'Friends' or 'Murder,' take pick


CBS should have changed its name to Couldn't Be Stupider when it moved "Murder, She Wrote" from Sunday, where it had prospered, to Thursday, where it could duke it out with "Friends." Guess who's winning?

* "Friends" (8 p.m.-8:30 p.m., WBAL, Channel 11) -- Thank goodness, Rachel and Ross are back to making goo-goo eyes at each other. Meanwhile, Tom Selleck shows up as an eye doctor who rings Monica's chimes. NBC.

* "Murder, She Wrote" (8 p.m.-9 p.m., WJZ, Channel 13) -- Jessica Fletcher investigates murderous doings on the set of "Buds," a TV show about a bunch of coffee-drinking twentysomethings. Fans of MSW should get a kick out of this good-natured (I think) ribbing of the enemy. Non-fans (of which I am admittedly one) will be too busy watching "Friends." CBS.

* "Great Drives" (8 p.m.-9 p.m., WETA, Channel 26) -- Filmmaker Robert Townsend gets his kicks along Route 66. They don't make roads like this anymore.

* "The Single Guy" (8:30 p.m.-9 p.m., WBAL, Channel 11) -- Jonathan suspects that his friend is making time with Paula Abdul, who guests stars. NBC.


* "Hollywood On Trial" (7 p.m-9 p.m., TCM) -- This 1976 documentary focuses on Hollywood's blacklist, the Communist-inspired hysteria that gripped the movie industry during the 1950s and ruined the careers of far too many innocent people. Although the story-telling technique seems dated, the story itself is a warning against crucifying people simply because of their beliefs, a warning that rings as true now as ever.

* "The Life and Times of" (8 p.m.-9 p.m., repeats midnight-1 a.m., TNN) -- You haul 16 tons, and what do you get? Howzabout a profile of Tennessee Ernie Ford?

* "Rear Window" (8 p.m.-10:35 p.m., TNT) -- Brent Spiner, Data on "Star Trek: The Next Generation," introduces Alfred Hitchcock's voyeur fantasy, in which a broken-legged Jimmy Stewart uses binoculars to spy on his neighbors, instead of watching his girlfriend Grace Kelly. Go figure.

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