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.




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