PBS studies Rod Serling's battle with censors

Monday, December 29, 2003

"American Masters" (8 p.m., PBS) repeats a profile of the creator of "The Twilight Zone" and the author of several of the most acclaimed screenplays from the golden age of live television drama.

"Rod Serling: Submitted for Your Approval" begins with Serling's fatal 1975 heart surgery, presented as a scene out of "Twilight Zone." It proceeds to flashback to his acclaimed live television work, including "Patterns" and "Requiem for a Heavyweight." "Submitted" emphasizes Serling's frequent battles with networks, sponsors and censors and his harsh assessment of his own work.

Filmed entirely in black and white, this profile includes interviews with Serling's wife and daughter, as well as clips and interviews with director John Frankenheimer and actors Kim Hunter and Art Carney. The fact that these three talents have only recently died adds an unintentional "Twilight Zone" touch to this fine documentary.

Tonight's other highlights

Late night

Julia Roberts is on "Late Show with David Letterman" (10:35 p.m., CBS) ... Jay Leno welcomes Ben Affleck on "The Tonight Show" (10:35 p.m., NBC).