An Olympics who's-who

The Olympics don't start for another two days, but NBC primes the pump tonight with two hours of athlete profiles and a first chance for everyone to get acquainted with Bob Costas in his role as '96 Olympics host.

"Married With Children" (6: 30 p.m.-7 p.m., WBFF, Channel 45) "It's a Wonderful Life" was never like this: Sam Kinison plays an angel who shows Al (Ed O'Neill) what Peg's life would be like without him.


"The Sentinel" (8 p.m.-9 p.m., WNUV, Channel 54) -- The title character, one hyper-sensitive dude who uses his near-mystical powers of perception to fight bad guys, retreats to a monastery for a little R and R. But -- wouldn't you know it? -- a monk is killed and the Sentinel finds himself back at work. No rest for the weary, I guess. UPN.

"The Faculty" (8: 30 p.m.-9 p.m., WMAR, Channel 2) -- Herb (Peter Michael Goetz) stars in a cautionary tale about betting on a sure thing when he promises his students he'll eat a worm if they raise their math scores. Meanwhile, Flynn (Meredith Baxter) tries to talk her friend out of breast-enhancement surgery. ABC.


"Prelude to the Games" (9 p.m.-11 p.m., WBAL, Channel 11) -- Sports Illustrated produced this series of pieces on various Olympic athletes, including sprinter Michael Johnson, basketball players from the former Yugoslavia and Cuban runner Ana Quirot. Bob Costas is the host. NBC.

"All-Star Countryfest '96" (9 p.m.-11 p.m., WJZ, Channel 13) -- Director Jeff Margolis whittles down Saturday's concert at the Atlanta Motor Speedway to a lean, mean two hours. Performers include Pam Tillis, Tracy Byrd, Alan Jackson, Hank Williams Jr. and the Charlie Daniels Band. CBS.

"Champs" (9: 30 p.m.-10 p.m., WMAR, Channel 2) -- Here's another leftover, as the networks try to dump all the unaired episodes of their failed series. This one, about a bunch of ex-high school jocks unable to let go of the past, was inoffensive, but nothing special. Tonight, Ed (Kevin Nealon) gets the bad news about the divorce settlement with his ex-wife. ABC.


"A Night at the Opera" (8 p.m.-10 p.m.) and "A Day at the Races" (10 p.m.-midnight, TCM) -- You'll never listen to opera the same way again after the Marxes get through with it. "Opera" was their most popular film and, arguably, their funniest. "Races," which followed it, is just as good -- especially the scene where Chico sells an unsuspecting Groucho tips on how to pick a winning horse.

"Hal Roach: Hollywood's King of Laughter" (10 p.m.-11 p.m., Disney) -- Along with Mack Sennett, Hal Roach was the top producer/director of silent comedies during the silent era (although Sennett's fortunes waned considerably when sound came in). Sennett gave us Charlie Chaplin and the Keystone Cops, Roach, Harold Lloyd and Laurel & Hardy. Not a bad legacy.

Pub Date: 7/17/96