Monday, July 29, 2002
Is fleeting fame a blessing or a curse? The new series "One Hit Wonders" (9 p.m., VH1) recalls those chart-topping pop musicians who never returned to the top-10 list, and some who never approached the top 100. All of their songs have novelty quality and a gimmicky sound that make them difficult to forget.
Tonight's premiere episode celebrates disco divas who relinquished their tiaras after one smash song. They include Thelma Houston ("Don't Leave Me This Way"), Andrea True ("More, More, More"), Alicia Bridges ("I Love the Nightlife") and the Weather Girls ("It's Raining Men").
An Atlanta-based singer-songwriter, Bridges never considered herself a disco singer. In an interview, she explains that she hoped that "Nightlife" would be received as an "R&B; song, something Al Green might sing." Instead, the song became one of the catchier (if more indecipherable) hits of the disco era. After the success of "Nightlife," record producers pigeonholed her as a disco phenomenon, a fact that didn't help Bridges' career as the dance craze faded.
In addition to interviews with each artist, "One Hit Wonders" shows clips of their subsequent videos and comeback efforts. These are often funny, or pathetic, depending on your perspective. Next Monday's show will focus on New Wave artists, including Thomas Dolby, whose oddball "She Blinded Me with Science" became a huge success for the fledgling MTV network. Whenever someone accuses the British-born Dolby of having been a "one-hit wonder," he retorts, "that's one more hit than you've had, mate." William Shatner is host.
ï¿½ John Heard narrates "Grand Canyon" (8 p.m., History), a documentary look at the 277-mile-long majestic river canyon that has captivated Indians, explorers, miners and tourists for thousands of years. The film explains how after 19th-century efforts to mine the canyon proved dangerous and expensive, the miners transformed themselves into tour guides and hotel operators for intrepid vacationers. The canyon now attracts several hundred thousand visitors a day.
"Grand Canyon" is part of "Hit the Road Week," featuring documentaries about the history of popular vacation spots. These include: "Las Vegas" (Tuesday); "Mr. Dreyfuss Goes to Washington" (Wednesday); "The Rockies" (Thursday); "Highway Hangouts" (Friday) and "Are We There Yet? America on Vacation" (Saturday). All programs air at 8 p.m.
Tonight's other highlights
ï¿½ Golf legends Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino and Sergio Garcia compete on "Battle at Bighorn" (7 p.m., ABC).
ï¿½ Ray comes to the painful realization that his son may be a sissy on a repeat of "Everybody Loves Raymond" (8 p.m., CBS).
ï¿½ Arthur Conan Doyle (Charles Edwards) continues his apprenticeship in detection on "Murder Rooms: The Photographer's Chair" on "Mystery!" (8 p.m., PBS, check local listings).
ï¿½ Scheduled on "48 Hours" (9 p.m., CBS): A Texas mother claims she is falsely charged with murdering her two sons.
ï¿½ Marilyn Monroe wears blue jeans and sings the title song to the 1954 Wild West adventure "River of No Return" (9:30 p.m., AMC), co-starring Robert Mitchum and Rory Calhoun.
ï¿½ All are repeats ... Doug's uncle (Gavin McLeod) comes to his financial rescue on "King of Queens" (7 p.m., CBS) ... Joe Rogan hosts "Fear Factor" (7 p.m., NBC) ... Ronnie's homework assignment includes a stint at homelessness on "Boston Public" (7 p.m., Fox) ... Darryl strays and pays on "The Hughleys" (7 p.m., UPN) ... A visit from an MTV star on "One on One" (7:30 p.m., UPN) ï¿½ Matt bickers with his prospective in-laws on "7th Heaven" (7 p.m., WB).