Newest Lane series won't last

Don't get too attached to "Charlie Lawrence" (7:30 p.m. Sunday, CBS). The new comedy arrives precanceled, abandoned by its network before it was even launched. Nathan Lane, the Tony Award-winning Broadway star of "The Producers" and "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum," plays the title character, an openly gay former TV star of the fictional series "Do Unto Others" an obvious parody of "Touched by An Angel" who is elected to Congress.

While "Charlie" is a notch or two above "Encore, Encore," Mr. Lane's first sitcom, his approach to comedy still seems too broad for the small screen.

  • Pretty soon, somebody is going to launch the List Channel, showing only shows based on film clips and countdowns of the top 100, 50 or 10 something or other. You read about it here first. Until they do, you'll have to tune in to Animal Planet to watch "50 Greatest TV Animals" (7 p.m. today, Animal Planet), a decidedly mixed breed of live-action critters, cartoon characters and four-pawed stars of TV commercials. Mario ("I'll host anything") Lopez presides.
  • Elton John narrates "Pandemic: Facing AIDS" (6 p.m. Sunday, HBO), a five-part series examining the global sweep of a disease that has infected 40 million people. Tonight's two-parter looks at a Buddhist hospice in Thailand where many infected prostitutes go to die, then moves on to Uganda, where an estimated 2 million children are orphans because of the disease.

Tonight's highlights

  • The 2000 biopic "The Beach Boys" (7 p.m., ABC) focuses on Brian Wilson's (Frederick Weller) tortured relationship with his father (Kevin Dunn). Life was anything but fun, fun, fun.
  • Tenors Marcelo Alvarez and Salvatore Licitra are featured on "Duetto: The Concert at the Roman Coliseum" on "Great Performances" (7 p.m., PBS).
  • The brazenly lowbrow men's magazine salutes its favorites on the one-hour special "Maxim's Hot 100" (8 p.m., NBC).
  • A judge's daughter is attacked on "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (9 p.m. NBC).

Sunday's highlights

  • Scheduled on "Dateline" (7 p.m., NBC): Michael Jackson's financial woes.
  • Kimberly Williams and Eric Close star in the 2001 drama "Follow the Stars Home" (8 p.m., CBS).
  • "True Hollywood Story" (7 p.m., E!) ponders "Melrose Place."
  • The new "reality series" "Chuck Woolery: Naturally Stoned" (8:30 p.m., Game Show Network) examines the life and career of the longtime "Love Connection" host.


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