Football carries day, if not much interest


The Doors sang about it once: "Summer's Almost Gone." Meanwhile, we've got Labor Day Weekend on TV, which means a lot of marathons -- and very little else. Precious little. Astoundingly little. So little that I'm deliberately taking up space by repeating the word "little."

* "NFL '94 Preview" (9-10 p.m., Channel 45) -- On commercial broadcast network TV, this is about the only thing worth watching tonight, and even it's expendable. It's less interesting for its analysis of the impending football season than to catch the interaction among John Madden, Terry Bradshaw, James Brown, Matt Millen, Jerry Glanville, Howie Long and apparent TV gadfly Jimmy Johnson. Fox.


* "The Program" (8-9:55 p.m., SHO) -- If you intend to get with "The Program" tonight, be aware that the telecast, like the home-video release, is without the now-infamous scene in which college football recruits tested their nerve by engaging in reckless daredevil stunts. Disney, the studio producing the 1993 film, excised the footage from its prints after one young man was killed imitating the behavior -- a well-meaning, but chillingly conservative, gesture on Disney's part. Following the same guidelines, Hollywood should cut such imitative scenes of cinematic recklessness as the drag race from "Rebel Without a Cause."

* "The White Shadow" (10-11 p.m., NIK) -- This fine MTM drama, from Bruce Paltrow and company, begins a well-deserved run on Nick at Nite tonight, introducing this underrated series to a new generation. "The White Shadow" made two important contributions to television. One, it trained two of its talented black cast members, Kevin Hooks and Thomas Carter, to work behind the camera as well, leading to their fine work as TV directors (on Paltrow's next series, "St. Elsewhere," the same opportunity was given to Eric Laneuville). And two, "The White Shadow" introduced elements of real life, and real surprise, into its story lines. Unlike most TV shows set in high schools, it evolved in real time. Juniors one season were seniors the next, and were graduated a year later -- and in one episode, without warning, one regular character was killed, the random victim of a gun-wielding liquor-store robber. Ken Howard stars.

* " 'Logan's Run' marathon" (10:30 p.m-6:05 a.m., TNT) -- Limited TNT offer: a run on "Run."

* " 'Parker Lewis' marathon" (11 p.m.-5 a.m., USA) -- "Parker Lewis" fans can't lose.

* "Caroline at Midnight" (11:20 p.m.-12:55 a.m., MAX) -- Actually, she's a little early.

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