Little is special about this night full of specials

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Tonight's TV lineup includes trashy quickie specials by NBC and Fox, and a new "Northern Exposure" in which Rob Morrow, as Joel, finally leaves the show for good. This will disappoint some viewers of "Northern Exposure," and confuse others, who thought he already had left a few times over the past several months.

* "All-Star Ultra TV Censored Bloopers" (8 p.m.-9 p.m., Channel 11) -- Another prime-time showcase for recycled outtakes -- presented by Dick Clark, who is recycling his own "Bloopers" concept specials from the '70s (and it wasn't even an original idea then). NBC.

* "Behind Closed Doors With Joan Lunden" (8 p.m.-9 p.m., Channel 2) -- I wanted to find out who and what was on tonight's special, but they wouldn't let me in. ABC.

* "Scientific American Frontiers" (8 p.m.-9 p.m., Channels 22, 67) -- The primate reason to watch tonight's edition of "Scientific American Frontiers" is to learn more about monkeys. "Prime Time Primates" is the subtitle of the hour, and, to mark the event, tonight's program has as its host Pat Baboon. Actually, its host, as always, is Alan Alda. PBS.

* "Celebrity First Loves" (9 p.m.-10 p.m., Channel 45) -- After watching this special, in which the ex-lovers and early crushes of celebrities reveal details of their literal flirtations with fame, those celebrities, and viewers everywhere, may want to reconsider: Perhaps, in these cases, 'tis not better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. Fox.

* "Northern Exposure" (10 p.m.-11 p.m., Channel 13) -- Adam Arkin makes a brief but typically brilliant guest appearance here, but the final scenes between Joel and Maggie (Janine Turner), meant to be so magical, seem more like a perfunctory wrap-up. Maybe it's because the snow is so deep, but the necessary spark doesn't seem to be there. CBS.

* "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" (11:35 p.m.-12:35 a.m., Channel 11) -- Former President Jimmy Carter is tonight's scheduled guest. His primary reason for appearing is to promote his new book of poetry -- but don't be surprised if his hidden agenda is to remain seated next to Mr. Leno's desk until he extracts a promise for peace regarding the late-night wars. NBC.

Cable

* "Popeye" (8 p.m.-10 p.m., COM) -- With director Robert Altman's career in ascendancy again, perhaps he'll finally get some credit for bringing a loony cartoon world to such vivid three-dimensional life in this 1980 musical. Robin Williams and Shelley Duvall, as Popeye and Olive Oyl, were perfectly cast, and so were Ray Walston (now of "Picket Fences") as Pappy and Paul Dooley as Wimpy. Watch, in smaller roles, for Linda Hunt and Bill Irwin, and listen for the late Harry Nilsson's rhymes and music. It isn't sung that well, but it's clever.

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