'Women of the House' shakes things up


Editor's note: Starting today, Sun staff writer Steve McKerrow takes over the television highlights column, Today's TV. In addition to guiding readers to the day's best programs, he'll alert you to shows of local interest.

The networks have some tried-and-true tactics to shore up sagging series, and tonight Delta Burke and CBS try several of them in a single show: a time change, nudity and real-life romance. Not actual nudity, though, just talking about it -- and in this case, when politicians are the subject, that seems a good thing.

* "Women of the House" (8:30 p.m.-9 p.m., WJZ, Channel 13) -- As the series takes up a new time period, Gerald McRaney, who is married to Ms. Burke in real life, reappears in his occasional "Designing Women" part as Suzanne Sugarbaker's ex-husband. Meanwhile, the office staff tries to grade the sexiest nude men in Washington, from Bob Dole to Sonny Bono. Try not to dwell on the images too long. CBS.

* "Ray Alexander: A Menu for Murder" (9 p.m.-11 p.m., WBAL, Channel 11) -- Get the title? Lou Gossett returns for a second TV-movie turn as a restaurant owner who stirs up mysteries, this time a whodunit involving the slaying of a judge. NBC.

* "Abandoned and Deceived" (9 p.m.-11 p.m., WMAR, Channel 2) -- In this based-on-fact ABC movie, Lori Loughlin ("Full House") plays a divorced mother who becomes an advocate for change when her husband (Brian Kerwin) fails to uphold child support payments. The real-life crusader was Gerri Jensen. ABC.

* "Chicago Hope" (10 p.m.-11 p.m., WJZ, Channel 13) -- What are the moral questions involved in performing a fetal tissue transplant to treat Parkinson's disease? Dr. Shutt (Adam Arkin) faces the dilemma when an old friend needs the procedure. CBS.

* "The American Experience: One Woman, One Vote" (10:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m., WMPT, Channels 22 and 67) -- Susan Sarandon narrates a documentary in observance of the 75th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. MPT.


* "Voices Against Violence" (7:30 p.m.-8 p.m., CNBC) -- This may seem strange, given the content of a great many program offerings, but the cable networks have declared this Voices Against Violence Week. This half-hour nightly special on CNBC highlights a number of programs through the week aimed at raising awareness of the problems of violence in the U.S.

* "Racism: Points of View" (8 p.m.-8:30 p.m., MTV) -- Another societal ill gets attention in the first of a three-part weekly series xTC with host and rap star Queen Latifah. Tonight's edition includes examination of the music industry.

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