The Eighties Club
The Politics and Pop Culture of the 1980s
The Television Time Machine
The Television Time Machine is set for 
Monday, September 26, 1988 . . .

In television news this week: The Olympic basketball finals are scheduled for Wednesday (9.28) and Thursday (9.29), and the experts are predicting that the U.S. team, consisting of the likes of David Robinson, Danny Manning, Charles D. Smith and J.R. Reid on the front line, is a shoo-in for the gold medal, despite the fact that the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia have strong teams. Mary Lou Retton, who won a gold, two silvers and two bronze medals thanks to her gymnastic prowess in a previous Olympics, is working as an analyst for NBC during the current Games. Robin Leach, host of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, was a guest aboard billionaire Malcolm Forbes yacht for the upcoming debut of the show; he was on hand when Forbes paid $330,000 for a pair of earrings that another guest, Elizabeth Taylor, took a shine to. Ronny Cox, who plays an FBI agent in NBC's In the Line of Duty: The FBI Murders, got an FBI baseball cap when he wrapped filming; the cap came in handy when he was stopped for speeding and the traffic cop put away his ticket book after one look at the top of Cox's head. A loss of 50% of its subscribers has resulted in a planned major overhaul for the Playboy Channel; come next Fall there'll be more original programming and no more edited X-rated movies, and the network name will be changed to Night Life. Coming up, not one but two TV movies about the late great Liberace; Victor Garber stars in the CBS version on Oct. 9 while Andrew Robinson will play the part in the ABC version airing a week earlier.
8 PM (PST) - On tonight's Newhart (CBS), George gives up being a handyman to pursue his lifelong dream of being a used car salesman. On PBS, National Geographic takes a look "Inside the Soviet Circus" at performers who make more money than anyone save scientists and government officials. Meanwhile, Fox is airing 1981's Take This Job and Shove It, starring Art Carney and Robert Hayes. The Los Angeles Raiders are battling the Denver Broncos on ABC's Monday Night Football. And, of course, the 1988 Summer Olympics from Seoul, South Korea, are on NBC; tonight there's something for everyone -- diving, cycling (men's road race), the boxing quarterfinals and the volleyball semifinals. Later tonight, the U.S. takes on Hungary in water polo.
9 PM - After the Promise, a 1987 made-for-TV movie starring Peter Harmon as a Depression era widower who fights the bureaucracy to get his kids back, airs on CBS. A documentary entitled Refusenik Diary is on PBS; it's about a couple of Russian Jews who, after 17 years, were finally allowed to leave the USSR and reunite with their sons, who were let go eight years before. Over on USA, Pam Dawber stars as a happily-married homemaker who rents herself out to keep house for other men in 1985's TV movie, This Wife for Hire. (She may be happily married but we bet her husband won't be.)
10 PM - On ABC's USA Today, host Bryant Gumbel takes a behind-the-scenes look at -- you guessed it -- the Olympics. There's yet another documentary on PBS, this time it's Bill Moyer's God and Politics, a 1987 episode that looks at the Christian reconstruction movement. on Fox, the controversial film The Last Temptation of Christ is the topic for tonight's version of the Morton Downey Jr. Show. (We're sure it'll be a thoughtful and civilized show -- Not!) ESN's NFL's Greatest Moments features George Blanda and O.J. Simpson, while Showtime is offering up a Tribute to Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly that stars Bruce Springsteen, John Mellencamp, Pete Seeger, Emmylou Harris, Willie Nelson, U2, Little Richard and Arlo Guthrie.
LATE NIGHT - Anne Meara, Charles Nelson Reilly and Adrian Zmed star on ABC's popular gameshow Win, Lose or Draw, while Fox shows an episode of the crime drama Simon & Simon in which a woman who says she's hiring the Simons to find her husband is really looking for a Federal agent who can stop an assassination. A pair of lovers is held hostage by a crazy Cajun in "Escape from Room 116" -- part of A&E's Shortstories. ESN is showing the third-round competition in the PaineWebber World Seniors Invitational golf tourney taped a few days ago at Charlotte, NC. The Olympics are over for the night at 11:30 on NBC, and are followed by the news and the Phil Donahue Show.

IMAGES: Newhart screen capture; ad for the 1988 Olympics

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