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TV Eye


Donald Trump stars in not one but two shows during the May sweeps to earn extra cash. Guess that's gonna be one really expensive divorce...

Spoilers: The great, bumbling beast that was the 1996-97 television season lurches to a close over the next couple of weeks, taking with it some of our favorite (and least favorite) shows. Already, FOX's Married With Children has bowed out (and not a moment too soon) and they have trumpeted the finale of Beverly Hills 90210 as The Night Donna Does "It." Gads -- wouldn't that make a better end to the series? Shouldn't it carry a rating that advises the possibility of accompanying nausea? Whatever -- the May sweeps are in place, the season is ending, and here's some of what you can see in closing episodes and Nielsen-friendly guest stars:

* Suddenly Susan (NBC, 5/8): The soon-to-be-eligible Donald Trump guest stars in the series that proved that while Brooke Shields didn't really attend the Petrified Forest School of Acting, Meryl Streep isn't losing any sleep

* King of the Hill (FOX, 5/11): Bobby Hill discovers girls and practices smooching with Luanne's styrofoam styling head, much to the dismay of Hank and Peggy.

* 3rd Rock (NBC 5/11): Mark Hamill of Star Wars and Christine Baranski of Cybill guest star on his uneven but gleefully twisted comedy.

* Touched by an Angel (CBS 5/11): This well-meaning but godawfully sappy show stars Bill Cosby, who has been through enough recently without being tweaked for his appearance here.

* Coach (ABC, 5/14): Craig T. Nelson's Hayden considers this options in the series finale, which I didn't watch regularly but enjoyed when it was on, mostly because Shelley Fabares seems to have been on-screen through most of my TV viewing life and I find that oddly comforting.

* The Naked Truth (NBC, 5/14): A tabloid sex scandal involving The X-Files' David Duchovny will carry more humor now since he married star Téa Leoni just last week. Leoni is a bit too Barbie-dollish for me to buy her as the Nineties heiress apparent to Lucille Ball and Mary Tyler Moore that she's touted as, but I'm warming up to her.

* The Drew Carey Show (ABC, 5/14): Donald Trump (who must be building a separate savings account to prepare for his inevitably expensive divorce from Marla Maples) guests with Carol Channing and Nick Turturro of NYPD Blue.

* Friends (NBC, 5/15): In an effort to prove Lisa Kudrow was not cloned from her, Teri Garr stars. If Kudrow's dippy Phoebe gives you as big a headache as she does me, see her in Romy & Michelle's High School Reunion for a change.

* Seinfield (NBC, 5/15): Michael Richards must be one of the happiest actors on earth. In this episode, he wins a Tony Award and is introduced to Raquel Welch.

* ER (NBC, 5/15) Kirsten Dunst reprises her role as a runaway prostitute. Her portrayal of the tragic teen on the number one-rated show has been excellent but marred by the burning question, how bad can it really be to get that close to George Clooney?

* Homicide: Life on the Street (NBC, 5/16): Detective Megan Russert (Isabella Hoffman) returns when a suicide shakes the force. Another remarkably good series on TV.

* The Simpsons (FOX, 5/18): Willem Dafoe guest-voices as a high-ranking officer at the all-male military academy Lisa wants to attend.

* The X-Files (FOX, 5/18): There are no plans for Téa Leoni to guest star in final show of the season but this thing with Scully's cancer is making me crazy.

* Chicago Hope (CBS, 5/19): Christine Lahti's presence on this fine show is one of its many graces. Mandy Patinkin departs the show. Again.

* Melrose Place (FOX, 5/19): A special two-hour season closer will doubtless be rife with sex, short skirts, and all the subtley of a doctor checking the reflexes of your knees with a sledgehammer. Oh yeah -- there's a wedding, too.

* Home Improvment (ABC, 5/20): Pamela Anderson Lee, the original Tool Time Girl, makes a totally unnecessary appearance, if only to demonstrate the durability of silicone.

*Roseanne (ABC, 5/20): The Conners are closing up shop after nine years, and probably at a good time since the series ran out of steam right around the star's third name change. But Roseanne was a brave, important show at its inception, and the uncompromising behavior of the star and character once and for all destroyed the image of TV moms as June Cleaver clones.

* Mad About You (NBC, 5/20): Praise the lord, after an interminable gestation, the Buchmans become parents. Just remember that since the pregnancy was 12 months long, the labor could be... naw. Bruce Willis guest stars.

* Frasier (NBC, 5/20): Linda Hamilton stars in this episode. Neither Ron Perlman nor Arnold Schwarzenegger appears with her.

* The Nanny (CBS, 5/21): For the 100th episode (set in London), Celine Dion stars. Why?

* Beverly Hills, 90210 (FOX, 5/21): Still trying to pretend they are young, the rapidly aging cast of graduate college and TV's most ludicrous virgin finally gives it up.

* Newsradio (NBC, 5/21): Lots of special effects when WNYX gets a new station location: outer space.

* Wings (NBC, 5/21): Another once-fresh and funny series says goodbye, reminding me that the best final show of any series ever was The Mary Tyler Moore Show. They quit while they were ahead, the kind of wisdom more TV shows could use.

In a rather clever PR move, ABC has been re-running some of their best soap opera episodes, and if you tune in quick to General Hospital on Friday (5/9), you'll catch the famous Luke-and-Laura-locked-in-the-department store scene. And count me among the Susan Lucci fans.

Apropos of nothing, "TV Eye" is pleased to report that its first letter was from Peabody-award winning UT professor Paul Steckler, who commented that he was amused to be referred to in the same proximity as Tori Spelling. Thanks, Paul! Just for that, I'll place a gratuitous mention of Helen Mirren and Anna Nicole Smith here in this item just for you!

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