Tonight's TV highlights: what looks to be Bob Hope's final TV special for NBC, and the premiere of a Ted Danson movie made for theaters but never distributed until tonight's ABC premiere.
"Loch Ness" (8 p.m.-10 p.m., WMAR, Channel 2) -- As a family viewing option for Saturday night, you can do no better than this 1994 movie. One surprise is the amount of humor here; Danson plays a scientist grudgingly visiting Loch Ness to prove no marine monster resides there. Of course, Danson and the innkeeper (Joely Richardson) fall in love, and the Henson shop does a good job when the legend is called upon to surface. ABC.
"Bob Hope: Laughing With the Presidents" (8 p.m.-9 p.m., WBAL, Channel 11) -- As in the past few specials, vintage clips speak more loudly and often than Hope himself, who, at 93, offers a few intermittent remarks and memories while letting past and current chief executives do most of the talking. Bob Hope deserves a mammoth farewell special from NBC, but this sure isn't it. NBC.
"Nature: The Joy of Pigs" (10 p.m.-11 p.m., MPT, Channels 22 and 67) -- Rolling around in mud now that's joy. PBS.
"Saturday Night Live" (11: 30 p.m.-1 a.m., WBAL, Channel 11) -- It's been a big year for "SNL" alumni this season, with Chris Rock, then Robert Downey Jr., both returning to the fold as guest hosts. Tonight it's Phil Hartman's turn. NBC.
"Rebound: The Legend of Earl 'The Goat' Maginault" (8 p.m.-10 p.m., HBO) -- If you don't know who "The Goat" is, that's the primary point of this new docudrama from HBO. Had he not been tempted and sidelined by drugs at an early age, the basketball phenomenon's name and skills probably would be a lot more familiar. The actor who plays him, though, will be familiar to "Picket Fences" fans: Don Cheadle. Eric La Salle of "ER" directs "Rebound" and co-stars with Forest Whitaker and James Earl Jones.
"Understanding Time" (noon-1 p.m. and 7 p.m.-8 p.m.) and "Understanding Oceans" (9 p.m.-10 p.m.), Learning Channel) -- "Understanding Time" highlights Maryland clockmakers Leland and Michelle Smith and their business in Wicomico County's Mardela Springs. In "Understanding Oceans," we see people whose lives have been shaped by the seas, including a Cuban diver who can hold his breath 500 feet underwater and one of the two men who descended to the deepest point of the ocean floor in a Navy submersible in 1960 -- a feat that has yet to be matched. The two shows are part of a weekend-long marathon of TLC's "Understanding" series, running from 9 a.m. today to 2 a.m. Monday.
Pub Date: 11/23/96