Here are a few programs to look out for in the upcoming week ...
Thursday 7:30 a.m. The Legend of Joe Morgan, ESPN Classic. Set the VCR, DVR, whatever. He was one of the cogs in the Big Red Machine and is now a highly regarded broadcaster.
Thursday 10 p.m. The Graham Norton Effect, Comedy Central. The BBC's popular talk show host, er, TV presenter brings his brand of humour into people's living rooms starting here. On the phone, on the Internet, surprising audience participation stunts, down-and-dirty celebrity interviews and an unadulterated point of view, he'll do whatever he can to connect with his audience. It'll be interesting to see if his limey antics play stateside. Cheers.
Friday 8 p.m. The History of Poker, The History Channel. This program traces poker through U.S. history -- from the early 19th century, when French settlers played the game in New Orleans; up the Mississippi with riverboat gamblers; through the Civil War with generals Grant, McClellan and Custer; across the frontier with gambling legends like Wild Bill Hickok; up to today's high-profile Vegas tournaments.
Features archival footage, period pulp artwork, reenactments, firsthand accounts and demonstrations by the "Godfather of Poker," Doyle Brunson. Maybe get some tips before your next poker night.
Saturday 8 p.m. B-Movie Monsters, Animal Planet. Back in 1959, Texas millionaire Gordon McLendon created two of the strangest B-movie monsters in cinema history, the Killer Shrews and the Giant Gila Monster. But are shrews really killers? And are gilas really monsters? A team of experts will separate the science from the fiction and reveal the truth about the animals that starred in these classic films. They'll then apply the same science to the garden-variety politician.
Sunday 8 p.m. Child Stars: Their Story, A&E. The first truly inside account of what it's like to be a child star in Hollywood. Here's the real story of how young celebrities deal with the fame, pressure, big money and the trauma of being washed up at 12. Includes interviews with former child stars Fred Savage (The Wonder Years), Patty Duke (The Patty Duke Show), Jerry Mathers (Leave It to Beaver), Danny Bonaduce (The Partridge Family), Todd Bridges (Different Strokes) and more of the "usual suspects." Um, bad choice of words in Bridges' case.
NEWS & NOTES: One of the last truly original TV shows to be produced by Hollywood, Quantum Leap, is out on DVD. Debuting as a spring replacement in 1989, the show followed Dr. Sam Beckett (Scott Bakula) as he moved through time and into other people's bodies. He was aided by a holographic assistant played by Dean Stockwell. Extras include the two stars along with creator Dick Bellisario looking back at the show's run. Bakula also presents trivia about each episode. Timeless fun. ... Speaking of Bakula, his current series, Enterprise, has received a phone call from the governor and will return in the fall. ... TV Guide reports that an animated version of Buffy: The Vampire Slayer is in the works. Many of the original actors will voice their cartoon counterparts, except for Sarah Michelle Geller (Buffy).
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