It seems a little soon for Cosby Show nostalgia — the sitcom left the air in 1992-but that’s what the makers of THE COSBY MYSTERIES (NBC, Nov. 16, 8-9 p.m.) are counting on to perk up their Nielsens. Phylicia Rashad (the former Mrs. Cliff Huxtable) guest-stars as a forensics protégée — and ex-flame — of Cosby’s Guy Hanks. It seems even more premature to milk a Candice Bergen-Robert Pastorelli reteaming for ratings-they’ve been apart only since the end of last season. But Pastorelli’s painter-babysitter, Eldin, returns for one last episode of MURPHY BROWN (CBS, Nov. 21, 9-9:30 p.m.). On the show, Eldin’s nutty mother (Anne Meara) arrives with an offer he can’t refuse: the chance to study with a renowned Spanish muralist. In real life, the actor is splitting because Murphy’s producers wanted to reduce his role. Apparently there are no hard feelings-Pastorelli will star in Double Rush, a midseason sitcom about bike messengers from Murphy creator Diane English.
A pair of ’70s icons pop up on NBC’s Thursday schedule. First, on SEINFELD (NBC, Nov. 17, 9-9:30 p.m.), George (Jason Alexander) buys a convertible and tries to prove that it was once owned by Coming Home Oscar winner Jon Voight (as himself). Then, on ER (NBC, Nov. 17, 10-11 p.m.), Not Ready for Prime Time Player Garrett Morris appears as a potty-mouthed patient. As you may recall, Morris himself spent time in the hospital this year after getting shot by a mugger. Meanwhile, two daytime stars stay up for CBS’ Monday-night lineup. The Price Is Right’s Bob Barker meets Fran Drescher at a fancy restaurant on THE NANNY (CBS, Nov. 21, 8-8:30 p.m.). He must have sandwiched this gig between visits to his lawyer. And smooth talker Montel Williams visits DAVE’S WORLD (CBS, Nov. 21, 8:30-9 p.m.) as the younger, kidney-needing brother of Meshach Taylor’s Shel. Guess Shel missed out on the baldness gene.
Do not adjust your set. You’re not seeing double on ABC this week — it’s just two sets of twins. Tia and Tamera Mowry return as siblings separated at birth on SISTER, SISTER (ABC, Nov. 16, 8-8:30 p.m.). Last spring’s surprise hit replaces the Ed Asner sitcom Thunder Alley, which made a lot less noise this fall without its Home Improvement follow-up. Thunder will strike again later this season in a ”protected” time slot, most likely after Full House, home of this week’s other sister set, the Olsen twins. Mary-Kate and Ashley get two roles instead of one in the dude-ranch comedy HOW THE WEST WAS FUN (ABC, Nov. 19, 8-10 p.m.). If nothing else, ABC’s Saturday movies are giving work to Rockford Files actors-turned-directors. Dennis Dugan (a.k.a. Richie Brockelman, private eye) filmed last week’s Shaggy Dog, while West was shot by Stuart Margolin (a.k.a. Angel Martin, sleazeball).
The late-night gap between Jay Leno and David Letterman is narrowing, so both hosts are scheduling stunts for November sweeps. Dave’s program gets its first prime-time exposure since moving to CBS with the LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN VIDEO SPECIAL (CBS, Nov. 21, 10-11 p.m.), which may feature such stars as Johnny Carson, Angela Lansbury, Regis Philbin, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Mujibur, and Sirajul. Jay has scored his biggest ratings when he’s taken THE TONIGHT SHOW on the road, so he’s heading back to the Big Apple for Thanksgiving (NBC, Nov. 21-25, 11:35 p.m.-12:35 a.m.). Guests will include Bon Jovi, Katie Couric, and Elle Macpherson. The ever-competitive Dave will one-up Jay during May sweeps, however, when he takes Late Show to London. Can’t wait to see Calvert DeForest in that Beefeater outfit.