A big day for news, but not 'NYPD Blue'


At last, a busy day. Watch for reports about today's multiracial elections in South Africa. Then choose from among a well-intentioned anti-violence special on CBS and Fox, an old "NYPD Blue" and so on. But beware: programming today and tomorrow on the broadcast networks and news channels could be pre-empted by coverage of events leading up to former President Richard M. Nixon's funeral.

* "The Dreamer of Oz" (8-10 p.m., WRC, Channel 4) -- John Ritter stars as the fanciful writer, whose life story is told -- and whose imaginings are brought to life cleverly and seamlessly. NBC repeat.

* "Kids Killing Kids" (8-9 p.m., channels 11 and 45) -- Arnold Shapiro, creator of "Scared Straight!" and "Rescue 911," serves up another slice of TV with pro-social implications. This one offers vignettes involving guns and kids, then "rewinds" after each tragedy to give each protagonist a "second chance," showing how problems can be solved or avoided without resorting to gunfire. To the writers' credit, not every alternate scenario ends with the expected result -- but, even so, the preachiness and some awkward performances may dilute the desired effect among the target audience of teens. But parents could do a lot worse than to use this special as a springboard for a family discussion. Fox, CBS.

* "NYPD Blue" (10-11 p.m., WJZ, Channel 13) -- How many weeks has it been since there was a fresh "NYPD Blue"? Several. Here's another rerun, going back to when Janice Licalsi (Amy Brenneman) was involved with both Kelly (David Caruso) and the mob. ABC.

* "Frontline: 'Mandela' " (11 p.m.-midnight, WMPT, channels 22 and 67) -- The situation in South Africa continues to be explosive -- literally. Following the story and adapting its report up to and including today, "Frontline" looks back over five decades of South African political history, all of which involve Nelson Mandela in one way or another. John Matisonn, who covered South Africa for National Public Radio, is the anchor. PBS.

* "Nightline" (11:35 p.m.-12:05 a.m., WJZ, Channel 13) -- On days like this, when you know the news will be big, "Nightline" is one show not to miss. ABC.


* "Cowboys of the Americas" (9-10:25 p.m., Disney) -- The plural is intentional, because this special roams not only the United States, but goes north to Canada and as far south as Argentina.

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