Not unexpectedly, comedy, music and awards shows dominate this fall’s specials.
And a good many documentaries and retrospectives focus on President John F. Kennedy, marking what would have been his 75th birthday and the 30th anniversary of his assassination.
Contemporary issues and concerns are examined in several other documentaries, with such disparate hosts as Walter Cronkite and Tony Danza.
“The American Music Awards 20th Anniversary Special”: Featured will be footage from former shows. TBA. ABC.
“Canadian Country Music Awards”: Hosted by George Fox, it will be telecast live in Canada. Sept. 25 at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. TNN.
“The First Annual Comedy Hall of Fame”: Star tributes, live performances and clips. Nov. 3. NBC.
“The 27th Annual Country Music Assn. Awards”: Vince Gill hosts the live broadcast from Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry House. Sept. 29. CBS.
“The Jackson Family Honors”: The Jackson family stars in its first annual entertainment show honoring two individuals noted for charitable works. TBA. NBC.
“The 16th Annual Kennedy Center Honors: A Celebration of the Performing Arts”: A salute to outstanding Americans. December. CBS.
“The 45th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards”: From the Pasadena Civic Auditorium. Sept. 19 at 8 p.m. ABC.
“The Walt Disney Company Presents The American Teacher Awards”: Honors American educators. Nov. 19 at 7 p.m. Disney.
“A Word From Our Sponsors II”: More of the best commercials, emphasizing the funniest and most unusual. Sept. 23. NBC.
Bob Hope Special: The comedian will enter into his 55th year of specials at NBC. TBA
“Drew Carey: Human Cartoon”: The comedian’s first solo special. Oct. 2 at 10:35 p.m. Showtime.
“Edith Ann”: Lily Tomlin’s character is in two specials. ABC.
“Harley-Davidson’s Biker Blast”: A 90th-anniversary special taped in Milwaukee with Richard Belzer, Bobcat Goldthwaite, Penn Jillette, Jay Leno and Judy Tenuta. October. Showtime.
“Mike MacDonald: Happy As I Can Be”: The comedian’s third special, taped in Vancouver. December. Showtime.
“Mr. Bean”: Rowan Atkinson as his bumbling Everyman. December. HBO.
“Out There”: Shot in San Francisco, this special features gay talent in a mix of stand-up, sketch comedy and musical review. November. Comedy Central.
“Ruby Takes You There”: Ruby Wax looks at the underbelly of the L.A. show-biz scene. December. HBO.
“Saturday Night Live Prime-Time Specials”: Political commentary and sketches from the Not-Ready-For-Prime-Time-Players. TBA. NBC.
“Tracey Ullman: Takes On New York”: Ullman in three vignettes on the hazards of New York. October. HBO.
“Tracey Ullman: A Class Act”: A look at the British class system. November. HBO.
“Cathedral of the Sea--A World of Audubon Special”: A focus on the world’s coral reefs, hosted by Mike Farrell. Nov. 7 at 9:05 p.m., Nov. 13 at 8:05 p.m. and Nov. 15 at 11:05 p.m. TBS.
“The Cronkite Report”: Walter Cronkite returns to Discovery with two specials on race relations and other key issues. Oct. 18 at 8 p.m. and Dec. 13 at 8 p.m. Discovery.
“Detective of Death: Confessions of a Medical Examiner” (working title): A look at one of the foremost forensic pathologists. December. HBO.
“The End of Camelot” (working title): An attempt to re-create the Kennedy assassination through eyewitness accounts. Archival film, on-location footage and interviews with key insiders. Nov. 21 at 9 p.m.
“I Am a Promise: The Children of M. Hall Stanton”: A year at an inner-city elementary school in Philadelphia. October. HBO.
“Five Hundred Nations”: Kevin Costner hosts the history of the North American Indians through the early 1900s. TBA. CBS.
“Gettin’ Over”: Tony Danza shows youths how to meet and overcome adversity. TBA. ABC.
“The Human Family”: Simulcast on CBS, ABC and NBC, featuring five segments from distinguished directors: Hector Babenco, Jonathan Demme, Anieska Holland, Mira Nair and Martin Scorsese. TBA.
“John F. Kennedy Special”: Recalls the life and spirit of the 35th President through privately recorded conversations and his home movies and personal letters. TBA. CBS.
“Marilyn Monroe Documentary”: A look at the phenomenon of Monroe. TBA. November. Showtime.
“Mission 100": A follow-up to “Women and Politics: A Lifetime Challenge” examining how women want change. Viewers will be able to speak out about their concerns. TBA. Lifetime.
“The Mystery of the Sphinx”: The mystery surrounding the Great Sphinx of Giza; Charlton Heston is host. November. NBC.
“People Magazine 20th Anniversary Special”: The most important events of ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s. TBA. ABC.
“The Making of ‘Gettysburg’ ”: A behind-the-scenes look at the feature starring Tom Berenger and Martin Sheen. Oct. 2 at 5 p.m. TNT.
“Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame”: Rock ‘n’ roll legends are honored. TBA. NBC.
“Roger Kennedy’s Rediscovering America”: A three-part look at early America from Kennedy’s perspective. He looks at what Jefferson was really like and how pioneers and Native Americans influenced each other. Oct. 18 at 10 p.m.; Nov. 26 at 10 p.m.; Dec. 9 at 10 p.m. Discovery.
“Scenic Wonders of America: Hawaiian Paradise”: Visits to Hanauma Bay, Waikiki Beach, the Fern Grotto, Iolani Palace, Kilauea’s Kilauea’s volcanic crater and Pearl Harbor. Sept. 21 at 9 p.m. Disney.
“The Secret Societies of Dolphins and Whales--A Cousteau Society Special”: Jean-Michael Cousteau and host John Denver journey to understand the lure of the creatures of the sea. Oct. 3 at 9:35 p.m.; Oct. 9 at 5:05 a.m.; Oct. 10 at 11:20 a.m. TBS.
“Spirits of the Rainforest”: A profile of life in the Manu Biosphere Reserve, the largest, most biologically diverse tropical rainforest park in the world. Oct. 26 at 8 p.m. Discovery.
“The Prince and the Pauper”: The network premiere of the first new Mickey Mouse cartoon to come along in seven years. TBA. ABC.
“Christmas in Washington”: Music from the nation’s capital with the President and First Lady. December. NBC.
“Frosty Returns”: Frosty confronts an evil invention designed to put an end to winter. Featuring the voices of John Goodman, Jonathan Winters, Jan Hooks, Andrea Martin and Brian Doyle Murray. December. CBS.
“A Flintstone Family Christmas”: This new special features a young boy posing as a bogus Santa. December. ABC.
“Jeremy Creek”: Dick Van Dyke narrates as a grandfather in this animated story about the true meaning of Christmas. December. NBC.
“A Musical Christmas at Walt Disney World”: Contemporary-music artists celebrate the holidays. December. ABC.
“The Neil Diamond Christmas Special”: Diamond sings his own tunes and traditional melodies. December. ABC.
“The Twelve Days of Christmas”: Animated tale of knights gathered round a round table. One knight must win the heart and hand of a fair, yet moody, princess. December. NBC.
“How I Spent My Summer Vacation”: Joan Lunden with Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen and Craig T. Nelson. Plus a look at other stars’ vacations. September. ABC.
“Benny Goodman Rides Again”: Gary Burton and Eddie Daniels perform in Goodman style. December. Bravo.
“The Billy Ray Cyrus Special”: His second special, including behind-the-scenes glimpses. TBA. ABC.
“Family Channel’s Branson Music Hall”: The Oak Ridge Boys perform. Oct. 22 at 7 p.m. Family Channel.
Kiri Te Kanawa: The singer stars in three shows--"Dame Kiri Te Kanawa: A Concert Special,” “South Bank Show: Kiri Te Kanawa” and “Capriccio.” December. Bravo.
“Mariah Carey”: Concert footage and behind the scenes with the singer. November. NBC.
“Mountain Magic Jamboree at Pocono Raceway”: Gary Morris, Marie Osmond and Lee Greenwood in a concert from the Pocono Mountains. Oct. 20 at 5 p.m. TNN.
“A Tribute to Leonard Bernstein”: Classical and Broadway renditions of his music. November. Bravo.
“Raffi on Broadway”: New songs and old favorites from the Gershwin Theater in New York City. Oct. 6 at 7 p.m. Disney.
“Southern California Spectacular”: Country artists Clint Black and Aaron Tippin headline a concert taped aboard the U.S.S. Kittyhawk. Nov. 3 at 5 p.m. TNN.
“Texas Tenor: The Illinois Jacquet Story”: The history of jazz through the big-band tenor saxophonist’s character and art. Oct. 9 at 8 p.m. Bravo.
“Trisha Yearwood”: The singer performs old and new songs. Oct. 10 at 9 p.m. Disney.
“There She Was . . . Miss America”: A look behind the scenes and catching up with former Miss Americas. Saturday at 8 p.m. NBC.
“The Miss America Pageant”: Regis Philbin and Kathie Lee Gifford host the 73rd edition. Saturday at 10 p.m. NBC.
All-American Thanksgiving Day Parade: Thanksgiving Day. CBS.
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade: Live from New York. Thanksgiving Day. NBC.
“All Aboard! Riding the Rails of American Film”: Jason Robards hosts this look at roles railroads have played in American movies. TBA. AMC.
“The Best of The Blues Brothers”: Television performances of the duo as well as never-before-seen highlights from their 1979 tour. Sept. 26 at 9 p.m. Disney.
“The David Copperfield Retrospective”: Highlights from 15 years of CBS specials plus never-before-seen footage. TBA. CBS.
“The Dick Van Dyke Show”: Recalling the 1961-66 comedy with stars Van Dyke, Mary Tyler Moore, Rose Marie, Morey Amsterdam and Carl Reiner. TBA. CBS.
“Edward R. Murrow Special”: Two-segment look at the pioneering newsman. Includes the landmark 1960 documentary “Harvest of Shame” and “The Reporter,” a profile of Murrow hosted by Charles Kuralt. Nov. 24 at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. Discovery.
“The Incredible Life and Times of Robert Ripley: Believe It or Not!”: Films by Ripley himself and a profile of the man who was a cartoonist, collector, explorer, adventurer, millionaire and world-class eccentric. Nov. 28 at 6 p.m. and Dec. 4 at 1 p.m. TBS.
“Legend to Legend”: Stars from motion pictures, television, sports and music show their appreciation for their heroes. November. NBC.
“Life Remembers”: The events of the last year as captured in the magazine. TBA. TNT.
“The Museum of Television & Radio Broadcasting Show” (working title): Some of the greatest interviews in television history. TBA. CBS.
“The Taxi Retrospective”: Highlights from the 1978-83 series. TBA. CBS.
“The Unknown Marx Brothers”: Rare footage in a two-part special, which will premiere in October and November. Disney.
“Where Were You? Hosted by Larry King”: Celebrities, political leaders and people on the street recall where they were on Nov. 22, 1963, the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated. TBA. TNT.
“ABC’s 40th Anniversary Special”: Network highlights. TBA. ABC.
“President’s Night at Ford’s Theatre”: President and Mrs. Clinton are the guests of honor for performances by contemporary musical and comedy stars. TBA. ABC.