Random musings from a television editor who spends far too much time in front of the tube . . .

- Have I mentioned lately how much I enjoy Dave Fox's Plays of the Week on KUTV? . . .- Don't you think it's a little bit deceptive that Ch. 5 begins its Eyewitness News at 6:30 a couple of minutes past 6:30 - meaning if you wait until then to switch channels you've missed the beginning of your other show? . . .

- ABC's new sitcom "Baby Talk" - perhaps the only comedy on television that hasn't had one funny moment in its first two episodes - is doing quite well in the ratings so far. It's things like this that make TV critics lose faith in the American public . . .

- As long as I'm worrying about the American public, what does this infatuation with that nerd Steven Urkel on "Family Matters" signify? No . . . no . . . I don't want to know.

- I wish my hair would grow as fast as Phil Riesen's. Of course, I wish I had half as much hair as Phil. Oh, heck, I wish I had hair . . .

- Speaking of Riesen, didn't Jon DuPre do a great job subbing for Ch. 4's main anchor while he was recovering from his brain aneurysm? . . .

- Only 17 more days until "Northern Exposure" returns to the air. Hurrah! . . .

- Many local commercials for auto dealerships seem rather counterproductive. Do they really think that acting like idiots is going to encourage us to go spend thousands of dollars with them? . . .

- With a little bit of practice, you too can master the art of staring intently at commercials while paying absolutely no attention to them . . .

- I'm betting against my ability to stay awake all the way through Monday's Academy Awards telecast . . .

- The quality of local television news - at Ch. 2, Ch. 4 and Ch. 5 - is considerably higher than the national average. (A day spent judging a Colorado television news contest recently was an excellent reminder of this fact.) . . .

- My father was the principal of the elementary school I attended, and my life was absolutely nothing like "Davis Rules." . . .

- Have you ever wondered why some shows live for decades? It's because there's always a new audience growing up to watch them. My 31/2-year-old was recently quite excited about the "new" "Dennis the Menace" she'd discovered on Nickelodeon. (You know, the one starring Jay North.) . . .

- In view of the number of storms our local weathercasters have predicted lately - storms that either fizzled out or never arrived at all - I'm glad I'm only responsible for everything that's on TV and not the weather . . .

- "Dark Shadows" is about vampires, witches, zombies, time travel - and it's still not as weird as "Twin Peaks." . . .

- We're very lucky to live in a market where so many local games are available on TV - the Jazz, BYU, Utah and, to a lesser extent, Utah State and Weber State . . .

- According to the ratings, not many people are watching, but there's something to be said for the lighter approach KUTV takes with its 5 p.m. newscast . . .

- Why do so many people want to talk to me about the hairstyles of our local anchorwomen? . . .

- I know lots of people who remind me of the Simpsons but no one who reminds me of the Huxtables . . .

- KUTV aired all kinds of "this program may be objectionable" announcements before and during Tuesday's installment of "Donahue" about amateur porno videos. Perhaps the answer would have been to pull the episode and air it late at night . . .

- At the same time, wouldn't it be nice to see a bit of consistency from Ch. 5? The same station that won't air an edited version of "Dirty Dancing" (apparently the title scares them off) will air an exploitative and offensive movie about the Hi Fi murders. I'm not suggesting censorship here, but why not go the late-night route? . . .

- I'd love to play one of Murphy Brown's secretaries . . .

- Sometimes television chemistry defies logic. For example, Kathie Lee Gifford is a bubblehead and Regis Philbin is loud and obnoxious - but together they're kind of fun to watch . . .

- KSL anchors would make quite a basketball team - they've got good starters and a strong bench . . .

- Don't you sort of think ABC is just trying to drive the final nails in the "Twin Peaks" coffin by scheduling it opposite "Cheers"? And don't you figure that if NBC had any real confidence in "Shannon's Deal" it wouldn't have scheduled the show on Saturdays at 9 p.m.? . . .

- It's doesn't get a lot of press - and it lives in "Roseanne's" rather large shadow - but "Coach" has quietly become one of the funniest shows on television . . .

- Wouldn't it be fun if Rosalind Shays ("L.A. Law") and Miles Drentell ("thirtysomething") ran into each other? . . .

- I know why PBS stations have to have fund drives, but I still wish they didn't . . .

- At least 99.9 percent of the people who say they only watch PBS are lying. (And they probably go home and watch "American Gladiators" and "Hee Haw.") . . .

MORE MURDER: They can barely contain their excitement in the executive suites at CBS - Angela Lansbury has agreed to return for an eighth season of "Murder, She Wrote."

Still one of CBS' biggest hits, the return of "Murder" is largely attributable to a failure to find a sitcom for Lansbury. Under terms of her agreement with the network, when her hourlong drama goes off the air she'll return the following season with a comedy.

But, so far, those efforts have come to naught.

The always classy Lansbury still lends an air of distinction to "Murder, She Wrote" despite its now very-familiar formula. And the only ones sorry to see Jessica Fletcher back next season are ABC, NBC, Fox - and the 22 or so characters sure to die on the series.