Country Music Awards keep improving


April reruns bring May new ones: The May ratings period is in full sweep, which means, finally, we get a fresh episode of "NYPD Blue." It's been so long since ABC presented a first-run installment, I was beginning to think the "NYPD" stood for "Not Yet, Perhaps Doomsday."

* "The 29th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards" (8 p.m.-conclusion, WMAR, Channel 2) -- Back in 1965, when the first annual CMA bash was held, the music was different, the festivities weren't ready for prime time, and country music was no big deal. Now it's a very big deal, and each year the awards telecast gets a little better about focusing on performers and performances, rewarding the loyal audience while perhaps courting a new one. Reba McEntire and Alan Jackson host, and performers during this live show are scheduled to include Mary-Chapin Carpenter, Lorrie Morgan, Dwight Yoakam, Wynonna, Billy Ray Cyrus, Clint Black and lots of others. NBC.

* "Phenom." (8:30-9 p.m., WJZ, Channel 13) -- George Burns guest stars on tonight's "Phenom." If that seems like an odd career move, remember this: He also guest starred on "Mister Ed." ABC.

* "Roseanne." (9-9:30 p.m., WJZ, Channel 13) -- It is a testament to the quality of "Roseanne" the series that it remains funny and clever, no matter how outlandish the behavior of Roseanne Arnold. And more and more, credit must go to co-star John Goodman, for weathering all the behind-the-scenes tempests without once commenting on them, reacting to them or letting them affect his own stellar performance. On tonight's first-run episode, D.J. (Michael Fishman) catches his TV mom in a situation where she isn't exactly telling the truth. Hmmm. ABC.

* "Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All." (9-11 p.m., WBAL, Channel 11) -- Part 2 of 2. So THIS is why Donald Sutherland had that full beard for the recent Sci-Fi Network telemovie, "The Lifeforce Experiment." He was grooming himself, so to speak, for his role as the Fairly Old Confederate Captain. Diane Lane, as the title character, gets to age into her 60s in this episode, with Anne Bancroft continuing to play her at age 100. CBS.

* "Tales From the Crypt." (9-10 p.m., WBFF, Channel 45, and WTTG, Channel 5) -- From HBO to late-night Fox to prime-time Fox: The Crypt-Keeper keeps creeping into the TV mainstream. Tonight's two repeats feature Malcolm McDowell as a vampire who taps his local neighborhood blood bank (after which, of course, the clot thickens), and Timothy Stack and Jonathan Stack as Siamese twins with polarized personalities. Fox.

* "NYPD Blue." (10-11 p.m., WJZ, Channel 13) -- Finally. And there's a surprise in store on this week's episode, but I won't ruin it. ABC.

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