It's official: CNN will launch a new nightly hourlong newscast similar to the half-hour wrap-ups the networks provide beginning next Monday at 4 p.m. It'll be called "The World Today," and will be anchored by CNN's Big Gun - Bernard Shaw - and former Texas judge Catherine Crier.
While Shaw's appointment to the newscast comes as no surprise to anyone, industry insiders continue to wonder at the signing of Crier, an attractive 38-year-old woman with impressive legal credentials but no journalistic experience whatsoever. Indeed, the rumor mill has it that the CNN rank-and-file is pretty upset that a novice would be given such preferential treatment. And Shaw himself reportedly flew to Atlanta at his own expense last week to try to talk his bosses out of it.But to no avail. CNN announced this week that Crier will anchor the show from Atlanta as planned, with Shaw continuing to do his work out of CNN's Washington studios.
No word yet as to where CNN will store its journalistic credibility while it becomes a laboratory studio for mid-life career-hoppers.
-RATINGZZZ: The only people who took the collapse of the Cubbies in the National League Playoff Series any harder than Cub fans were executives at ABC, who were hoping to have a strong Eastern team with a national following in the World Series when it begins on Saturday.
And if you wonder why, just look at last week's ratings. The NLCS between the Cubs and Giants placed four games in the A.C. Nielsen Co. Top Twenty for the week. By contrast, the best the American League series between the A's and Jays could do was a 36th place finish for Game One.
Of course, one of the American League cities was in Canada, so you really only had one fanatical metropolitan area figured into the equation. But that's kind of what will hap pen with the World Series, with the most intense viewing likely to be in the San Francisco Bay area - for both teams.
So much for ABC's best shot at ending NBC's reign as the weekly ratings winner this season.
The top 10 programs for the week were: 1. Roseanne (ABC); 2. The Cosby Show (NBC); 3. Wonder Years (ABC); 4. Monday Night Movie: A Cry For Help: The Tracy Thurman Story (NBC); 5. Who's the Boss? (ABC); 6. Monday Night Football (ABC); 7. Chicken Soup (ABC); 8. Growing Pains (ABC); 9. Head of the Class (ABC); and 10. Murder, She Wrote (CBS).
The second 10 consisted of: 11. 60 Minutes (CBS); 12. National League Championship Game 2 (NBC) and National League Championship Game 4 (NBC); 14. Doogie Howser (ABC); 15. 20/20 (ABC); 16. The Hogan Family (NBC); 17. Full House (ABC) and National League Championship Game 1 (NBC); 19. National League Championship Game 3 (NBC); and 20. Island Son (CBS) and 20. Knots Landing (CBS).
-ON TV TONIGHT: Don't get too excited about the return of L.A. Law (9 p.m., Ch. 2) to NBC's Thursday night schedule. It's a rerun. Because of the uncertainties of the Major League Baseball playoffs - and the possibility of having to go up against the World Series on ABC for the next two weeks - the network has delayed the series' season premiere until Nov. 2. That means they're finally getting new episodes on the air just in time to take time off for the annual Holiday Hiatus.
Much more exciting is the debut of Diana Rigg as the new host of PBS's Mystery! (9 p.m., Ch. 7) series. True, she won't do much more than just introduce "Campion," an eight-part series starring Peter Davison in stories based on Margery Allingham's bespectacled detective. But it'll be interesting to see what it's like to have someone other than Vincent Price welcome us to "Mystery's" world of the mysterious and the macabre.
I'm also excited about the return of Trying Times (7:30 p.m., Ch. 7), PBS's off-the-wall comedy anthology series. The first installment stars Carrie Fisher and Griffin Dunne in a darkly shaded spoof of yuppies trying to keep up with hip social causes - in this case "Hunger Chic."
Elsewhere, Shaka Zulu (6:05 p.m., TBS) continues; 48 Hours (7 p.m., Ch. 5) reports on marijuana; and Robert Conrad is back as Charley Hannah (8 p.m., Ch. 14) in a failed pilot that makes a pretty good TV-movie - in a "Wild, Wild West"-"High Mountain Rangers"-"Jesse Hawkes" sort of way.
And if Cub fans are still hurting about the National League Championship Series Game Seven that would have been played tonight if necessary, they might want to watch The Natural (7:30 p.m., HBO) and pretend that Robert Redford is Rhyne Sandberg.
-LOOKING TOWARD FRIDAY: Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews and Clifton Webb star in Otto Preminger's Laura (5 and 9 p.m., AMC); Shaka Zulu (6:05 p.m., TBS) concludes; Future Legends of Football (7 p.m., Ch. 30) looks at the cream of this year's NFL rookie crop; Hardball (8 p.m., Ch. 2) moves to its regular time slot; Karl Malden and Michael Douglas star in the series pilot for The Streets of San Francisco (8 p.m., Ch. 13); Moyers: The Power of the Word (8:30 p.m., Ch. 7) focuses on poet Stanley Kunitz; Robert Loggia is featured in the series premiere of Mancuso FBI (9 p.m., Ch. 2); 20/20 (9 p.m., Ch. 4) reports on the suicide of California Angels pitcher Donnie Moore; Nickelodeon celebrates the 15th anniversary of Saturday Night Live (9 p.m., NICK) by presenting 20 favorite episodes in a 10-hour marathon; and KUED premieres Wired (10:35 p.m., Ch. 7), a pop music series that features performances by the likes of Whitney Houston and Tracy Chapman.