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Weekend TV : More Season Premieres Share Spotlight With Rare Film Footage of Chinese Red Army

A trickle of additional season premieres and a documentary look inside the iron-fisted Chinese army highlight the weekend’s television schedule.

Fresh off an unexpected win at the Emmy Awards two weeks ago, Richard Mulligan leads the cast of “Empty Nest” into its second season on NBC tonight at 9:30 p.m. Kristy McNichol and Dinah Manoff also star.

And fresh off a big prime-time ratings victory for its special anniversary show last Sunday, “Saturday Night Live” begins its 15th season on NBC tonight at 11:30 p.m. Bruce Willis hosts the opener and Neil Young provides the music.

Sunday at 7 p.m., the Discovery Channel marks the 40th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China with the first of a five-part documentary, “The Great Wall of Iron.” This presents the work of two Western film crews that were granted unprecedented access to the People’s Liberation Army in the summer of 1988. The documentary, which will air in one-hour installments for the next five Sundays, reveals how the Chinese army lives, trains and maneuvers, and purports to provide insight into how and why the massacre in Tian An Men Square last June actually occurred.

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Shot in more than 120 locations throughout China, the report includes footage of Chinese and Soviet soldiers along the Sino/Soviet border eyeing each other through binoculars, and of conflicts between the Chinese army and Tibetan monks.

Other weekend shows include:

TODAY: Rep. William Gray (D-Penn.) is interviewed on “Evans & Novak,” 9:30 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. (CNN). . . .

Charleston Mayor Joseph Riley and Rep. Jamie Fuster (D-Puerto Rico) discuss the aftermath of Hurricane Hugo on “Newsmaker Saturday,” 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. (CNN). . . .

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Former U.S. Customs commissioner William von Raab wonders whether the war on drugs has already been lost on “Firing Line,” 3:30 p.m. (28). . . .

“The Reporters” looks at racial tensions in Brooklyn, men who are unknowingly involved with underage girls and drug wars in Peru, 8:30 p.m. (11)(6). . . .

“Saturday Night With Connie Chung” reports on a teen-age drug dealer’s rise and fall, and on Jane Fonda, 10 p.m. (2)(8). . . .

“It’z Fritz,” starring Channel 4 weatherman Fritz Coleman, premieres at 1 a.m. (4).

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SUNDAY: Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton is interviewed on “News Conference,” 6 a.m. (4). . . . Brad Crowe, director of City Economic Development, talks about business expansion in disadvantaged areas of the city on “Making It: Minority Success Stories,” 6:30 a.m. (5). . . .

“Sunday Today” reports on the Avanti automobile and the decreasing number of working satellites, 7 a.m. (4)(36)(39). . . .

“2 the Point” focuses on an exhibit at the Woman’s Building, the Japanese art of Washi paper, Glendale’s cultural diversity month and a Chicano theater festival, 7 a.m. (2). . . .

Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.) and Rep. Les Aspin (D-Wis.) discuss current U.S. foreign policy on “Newsmaker Sunday,” 7:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. (CNN). . . .

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“Sunday Morning” reports on China’s 40 years of Communist rule, pianist Oscar Peterson, the controversy over giving Indian bones displayed in museums back to their tribes, and a blind navigator’s attempt to cross the Atlantic, 8 a.m. (2)(8). . . .

Sen. George Mitchell (D-Me.) and House Speaker Thomas Foley (D-Wash.) discuss the capital gains tax on “Meet the Press,” 8:30 a.m. (4)(36)(39). . . .

The “McLaughlin Group” talks about the capital gains tax cut, the pace of U.S./Soviet relations and ex-HUD Secretary Samuel Pierce’s silence, 9 a.m (4), 5:30 p.m. (50). . . .

“American Interests” looks at the “post-Cold War conservative crackup” with conservative columnist Patrick Buchanan, 10 a.m. (28). . . .

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Rep. Mathew Martinez (D-Montebello) discusses catastrophic health insurance on “Newsmakers,” 10:30 a.m. (2). . . .

The aircraft industry and capital gains tax are discussed on “Business World,” 10:30 a.m. (7) (3)(42). . . .

Education in America is the topic on “This Week With David Brinkley,” 11 a.m. (7)(3)(10)(42). . . .

New York Gov. Mario Cuomo and other analysts discuss the troubles within the Democratic Party on “Face the Nation,” 11:30 a.m. (2) and 11:30 p.m. (8). . . .

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“60 Minutes” reports on a Brooklyn man’s fight to preserve an interracial basketball program, an abused wife who contracts her husband’s murder, and Dick Gregory, 7 p.m. (2)(8).


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