There's 'Hope' for a weak night of prime time

THE BALTIMORE SUN

It's a good thing that "Hope" springs eternal, because without "Chicago Hope," this would be a fairly slow TV night. The spring, as a matter of fact, would be virtually dry.

* "The Nanny." (8-8:30 p.m., WJZ, Channel 13) -- Ellen Ratner shows up as a guest sibling -- the sister of Fran Drescher's nanny. On the same show, Niles (Daniel Davis) auditions as a singer for his boss' latest musical. Because there's another Niles on TV tomorrow night, on "Frasier," perhaps he'll acknowledge that prime-time proximity by singing a lyric from the Who: "I can see for Niles and Niles . . ." CBS.

* "Melrose Place." (8-9 p.m., WBFF, Channel 45) -- In a previous era, perhaps it was true that all roads led to Rome. But on TV in the '90s, all roads lead to "Melrose Place." Or at least one interstate highway does, because Don Cortese, who joins the cast tonight for a brief but prominent stretch, comes from the recent remake of "Route 66." Mr. Cortese plays Jess Hanson, the estranged brother of Grant Show's Jake. Fox.

* "Blossom." (8:30-9 p.m., WBAL, Channel 11) -- This is a "date assault" episode of "Blossom," one of those well-meaning issue shows that invest these usually comedic characters with an unusual, and often unconvincing, level of drama. NBC.

* "A Whole New Ballgame." (8:30-9 p.m., WMAR, Channel 2) -- Peter Scolari, who co-starred with Tom Hanks in "Bosom Buddies" and with Bob Newhart in "Newhart," now guest stars with Corbin Bernsen on tonight's sitcom. "A Whole New Ballgame," indeed. ABC.

* "Tom Clancy's 'Op Center.' " (9-11 p.m., WBAL, Channel 11) -- Part 2 of 2. The first part of this title confuses me, because Mr. Clancy neither wrote it nor provided a book on which it was based. The second part of the title also confuses me a bit, because the abbreviation, without an abbreviation mark, is a little confusing, period. In other words: What's "Op," doc? NBC.

* "Chicago Hope." (10-11 p.m., WJZ, Channel 13) -- The baby with the bad heart goes under Geiger's care -- which ought to calm Birch, the adoptive father, but doesn't. Mandy Patinkin stars as Geiger. CBS.

Cable

* "Father of the Bride." (8-10 p.m., TNT) -- This is not the recent Steve Martin remake. It's the 1950 "make," the one with Spencer Tracy as the father and Elizabeth Taylor as the bride.

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