Former Sen. Arlen Specter is back in the spotlight. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

A show debuting next Friday night on Maryland Public Television stars former Pennsylvania senator Arlen Specter, playing the role of the curmudgeonly law professor ... oh, wait, it’s not a sitcom, but rather a new public-affairs show that aims for a higher-browed tone than your average cable shout-fest. “Arlen Specter’s The Whole Truth” is being billed as a venue for thorough examinations of the issues of the day.

And for those who remember Specter from his long tenure in Washington, much of it at the helm of the Senate Judiciary Committee (Those pointed questions! Those references to Scottish law!), must have no doubt that it will live up to the hype.

Specter himself dubs the format “a cross between Supreme Court oral arguments and a Senate hearing.”

A Maryland Public Television spokeswoman says there’s one episode in the can and others in development. It’s unclear how often the “occasional series” will run, since MPT will have to raise funds to produce more.

For the debut airing, Specter’s guests are the always-riveting former senators Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) and Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.), the latter of whom knows a thing or two about prime-time drama.

We’re already laying in a stash of popcorn.