Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

TV Sweeps Move into a New Dimension Specials Take Viewers out to Space, under the Sea and on a Whole New "Odyssey"

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

TV Sweeps Move into a New Dimension Specials Take Viewers out to Space, under the Sea and on a Whole New "Odyssey"

Article excerpt

Caution: Television this May could be hazardous to your waistline, if not your eyesight.

First, it's off to Wendy's to pick up the special glasses for "3D Week" on ABC (next Monday-Saturday). Then it's on to Little Caesar's, or to a Barq's root beer display, to acquire the glasses for the "Must See 3D" finale of NBC's "3rd Rock From the Sun" (May 18).

Will ABC's glasses work on NBC, and vice versa? Not a chance. "They use the old red-and-blue glasses," said an NBC spokesman. "Ours uses one clear lens and one doctored one -- a much newer technology, and you'll see the show really pop." The hour-long "3rd Rock" finale is directed by Phil Joanu, who did U2's "Rattle and Hum" documentary, and features fantasy segments and musical numbers filmed on special, big-bucks sets. Harumph, says ABC -- what's one show? "We'll be inviting audiences to become part of our shows as Drew Carey and other popular stars pop out of their TV sets." (Mimi in your living room? Now that's a scary thought.) ABC's "3D Week" adds three-dimensional segments to shows, including "Home Improvement," "Spin City," "Ellen," "Family Matters" and "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch." Viewers will be alerted when to put their glasses on. But both ABC and NBC say the shows can be enjoyed with no glasses at all, albeit minus the "pop." Back in the normal television dimension, the May sweeps will be full of season (and series) finales, special guest stars and mega-miniseries. ABC kicked off last Sunday with "The Shining," the big six-hour version of the Stephen King horror tale, which wraps up tonight (8 p.m. on Channel 30). Stephen Weber ("Wings") has the Jack Nicholson role. With viewer attention spans shrinking, the six-hour mini had looked like a thing of the past, but CBS rolls one out, too: Mario Puzo's "The Last Don," starring Danny Aiello, airing May 11, 13 and 14. NBC, by contrast, manages to condense Homer's epic "Odyssey" to just four hours. It airs May 18 and 19 with Armand Assante in the lead. Robin Cook, getting equal time with Homer, also draws four hours from NBC. His "Invasion," starring Luke Perry, will be seen Sunday and Monday (May 4-5). ABC, meanwhile, remakes Jules Verne's "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea," just remade on CBS. Michael Caine is Capt. Nemo, with Patrick Dempsey as Arronax, in the two-parter airing May 11-12. With few hit series this season, ABC is leaning heavily on specials and movies to boost May ratings. On the schedule are a magic special (May 18) featuring ABC stars; "David Blaine: Street Magic" on May 19; and "Barbara Walters Presents: Six to Watch," airing May 21 after the Daytime Emmys. Movies on ABC include the broadcast premieres of "Forrest Gump" (Sunday) and "Disclosure" (May 18). New ABC movies are "Tidal Wave: No Es cape" (Monday); "Columbo: A Trace of Murder" (May 15); and "Detention: Seige at Johnson High" (May 19). …

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