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Sweeps Bring Deluge of Programs

Updated:
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Talk about laying your cards on the table. ``Jackie Bouvier Kennedy Onassis,'' the CBS miniseries about the former first lady, makes it clear in the title how much territory will be covered.

That's typical of sweeps programming: It may not be subtle but it's big in scope. The networks, after all, are in a frenzy to score high ratings (used to set local ad rates) in November and other so-called sweeps months.

Thus larger-than-life figures like Onassis tend to dominate, along with hot musical performers and hotshot guest stars on series. Here are the highlights (all times EST):

MOVIES AND MINIS:

— ``The Growing Pains Movie'' reunites the Seaver clan of the 1980s sitcom as mom Maggie (Joanna Kerns) runs for Congress. Also stars Alan Thicke, Kirk Cameron, Tracey Gold, Jeremy Miller and Ashley Johnson; 7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 5, on ABC.

— ``Jackie Bouvier Kennedy Onassis,'' based on the Donald Spoto biography, examines the life of President John F. Kennedy's widow. Joanne Whalley and Tim Matheson star; 9 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 5, and Wednesday, Nov. 8, CBS.

— ``The Miracle Worker'' retells the story of 8-year-old Helen Keller ((Hallie Kate Eisenberg), blind, deaf and mute since birth, and her dedicated teacher, Annie Sullivan (Alison Elliott); 7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 12, ABC.

— ``American Tragedy,'' based on author Lawrence Schiller's behind-the-scenes look at the personalities and tactics of O.J. Simpson's defense team, with a script by Norman Mailer; 9 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 12, and Wednesday, Nov. 15, CBS.

— ``In the Beginning'' uses a huge cast and special effects to bring familiar Bible stories to life. The stars include Martin Landau, Jacqueline Bisset and Billy Campbell as Moses; 9 p.m. Sunday and Monday, Nov. 12-13, NBC.

— ``Santa Who?'' stars Leslie Nielsen as an amnesia-stricken Santa who is mistaken for a homeless man by a TV news reporter (Steven Eckholdt) eager to find a holiday story. Co-stars Robin Lively and Tommy Davidson; 7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 19, ABC.

— ``The Lost Child'' features Mercedes Ruehl as a woman who goes in search of her birth parents and in the process finds her cultural heritage; 9 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 19, CBS.

— ``Love Lessons,'' with Patty Duke and Ronny Cox, chronicles the story of a woman, happily married and 50, who discovers she is pregnant; 9 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 22, CBS.

— ``The Moving of Sophia Myles'' stars Della Reese as a pastor's wife who is suddenly widowed and must cope with her loss and a crisis of faith; 9 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 26, CBS.

———

VARIETY IS THE SPICE CATEGORY:

— ``Surprise Wedding'' puts five men unwilling to commit to their longtime loves on the spot when their girlfriends propose to them on national television in Las Vegas; 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 2, Fox.

— Radio Music Awards, a joint venture of the radio and recording industries, features The Backstreet Boys and Mark McGrath of Sugar Ray as hosts for the Las Vegas show featuring Enrique Iglesias, No Doubt and others; 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 4, ABC.

— ``Saturday Night Live's Presidential Bash'' features satirical highlights from the comedy show's 25 years, including Dana Carvey as President Bush and Phil Hartman as President Clinton; 9 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 5, NBC.

— ``The Drew Carey Show'' goes live three times — for three time zones — in an episode that promises improvisation and unexpected guest stars; 9 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 8, ABC.

— ``Battle of the Child Geniuses: The Smartest Kid in America 2,'' with host Dick Clark, pits 40 egghead youngsters against each other for the chance to win a $300,000 prize; 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 9, Fox.

— Alec Baldwin, Tyra Banks and Jon Stewart are among those playing in celebrity editions of ``Who Wants to Be a Millionaire''; 8 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, Nov. 14 and 15, and 9 p.m. Thursday and Sunday, Nov. 16 and 19, ABC.

— ``The Beatles Revolution'' is billed as an examination and celebration of the legendary pop group. Among those interviewed: Phil Collins, Cameron Crowe, Sting and Pete Townshend; 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 17, ABC.

— ``Dixie Chicks: On the Fly'' features the country group in a concert shot during a two-night stand in Washington, D.C., in August; 8 p.m. Monday, Nov. 20, NBC.

— Country singer Faith Hills performs in ``Faith!'' taped at the Palace theater in Auburn Hills, Mich. Hubby Tim McGraw joins her for a duet in the special; 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 23, CBS.

— ``Grand Ole Opry 75th: A Celebration'' is a salute to the venerable live radio show with Dolly Parton and Vince Gill and performances by Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson and others; 9 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 23, CBS.

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BE OUR GUEST:

— Sally Struthers makes an appearance on ``Gilmore Girls''; 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 2, WB.

— Tony Award-winner Hinton Battle stars as a dance instructor and served as choreographer for an episode of ``The Trouble with Normal'' revolving around ballroom dancing; 8:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 3, ABC.

— Michelle Phillips guest stars in an episode of ``Popular'' that looks at teen-age abuse of over-the-counter drugs; 9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 3, WB.

— ``The Simpsons'' celebrates its milestone 250th episode and 12th season premiere with Pete Townshend, Roger Daltry and John Entwhistle of The Who; 8 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 5, Fox.

— NAACP President Kweisi Mfume guest stars in ``Moesha'' in a tale about a local election that proves an eye-opener for young Moesha; 8 p.m. Monday, Nov. 6, UPN.

— Bret Michaels of the rock group Poison throws a party that turns into a wild night for the boys (Anthony Clark, Mike O'Malley) on ``Yes Dear''; 8:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 6, CBS.

— They're back: ``Survivor'' castaways Jenna Lewis, Gervase Peterson, Joel Klug and Sean Kenniff make appearances on ``Nash Bridges''; 10 p.m. Friday, Nov. 10, CBS.

— He's back: Former ``Survivor'' and Navy SEAL Rudy Boesch plays himself on ``JAG''; 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 14, CBS.

— Cher appears as herself and Camryn Manheim plays a fortuneteller on ``Will & Grace''; 9 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 16, NBC.

— Sally Field plays Abby's (Maura Tierney) unpredictable mom on ``ER''; 10 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 16, NBC.

— Tippi Hedren guest stars as the mother of Sydney's (Melina Kanakaredes) new beau on ``Providence''; 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 17, NBC.

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Elsewhere in television ...

X MARKS THE SPOT: ``The X-Files'' returns for its eighth year with a two-part episode airing 9 p.m. EST Sunday, Nov. 5, and Nov. 12. At the end of last season, FBI agent Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) vanished and his partner, Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson), announced she was pregnant. The show begins with Mulder still missing (Duchovny wanted less involvement in the show) and Scully trying to adjust to a new partner John Doggett (Robert Patrick of ``Terminator 2: Judgment Day'').
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