Launder the hankies. Oil the tear ducts. Cue up the ol' Victrola to play "Auld Lang Syne." Sunday is going to be a big day for saying good-bye to longtime TV friends.
Family Ties is going out in a blaze of glory with a special 70-minute episode that will serve as a conclusion to the series' successful seven-year run on NBC. In the episode, called "Alex Doesn't Live Here Anymore," the Keaton family prepares to say good-bye to Alex (Michael J. Fox), who has finally secured that job with a New York City brokerage firm that he's always wanted. At the end of the episode the network will run 10 extra minutes of curtain calls and tributes. (Gee, you don't think that extra 10 minutes is a mean-spirited attempt to mess up the ratings for the last installment of ABC's "War and Remembrance," do you?)Meanwhile on ABC, Moonlighting will limp into the prime time sunset after four years that can only be described as chaotic. The show, which burst onto the scene with zany scripts, innovative filming techniques and appealing stars in Cybill Shepherd and then-newcomer Bruce Willis, has suffered from backstage feuding and some ill-advised plot decisions and has never been able to sustain the brilliance it has occasionally generated. Each year it has come back promising to be "the old `Moonlighting,"' and each year has been more disappointing - which is probably why ABC is pulling the plug.
"We feel the show has reached a creative conclusion and that this is the appropriate time to end the series," said an ABC spokesman Monday. "We are quite proud of the innovation `Moonlighting' brought to television during the past four years, and we appreciate the program's tremendous contribution to ABC's program schedule during that time."
So you'll have to choose between the "Family Ties" finale and the "Moonlighting' swan song Sunday, after which you'll be able to watch War and Remembrance.
You'll want to be sure to have extra hankies for that one.
-LOCAL TV WATCH:
- KSL is doing a news series on satanism. Rod Decker has exotic dancers on "Take Two." Yep - it must be a ratings sweeps month.
- Cheers to KUTV's inside look at the men behind the Utah Jazz on Sunday night. Some really interesting stuff - especially watching Jazz vice president David Checketts try to work a three-way trade with Sacramento and Milwaukee. Too bad the Jazz weren't still around to see it.
- Is it just me, or is KSL's new news set kind of dark? It's very attractive and pleasant to look at. But I keep feeling like I want someone to turn a lamp on or something.
- Mark Erickson, former KTVX news anchor, has joined fellow Ch. 4 alum Michael Watkiss on the Fox Network. Erickson will be working on a new Fox show called "Bio," which is, according to Erickson, "a `20/20'-type thing about how famous people met their deaths." Sounds pretty classy, doesn't it?
-ON TV TONIGHT: There are intriguing mysteries in this world of ours, aren't there? Like Stonehenge. And the Loch Ness Monster. And the celebrity status of Brigitte Nielsen. I mean, really. Who is this woman, and why is CBS featuring her in a worthless piece of video bubble gum like Murder By Moonlight (8 p.m., Ch. 5)? Then again, who else are you going to get to play a futuristic cop trying to catch a murderer on the moon? (Can you really see them offering something like this to Meryl Streep? Or even Cher? Well, OK - maybe Cher.)
Better movie bets tonight include Legal Eagles (7 p.m., Ch. 13), with Robert Redford and Debra Winger as unlikely partners professionally and, of course, romantically. Robert Duvall is superb - as usual - as The Great Santini (7 p.m., USA). Ditto Errol Flynn in The Adventures of Robin Hood (8 p.m., Ch. 14). And Marie Osmond plays her mother in Side by Side: The True Story of the Osmond Family (7 p.m., LIFE).
Or, if you've been following War and Remembrance (8 p.m., Ch. 4), you'll probably want to be on hand tonight. Just when you thought things couldn't get worse for Natalie and Aaron, they do. And Pug and Byron have an emotional reunion in the South Pacific. As always with this frank miniseries, this episode is not recommended for all viewers.
Elsewhere, Rescue: 911 (7 p.m., Ch. 5) returns to CBS; the NBA Playoffs (6:05 and 8:30 p.m., TBS) resume; The Disney Channel has a fun little animated feature called The Brave Little Toaster (7 p.m., DSN); and KUED has Yellowstone Night, with Nova (7 p.m., Ch. 7) going to the park to look at "The All-American Bear" and Frontline's (8 p.m., Ch. 7) "Yellowstone Under Fire" examines the ongoing battle for land around the park's borders.
Looking Toward Wednesday: Val Kilmer stars in Gore Vidal's Billy the Kid (6 and 9 p.m., TNT); the NBA Playoffs (6:05 and 8:30 p.m., TBS) continue, as does War and Remembrance (8 p.m., Ch. 4); Gregory Hines and Billy Crystal are Running Scared (7 p.m., Ch. 13); Sam Waterston and Robert Prosky are arms negotiators taking "A Walk in the Woods" on American Playhouse (8 p.m., Ch. 7); and "M*A*S*H" co-stars Elliott Gould and Donald Sutherland trade the Korean War for the Cold War in S*P*Y*S (8 p.m., Ch. 14).