An item in the June 12 TV Week incorrectly identified the voice of Maggie Pesky in "The Buzz on Maggie." It is Jessica DiCicco. The item also misspelled the name of Skye Sweetnam, who performs the theme song. (Published 6/15/2005)
Rick Schroder dons a stethoscope on Lifetime, and History Channel finds a way to preserve the secrets of ancient Egypt. National Geographic offers a close-up of the Mafia, a grimmer view than Tony Soprano's world. PBS brings opera to those who aspire to sing, and Disney's new animated series features a fly. ABC's "Complete Savages" signs off for good. Jane Goodall takes a special look at communication on Animal Planet, and Kyra Sedgwick stars as a savvy detective on TNT's "The Closer."
THE SEARCH FOR
Sunday at 7 p.m.
on History Channel
Over the past two centuries, beginning with the discovery of the famous Rosetta Stone in 1799, modern men and women have unlocked many secrets of ancient Egypt. At the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, an effort is underway to digitally preserve those findings and the country's artifacts by scanning pictures of thousands of objects and uploading them to a Web site for future study.
Weekdays at 8 a.m. on TLC
Problem-solving and teamwork are at the heart of this series for preschoolers. In five new episodes this week, the Save-Ums crew ventures into fantastical worlds where they aid creatures who need a little help. It might be coming to the rescue of Olena Octopus, who got a splinter in one of her tentacles while she was learning to dance, or helping Winston the Whale juggle two tasks at the same time.
Monday at 9 p.m. on WETA
So you have no experience singing in an opera? No problem. The English National Opera recently decided to find someone who could be coached to sing in a professional production of Verdi's "Rigoletto" at the Coliseum, the largest theater in London. Turns out, they chose two.
This 90-minute documentary spotlights the final six applicants -- including an investment banker, a supermarket cashier and a blind mother of three -- who received coaching in vocal and dramatic technique, physical training and the fundamentals of stagecraft.
The two winners are followed from the final days before the performance to their operatic debuts -- not in a small part, but as Gilda, considered one of opera's most coveted leading roles.
INSIDE THE MAFIA
Monday and Tuesday at 9 p.m.
on National Geographic
With access to FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration agents, as well as members of crime families, this documentary exposes the stark realities inside the Mafia, which is run like a multi-national corporation headquartered in Sicily and in the United States.
Wall to Wall Media, which prepared the program, also used news footage, police surveillance tapes, telephone intercepts, transcripts from major trials and reenactments of clandestine meetings and violent confrontations.
Mob infiltrator Joe Pistone (aka Donnie Brasco) and Dominick Montiglio, once a foot soldier for the Gambino family, provided candid information for the documentary.
Ray Liotta, star of the film "Goodfellas," narrates the four-part series.
FLOWERS FROM THE HEARTLAND
Monday at 10:30 p.m. on WETA
Same-sex marriages were legal in San Francisco for a month in 2004, and about 4,000 couples were hitched before the courts nullified the unions. This 30-minute documentary from Peter Daulton captures the outpouring of support the couples received -- including countless bouquets of congratulatory flowers.
The short film is part of WETA's June programming for Gay and Lesbian Pride Month.
FIREHOUSE USA: BOSTON
Tuesday at 10 p.m. on Discovery
In this new series, viewers get up-close and accurate accounts of what a firefighter's life is like, as well as a look at the camaraderie and friendship among both veterans and rookies.
The series will air regularly at 9 p.m. on Tuesdays beginning July 26.
live from lincoln center
Wednesday at 8 p.m. on WETA,
9 p.m. on MPT
The program that has showcased musical artists for 28 seasons features a violin performance with the New York Philharmonic. Music Director Lorin Maazel will conduct Sibelius's Violin Concerto in D minor, Op. 47, with soloist Gil Shaham.
Wednesday at 10 p.m. on FX
What would it be like to experience life for a month as a radically different person?
Each episode of this six-part documentary series places someone distinctly out of his comfort zone: A straight man lives with a gay roommate in the Castro district of San Francisco, for instance, and a mother binge-drinks for 30 days to teach her children the dangers of alcohol.
"Super Size Me" director Morgan Spurlock, the show's executive producer, is
featured in Wednesday's opening episode: He and his fiancee attempt to live in Columbus, Ohio, on minimum wage.
THE BUZZ ON MAGGIE
Friday at 8 p.m. on Disney
Disney Channel's first Flash animation series features a teenage fly -- yes, a fly -- who lives in Stickyfeet, described as "an ordinary metropolis in the fly-world." Sky Sweetnam provides the voice of Maggie Pesky, whose dream is to become a rock star. Sweetnam performs the theme song, "Just the Way I Am."
Friday at 8:30 p.m. on ABC
The on-again, off-again series ends for good after just one season with the completion of this week's episode.
A friend's untimely demise leaves Nick (Keith Carradine) with some extra cash, which he uses to purchase a hot tub for the family.
Enter guest star Mel Gibson (the show's co-executive producer) as a police officer in a video on hot-tub safety -- something Nick must consider when his five rambunctious teenage boys get wind of the new addition.
independent lens: Double Dare
Saturday at 8 p.m. on WHUT
Stunt doubles Jeannie Epper and Zoe Bell take the spotlight in this documentary. Epper is a veteran stuntwoman who began her career in Hollywood westerns. Later, she doubled for Lynda Carter on the "Wonder Woman" TV series. Bell broke into the business at age 18, landing the primary double job on "Xena: Warrior Princess." She also has doubled as Uma Thurman in "Kill Bill."
The program shows how both women struggle to stay employed and maintain their sanity and perspective.
Saturday at 9 p.m. on Hallmark Channel
Chad Lowe stars in this original movie as Phillip Fielder, a perfectionist advertising executive who discovers there is more to life than being a bachelor with expensive toys: When his sister is killed in a car accident, Fielder's 8-year-old nephew Zach (K'Sun Ray) needs a parent -- or at least a guardian.
making the cut
Saturday at 9 p.m. on HBO
Ray Romano, who now has plenty of time to play golf, and his buddy Kevin James of "The King of Queens" demonstrate how two comedians can qualify for a pro-am golf tournament.
Note to Readers
Beginning with this issue, the This Week and On Cable columns have been combined into a single roundup:
On This Week. This reflects the growth and availability of cable
programs, and gives readers a streamlined guide to what's on TV.