Here are a few programs to look out for in the upcoming week ...
WEDNESDAY 9 P.M. TV Land Moguls, TV Land. A look at the movers and shakers who made the shows we grew up with. Tonight it's the '70s. Because of their taste, style and tenacity, Grant Tinker (The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Rhoda) and Norman Lear (All in the Family, The Jeffersons, Maude, Sanford & Son) changed the television landscape forever. This instalment of TV Land Moguls focuses on how they broke down barriers, opened viewers' minds and shed light on the world "outside the box" — illuminating the human spirit. The creative atmosphere at their production companies nurtured several generations of TV's best talent. Perhaps the most bizarre thing is how Archie Bunker actually became a conservative hero and thus a somewhat sympathetic character, not merely a foil.
WEDNESDAY 10 P.M. Now Who's Boss?, TLC. John Selvaggio, head of Delta's new Song Air Service, throws off the tie and heads down to the concourse to work as a gate agent and then treks down to the "ramp" to work with the baggage grunts.
"We just throw these bags anywhere, right?"
THURSDAY 8 P.M. Friends, NBC. Of course the big question is "Will it be a Newhart-like great finale or a train wreck like Seinfeld?" For more reflections on our dearly departing Friends, see "Friends 'Til the End" on page 57.
FRIDAY 9 P.M. A&E's Live by Request, A&E. "Blondie." One of America's favorite new wave bands is back on the scene and taking viewer requests in a live concert from Manhattan's John Jay Auditorium. Jules Asner hosts. "Call Me," indeed.
SATURDAY 8 P.M. Classic Drive Thru, ESPN Classic. An edited version of game 6 of the 1975 World Series between the The Big Red Machine and the Red Sox. From the way they replay Fisk's homer, you'd think Boston won the series.
SUNDAY 8 P.M. The History of Poker, The History Channel. Trace Poker through U.S. history — from the early 19th century, when French settlers played the game in New Orleans, up the Mississippi with riverboat gamblers, through the Civil War with Generals Grant, McClellan and Custer, across the frontier with gambling legends like Wild Bill Hickok, up to today's high-profile Vegas tournaments. Features archival footage, period pulp artwork, re-enactments, firsthand accounts and demonstrations by "the Godfather of Poker" Doyle Brunson. If you play your cards right, you might learn a thing or two. Sorry.
FRIDAY 10 P.M. Bill Maher: Be More Cynical, Comedy Central. Bill Maher takes no prisoners (though a lot of neo-cons would like to lock him up) in this stand-up event, as he tears down the veneers of polite society and exposes the dirty underbelly of advertising, politics and romance. This one-hour special airs as part of "Indecision Friday Night Stand-Up."
NEWS & NOTES: TV Land will go dark while NBC shows the final episode of Friends. All you will see is the TV Land staff huddled around a TV. Periodically one of them will hold up a sign reminding you to tune to NBC. Before the finale, TV Land will show pre-Friends sitcoms that featured members of the cast, including Family Ties (Courtney Cox), Who's the Boss (Matthew Perry), Ferris Bueller (Jennifer Aniston) and The Wonder Years (David Schwimmer). It all starts at 6 p.m.