The talk-show hosts are everywhere


Has your Olympic fever receded yet? It's back to basics, back to business as usual -- and back to the business of paying attention to other things, including a stellar syzygy in the late-night talk-show firmament.

* "Evening Shade" (8-8:30 p.m., WBAL, Channel 11) -- Returning to prime-time regularity, CBS begins with an "Evening Shade" showcasing guest stars Tammy Wynette and K. T. Oslin, who play singing sisters of Merleen (Ann Wedgeworth). CBS.

* "Nova: 'In Search of Human Origins' " (8-9 p.m., WMPT, channels 22 and 67) -- "Nova" goes digging for ratings with a three-part documentary about paleoanthropology. PBS.

* "Rise and Walk: The Dennis Byrd Story" (8-10 p.m., WBFF, Channel 45) -- This docudrama begins weakly, re-creating the New York Jets' Dennis Byrd's on-field 1992 collision (which left him paralyzed) and lapsing into flashbacks. But once it gets into the process of Mr. Byrd's arduous rehabilitation therapy, it draws you in and doesn't let go. Besides, it's nice to see a docudrama that isn't about wackos or Waco. Peter Berg stars as the defensive end, with Kathy Morris as his supportive wife and Johann Carlo as his tough yet tender physical therapist. The producer is Jed Dietz, a resident of Baltimore. Fox.

* "John Jakes' Heaven and Hell: North and South Part III" (9-11 p.m., WJZ, Channel 13) -- Second of three parts. Rip Torn, as TV's best grizzled trapper since Robert Conrad peddled pelts in "Centennial," steals the second part of this miniseries, which will conclude Wednesday. ABC.

* "Northern Exposure" (10-11 p.m., WBAL, Channel 11) -- Adam Arkin, who recently turned in a terrific guest shot on "Picket Fences," lets his hair down (or puts on his long-haired wig, anyway) to make another "Northern Exposure" appearance as Adam -- who, this time, is a dinner guest instead of a chef. CBS.

* "Late Show With Dave Letterman" (11:35 p.m.-12:35 a.m., WNUV, Channel 54) -- Who is Mr. Letterman going to talk to now that his mom has flown home from Lillehammer? Well, one of his guests tonight is Garry Shandling, on whose HBO "Larry Sanders Show" Mr. Letterman appeared last season. What could be more interesting than real talk-show host Letterman chatting with fake talk-show host Shandling?

* "Late Night With Conan O'Brien" (12:35 p.m.-1:35 a.m., WMAR, Channel 2) -- This could be better: Real talk-show host Letterman talks to real talk-show host Conan O'Brien. The last time they talked, Mr. Letterman was behind the "Late Night" desk and Mr. O'Brien was his guest. Mr. Letterman asked then to be invited back -- and on the six-month anniversary of Mr. Letterman's "Late Show," the prodigal host returns. NBC.

* "Later With Greg Kinnear" (2:35-3:05 a.m., WMAR, Channel 2) -- To complete the late-night action, "Later" presents its first edition with new host Greg Kinnear, who's replacing Bob Costas. NBC.

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