" includes actor John Corbett (disc jockey Chris on "Northern Exposure") as host of the special "American Rock & Country," a trio of "Nashville Profiles" of Garth Brooks, Dwight Yoakam and Randy Travis and a special edition of the "VH-1 To One" interview show featuring gonzo country star Brooks.