Thursday, September 11, 2003

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What to watch tonight

What's new

Steve Harvey's Big Time, 8 p.m., Channel 64.

Here is a show with a gentle, disarming charm. It offers offbeat acts, in a way that lets us laugh with them or at them.

Producer Madeleine Smithberg previously found odd civilians for David Letterman and The Daily Show. Now she tops herself.

We meet a guy who escapes from shackles and handcuffs, while spinning in a washing machine. And a singer - 10 years old and white - who seems to channel James Brown. And a 4-year-old girl who recites the names of governors and Cabinet members.

What makes this work is the choice of Harvey as host. He brings a wry sense of detachment; he chats with each act, but also views them from a distance.

Run of the House, 9:30 p.m., Channel 64. When two parents move to Arizona for medical reasons, they leave the house with their four children. For three of them, it's party time; still, they also must supervise their 15-year-old sister, at a tender time in her life. Mostly a silly comedy, this pleasant enough show adds some moments of sibling warmth. Joseph (formerly Joey) Lawrence stars as the eldest.

Season premiere

What I Like About You, 9 p.m., Channel 64. The second season begins for this likable comedy, now on a new night. Amanda Bynes plays an impulsive teen, sharing an apartment with her successful sister (Jennie Garth). Tonight, both reach turning points in romances.

Other shows worth watching

In Memoriam: New York City, 9/11/01, 7 p.m., HBO. On the second anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, HBO reruns this compelling documentary. It skillfully weaves video of the events and reflections afterward.

Friends, 8 p.m., Channels 5, 22. Here is a rerun of the 40-minute episode that set up the season finale. As Joey romances a beauty, Ross (who loves her from afar) prepares his lecture and Rachel (who has a thing for Joey) is mean to her. Meanwhile, John Stamos plays the guy Chandler spots as an ideal sperm donor.

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, 8 and 9 p.m., Channels 12, 7. The first rerun starts with the discovery of a human eye in a nest. The second involves a daytime bank robbery.

9/11: The President's Story (8-10 p.m., TLC) and DC 9/11: Time of Crisis (9 p.m., Showtime). Both specials view the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks from a White House perspective; TLC's is a documentary and Showtime's is a re-enactment, with Timothy Bottoms as the president.

NY Firefighters, 8 p.m., Discovery Channel. This special looks at the Sept. 11 attacks from the firefighters' perspective.

Will & Grace, 8:40 p.m., Channels 5, 22. As Karen's divorce proceedings continue, her husband causes a fresh complication by dying. Now there is a battle with his mistress (Minnie Driver) and a reading of the will.

Reality of Reality: Everything New is Old, 9 p.m., Bravo. This documentary traces the history of reality shows, back to television's first moments, with Truth or Consequences and Queen For a Day.

Couple collides with fate
Club says come row a boat

Frampton still riding on three songs

Training sessions slated to help local filmmakers
Top 10s
The Early Word

'Late Night's O'Brien marks unlikely 10th anniversary
Redesigned 'TV Guide' hits stands
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