Weekend TV : Networks Focus on Iowa Caucus One Last Time as the Vote Nears

It’s caucus time in Iowa, and the news media invade the cornfields and town halls of this cold Midwestern state one last time this weekend in hopes of capturing every nuance and surprise leading up to the first real test of strength for the 13 men who would be president.

NBC’s “Sunday Today” kicks things off from the lobby of the Savery Hotel in Des Moines (7 a.m. Sunday on Channels 4 and 36, 7:30 a.m. on Channel 39) with reports on the significance of the Iowa caucus, how campaign organizers manipulate the images of their candidates, and how the weather will affect the outcome of the vote.

An hourlong “Meet the Press,” anchored by Chris Wallace, follows at 8:30 a.m. with interviews of presidential aspirants Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kan.) and Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis.

The other two networks’ news shows also will originate from Iowa on Sunday. “This Week With David Brinkley,” with Vice President George Bush and Sen. Paul Simon (D-Ill.), begins at 10 a.m. (7), 3 p.m. (3)(42) and 4 p.m. (10).


At 5 p.m. (2), 4:30 p.m. (8), Democratic candidate Bruce Babbitt of Arizona, Democratic political consultant Robert Beckel and Republican political consultant Douglas Bailey will evaluate the chances of candidates from both parties on “Face the Nation.”

Moving from the political to the prime-time battlefield, the networks will fire the first volleys in their monthlong sweeps onslaught Sunday night as Sidney Sheldon’s two-part miniseries “Windmills of the Gods” (Channels 2 and 8), Priscilla Presley’s “Elvis and Me” (Channels 7, 3, 10 and 42) and Sylvester Stallone’s “Rambo” (Channels 4, 36 and 39) fight for the attention of the Nielsen families at 9 p.m.