Buffy: Greg Gorman/The WB
Ken Tucker
February 07, 2001 AT 05:00 AM EST

”Buffy” and a live TV birth top this week’s sweeps

It’s sweeps period on TV, which means more television than is probably healthy for you — new episodes of your favorite shows and lots of guest stars and stunts. Monday night, Robert Downey, Jr. bade Calista Flockhart an effectively romantic, hopefully temporary goodbye on ”Ally McBeal.”

Tuesday morning, ”Good Morning America” was scheduled to show at least one woman giving birth (no, not Diane Sawyer, silly), and ABC has apparently decided that to balance that out by having Drew Carey go into a coma on Wednesday and turn INTO a baby the following week.

I think I’m most looking forward to the celebrity version of ”Jeopardy!,” whose biggest name this year is Ivy Leaguer Jodie Foster. Stunt casting I’m least looking forward to: Tuesday (2/6), former ”Hercules” star Kevin Sorbo as a college professor who puts a strain on the marriage in ”Dharma & Greg.” While anything that adds tension to this increasingly limp sitcom is to be praised, Sorbo isn’t the element the show needs — with his new haircut and freshly lowered voice, you may suddenly realize that he’s like a middle aged version of “7th Heaven”‘s teen throb Barry Watson. Really; check it out.

While we’re on the subject of Tuesday’s TV, don’t forget to watch ”Buffy the Vampire Slayer”: Little sister Dawn’s recent knowledge that she is ”the Key” is bound to open up new doors of perception.

As for Wednesday night, I know you’ll watch ”The West Wing,” which’ll feature sporadic regular Stockard Channing (as The First Lady) in a prominent role — c’mon, you can skip ”Temptation Island” for one week, can’t you? But may I also make a plea for ”Once and Again”? Last week’s extraordinary episode involving all the divorced/ damaged children in Sela Ward and Billy Campbell’s fictional families is followed by a more promising potential relationship break up than ”Dharma & Greg”’s, as Ward’s Lily is wooed by more convincing D.B. Sweeney.

And don’t even get me started about Thursday, with its ”Survivor”/ ”Friends”/ ”SNL”/ ”CSI”/ ”Will & Grace”/ ”ER” onslaught — I’ve got the VCRs timed to record all that stuff, and I STILL have to remember to tape ”Jeopardy!”

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