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See orangutans, any which way you can


There's no sense monkeying around tonight: One of the best things on TV this evening is a documentary about an orangutan, which is a pretty clear indication of just how weak a night this is. But, gibbon the fact that it's a Saturday night in March, that's no big surprise.

* "NCAA basketball championships" (noon-9 p.m., Channel 13) -- For nine hours, the ball bounces, the teams play -- and at the end of the night, a lot of teams are heading home. CBS.

* "Empty Nest" (8 p.m.-8:30 p.m., Channel 11) -- Here's advance notice of an in-joke, or "Extra," this series is hatching tonight. One of the subplots has LaVerne, played by Park Overall, auditioning for the chance to provide the voice for a new cartoon. In real life, that's exactly what Ms. Overall is doing, having been hired to add her voice to Fox's new version of "The Critic." It takes a critic to notice that ahead of time. NBC.

* "World of Discovery" (8 p.m.-9 p.m., Channel 2) -- Is it merely a coincidence that last Saturday ABC presented in this time slot "Any Which Way You Can," in which Clint Eastwood co-stars with an orangutan, and tonight presents a documentary titled "Orangutans: Children of the Forest"? I think not. Perhaps the network is trying to ape last week's ratings. This show is all about Di-Di, a 7-year-old orangutan who, after years in captivity, is re-introduced to the wild. ("Di-Di, meet wild; Wild, meet Di-Di.") ABC.

* "Saturday Night Live" (11:30 p.m.-1 a.m., Channel 11) -- Paul Reiser is guest host, with Annie Lennox as the musical guest.


* "Sins of the Mother" (8 p.m.-10 p.m., LIF) -- TV has underused Elizabeth Montgomery of late, but this 1991 fact-based movie provided her a strong opportunity to play against type and portray a villainous, almost frightening mother. She does so well here, she almost gives Diana Rigg, in "Mother Love," a run for her maternal, maniacal money.

* "The Paper" (8 p.m.-10 p.m., SHO) -- Director Ron Howard and star Michael Keaton patterned this tabloid comedy-drama on the New York Post and New York Daily News, two papers for whom I worked at the time they were doing research. All I can say is, they got the newsroom flavor exactly right, but the showdown over press runs exactly wrong. Still, it's fun, and Spalding Gray and Randy Quaid give deliciously funny supporting performances.

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