'Law & Order' show succeeds in new berth

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Gloria Reuben ("1-800-Missing") stars as a woman who returns from the hospital to discover that her daughter has vanished on "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (9 p.m., NBC). Since moving from Fridays to Tuesday nights, this Dick Wolf-produced series has dominated its hour. According to published reports, last week the ratings for a repeat of "Victims" exceeded those of repeats of "Judging Amy" and "NYPD Blue" combined. That's impressive. It's also a sign that "Blue" has seen its day as a ratings powerhouse for the alphabet network. After all, Andy and the precinct gang have been around since shows like "Roseanne" (not "The Real Roseanne") ruled the roost.

Just when it seemed that the plastic surgery drama "Nip/Tuck" (9 p.m., FX) couldn't get any more overwrought, Patti D'Arbanville joins the cast in a recurring role as an adult-film entrepreneur who funnels some business in the direction of the morally bankrupt Christian (Julian McMahon).

Are you tired of the constant hype about "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" (7 p.m. and 9 p.m., Bravo)? Funny, "The Osbournes" (9:30 p.m., MTV) received the same brand of media overkill just last summer. The reality sitcom wraps up its sophomore year with Sharon feeling much better, thank you, and Jack apparently clean and sober. But we all just don't seem to care as much, do we? We'll probably care even less next year, when "The Osbournes" come back for a third season.

Tonight's other highlights

Series notes

Close quarters on "Big Brother 4" (7 p.m., CBS) ... Kerry feels ready to date on "8 Simple Rules" (7 p.m., ABC) ... Flex gets jealous on "One on One" (7 p.m., UPN).

A spaced-out interview on "Life with Bonnie" (7:30 p.m., ABC) ... Mom's big surprise on "Abby" (7:30 p.m., UPN).

Simon Cowell is host of "Cupid" (8 p.m., CBS) ... Privacy issues on "According to Jim" (8 p.m., ABC) ... Faith helps the gang blow off some steam on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (8 p.m., UPN) ... Owen feels paternal on "Less Than Perfect" (8:30 p.m., ABC) ... Show-and-tell proves revealing on "Judging Amy" (9 p.m., CBS).

Late night

Drew Barrymore and Simon Cowell appear on "Late Show with David Letterman" (10:35 p.m., CBS) ... Jay Leno welcomes Martin Short, Kelly Rowland and Lang Lang on "The Tonight Show" (10:35 p.m., NBC).

Paul Giamatti is booked on "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" (11:35 p.m., NBC).