The CableACE awards have been presented annually by the National Academy of Cable Programming since 1985 to honor excellence in cable television programming. This year's awards will be announced May 5 at a ceremony in Atlanta, Georgia, and whether or not they win, it's nice to see hosts Freddy Powers and BillMcDavid so noted.
If you haven't tuned into the Rogers & Hammerhead Show, tune in weekly (Thursdays, 10:30pm, AMN15). Conceived as a way to spotlight songwriters and their creative processes, Powers and McDavid have created an informal living room setting, the better to bring these folks into your own home. Among some of the songwriters featured in R&H's 13 episodes are Merle Haggard, Gary P. Nunn, Larry Gatlin, Steve Fromholz, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Rusty Wier, and Willie Nelson. "TVEye" wishes all involved gold luck but thinks even the idea of being nominated for the same award as Rip Torn and The Larry Sanders Show rocks.
Also stepping up to the podium to be honored is KLRU and Austin City Limits (Saturdays, 7pm). Series producer Terry Lickona will accept The Blues Foundation's "Keeping the Blues Alive" media award on behalf of the station and show May 1 in Memphis.
As ACL's Big Blues Extravaganza: The Best of Austin City Limits album, featuring B.B. King, Bonnie Raitt, Stevie Ray Vaughan, W.C.Clark, Delbert McClinton, and others comes out this week; Waterloo Records & Video will help celebrate with an in-store featuring W.C.Clark. (Clark has a new album out too — Lover's Plea — but this is supposed to be a TV column so I won't mention it.) Look for the Big Blues Extravaganza! The Best of Austin City Limits on TV (5/27, 9pm PBS), when Keb Mo' hosts a one-hour special with performances from Stevie Ray Vaughan, B.B. King, Albert Collins, Bonnie Raitt, Buddy Guy, and more.
Well. It certainly is easy to tell the May Sweeps are upon us, and FOX hasn't even started their female stars slapping each other around! No, for that we'll have to wait for those new Melrose Place episodes.
Instead, we have a lot of non-shows feathering the empty nest of those shows saying goodbye — Seinfeld (5/14, NBC), Ellen (ABC), and Murphy Brown (5/18, 8pm CBS), notably. It seems that of all the shows sprung in the 1997 fall season, less than a handful have survived. Only Ally McBeal (FOX), Dharma & Greg (ABC), Veronica's Closet, and Working (both NBC) are returning, but the future is not looking bright for some favorites like The Nanny. Even some of the planned shows for the '98 fall season are looking perilous, such as the proposed sitcom with Mary Tyler Moore and Valerie Harper reprising their best television roles as Mary Richards and Rhoda Morgenstern.
What is a non-show? Oh, you know... the kind that only show up during sweeps. Not the fun stuff like the Merlin mini-series but World's Wildest Police Videos (4/30, 7pm FOX), or Yaphet Kotto hosting Stopping the Stalkers (4/30, 8pm), or Hypnotized! (5/1, 9pm CBS). Kids will love National Geographic's Dragons of the Galapagos (5/1, 8pm NBC) but only if it turns out to be one of those kind of shows where they learn to repeat the prisoner's rights speech by heart.
Still, luring John Cleese on the recent two-part 3rdRock From the Sun(NBC) was a pretty neat trick and, as befits all finales, the guest star roster for most other shows winding up their seasons is... well, full of guest stars. Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York makes an appearance on Friends (5/7, 7pm NBC) in the special one-hour finale where Ross (David Schwimmer) and Emily (Helen Baxendale) get hitched. Former Northern Exposure star Rob Morrow and current Broadway star Marisa Tomei head the cast of the treacly-sounding Only Love (5/10, 5/11, 8pm CBS), based on a novel by Love Story author Erich Segal. Get out the insulin.
Made-for-TV movies and miniseries abound, assuring the Lifetime channel and USA Network of a new supply of weepers and weekend fare this fall. The Long Island Incident (5/3, 8pm NBC) is centered around Carolyn McCarthy (Laurie Metcalf), whose son was shot and husband was killed on a New York commuter train.
Holding your breath since last year? Mario Puzo's The Last Don II debuts (5/3, 5/5 8pm CBS), and follows more of the misadventures of the advances of the Clericuzios. Kirstie Alley left Veronica's Closet long enough to star in it along with Danny Aiello, Joe Mantegna, and Jason Gedrick. If you get bored with the Don's trials and tribulations that Tuesday, join O.J. Simpson prosecutor Marcia Clark in Lie Detector (5/5, 8pm FOX).
And if you think that sounds grim, wait 'til next week, when "TV Eye" is recovered from 50 Years of Funny Flubs and Screw-ups (5/6, 8pm CBS), a kind of historical look at bloopers on CBS shows over the years. Zzzzzz.