brucekluger.com

    The Los Angeles Times, November 19, 2004

    Commentary
    I Want My, Um...TV?

    By Bruce Kluger and David Slavin


    With one out of five voters longing for a return to "values," television is busy
    revamping its prime-time lineup. After all, the moral state of the nation is at stake
    and, besides, who can afford the FCC fines?

    7:00        CROSSCHAT (CNN) Former firebrands Paul Begala and Robert Novak
    compare fabric swatches for Begala's new window treatments. Tucker Carlson
    lends his keen sense of color to the discussion.

    8:00        THE SOPRANOS (HBO) When the Gambini family moves in on the
    Sopranos' loan-shark operations, Tony (James Gandolfini) takes matters into his
    own hands, firing off an angry letter to the Better Business Bureau. Tony Danza
    guest stars as "The Mailman."

    8:00        FEAR FACTOR (NBC) In a tense faceoff, contestants compete in edge-
    of-your-seat challenges, including: returning an overdue library book unnoticed,
    tearing the "Do Not Remove" label from a mattress and eating week-old crudites.

    9:00        WILL & GRACE (NBC) After a surprise monthlong stay at a conversion
    camp, Will (Eric McCormack) comes back a "new man." Unfortunately for Grace
    (Debra Messing), this means he dresses badly, refuses to ask for directions and
    never gives up the remote.

    9:00        DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES (ABC) Panicked that Martha Stewart no
    longer appears on television, Susan (Teri Hatcher) and Lynette (Felicity Huffman)
    attempt to prepare braised lamb shank completely on their own. Calamity ensues.

    9:30        ACCORDING TO JESUS (ABC) In this playful but pious episode, Jim
    (Jim Belushi) casts off his boorish ways and joins a Bible study group at the local
    church. Old habits die hard, however, when Jim impishly puts whoopee cushions
    in the pews. Special guest star Mel Gibson appears as the Holy Ghost.

    10:00        LAW & ORDER: FBU (NBC) The elite Fender Bender Unit hits the
    streets, defusing an explosive dispute between a New York City cab driver (guest
    star Deepak Chopra) and a Long Island Security Mom (Ally Sheedy). Parental
    warning: Episode contains footage of drivers not wearing seat belts.

    10:00        CSI: TOLEDO (CBS) In a new spinoff of the white-hot forensic
    franchise, a crack team of investigators heads to the Midwest to infiltrate illegal
    gay weddings in Ohio. Harvey Fierstein stars as wily Det. Leslie McGreevey, who
    can "spot a nancy-boy clear across the dance floor."

    10:00        APPROPRIATE CUDDLING AND THE CITY (HBO) In this reunion
    special, Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) buys designer socks; Charlotte (Kristin
    Davis) and Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) vie for the attention of a cute abstinence
    counselor; and Samantha (Kim Cattrall) confesses that she always thought
    “heavy petting” meant caring for a fat cat.

    11:00        THE O'REILLY FACTOR (FNC) Programming note: The Factor will
    be preempted until Mr. O'Reilly can locate a guest with a contrary point of view.