TV Article

The Week

A guide to notable programs (Times are Eastern Standard and are subject to change)

Sitcoms

Spring fever brings romance-themed episodes of ROSEANNE (ABC, May 10, 8-8:30 p.m.), ELLEN (ABC, May 10, 8:30-9 p.m.), and GRACE UNDER FIRE (ABC, May 10, 9-9:30 p.m.). Roseanne attempts to rekindle the relationship between Darlene (Sara Gilbert), her daughter who no longer lives at home, and Darlene's ex-boyfriend David (Johnny Galecki), who still lives in Roseanne's home. (If you don't know, don't ask.) One of Rosey's other kids, D.J. (Michael Fishman), conducts scientific experiments on insects, which intrigues his Aunt Jackie (Laurie Metcalf). Later, both Ellen (Ellen DeGeneres) and Grace (Brett Butler) ponder special-delivery offers from amorous pizza guys. Does Domino's sponsor these shows?

His CBS comedy Evening Shade bid good-night after last season, but Burt Reynolds rises again, playing himself in a pair of successful midseason sitcoms, HOPE & GLORIA (NBC, May 11, 8:30-9 p.m.) and CYBILL (CBS, May 15, 9:30-10 p.m.). Hope (Cynthia Stevenson) calls on the twice-divorced actor to perform the second remarriage of Gloria (Jessica Lundy) and Louis (Enrico Colantoni). Other guest stars include Tyus Edney and Ed O'Bannon of the NCAA champion UCLA basketball team. And when Reynolds rejoins his At Long Last Love costar Cybill Shepherd, he gets caught up in a barroom brawl. Warning: SNL vet-turned-health-club spokesbehemoth Joe Piscopo also appears in this episode.

Taking a cue from Friends' breakout monkey, Marcel, SEINFELD (NBC, May 11, 9-9:30 p.m.) serves its own simian plotline, in which Kramer (Michael Richards) harasses a chimp at the zoo. Marcel's ex-owner, Ross (David Schwimmer), has his hands full on FRIENDS (NBC, May 11, 9:30-10 p.m.) when his pregnant ex-wife, Carol (Jane Sibbett), goes into labor. Ross' loud squabbling with Carol's lesbian lover, Susan (Jessica Hecht), causes Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow) to lock them in a closet, while Joey (Matt LeBlanc) hits it off with an unmarried pregnant woman (Leah Remini), Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) lusts after Carol's doctor (Jonathan Silverman of Weekend at Bernie's), and Monica (Courteney Cox) hears her biological clock ticking. Which means we may see another Friends birth episode for next May's sweeps.

It's a sign of CBS' desperation that the network is trying to launch a spin-off from such a marginal show as THE NANNY (CBS, May 15, 8-8:30 p.m.). Fran (Fran Drescher) helps a struggling actress (Melrose Place's Tracy Nelson) land a job at a Queens hair salon called the Chatterbox — also the title of a series that could join CBS' lineup next fall. Speaking of spin-offs, FRASIER (NBC, May 16, 9-9:30 p.m.) finds Kelsey Grammer's ex-Cheers barfly and his brother, Niles (David Hyde Pierce), buying a rundown restaurant. But when the duo's pushy managerial style scares off the kitchen staff, Martin (John Mahoney), Daphne (Jane Leeves), and Roz (Peri Gilpin) must help out on opening night. Sounds like a recipe for another delicate comic soufflé.

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