Three movies tonight, none of them new


If you have a feeling of deja vu watching TV tonight, it may be because of what you're vu-ing. All three telemovies shown tonight on the major networks have been televised before: Fox's is a rerun, NBC's was shown last year by HBO, and ABC's was shown by Lifetime.

* "Dead Silence" (8-10 p.m., WBFF, Channel 45) -- This telemovie was shown three years ago on Fox, when so few people watched the network that this barely counts as a rerun. But it's not worth watching, once or twice. Its plot (vacationing students cover up a fatal accident involving their car) had promise, but the script broke it. Renee Estevez, Carrie Mitchum star. Fox.

* "And the Band Played On" (9-11 p.m., WMAR, Channel 2) -- When this telemovie was shown on HBO last year, it ran 2 1/2 hours. Tonight, for its NBC showing, this dramatization of Randy Shilts' history of the medical community's discovery of the AIDS virus is crammed into a two-hour time slot. Subtracting 24 minutes of commercial time, that leaves a 96-minute slot for a 150-minute drama. Among the things that might be cut are the telling details, as well as supporting performances by Ian McKellen, Richard Masur and others. Matthew Modine stars. NBC.

* "Stolen Babies" (9-11 p.m., WJZ, Channel 13) -- Mary Tyler Moore stars in a defiant and deliberate change-of-pace role, with Lea Thompson as a social worker who suspects Ms. Moore's orphanage manager of some amazingly unethical practices. ABC.

* "Murphy Brown" (9-9:30 p.m., WBAL, Channel 11) -- During a shopping trip for new clothes, Murphy (Candice Bergen) sees more than she expected of Miles (Grant Shaud). Decide for yourself whether this is an inducement to tune in or stay away. CBS.

* "Hearts Afire" (9:30-10 p.m., WBAL, Channel 11) -- How many time slots, and chances, has this show had now? I lost track somewhere around 181. Here's a new day, and a new time -- which, if memory serves, is fairly close to its original old day and old time. Markie Post and John Ritter star. CBS.

* "Northern Exposure" (10-11 p.m., WBAL, Channel 11) -- Maurice (Barry Corbin), with his house full of collectibles and treasures, suffers a tragedy of sorts when his house, as they used to say on "SCTV," blows up real good. CBS.


* "Cats & Dogs" (8:05-10:05 p.m., TBS) -- Two of the most popular nature-show animals team up for this two-hour special about America's most popular pets. Personally, I'm a little puzzled as to how felines managed to snare top billing -- but maybe they know that in show biz, it's a dog-eat-dog world.

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