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TURN ON, TUNE IN OR MISS OUT : The best of Carlin on HBO; Grammys show on CBS; ‘Crisis’ hits NBC; Vegas theme ties in ABC series

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Sunday

“Night Sins” / 9 p.m. CBS. Concludes Tuesday

Valerie Bertinelli, who has proven to be a bankable star of CBS projects, is paired with “L.A. Law” alumnus Harry Hamlin in this two-part mystery. Set in a small rural town, the story centers on the abduction of an 8-year-old boy whose mother (Karen Sillas) turns for help to police Chief Mitch Holt (Hamlin) and field agent Megan O’Malley (Bertinelli, sporting blond locks). An attraction develops between the protagonists as they match wits with a taunting kidnapper who relishes their lethal game of cat and mouse.

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“George Carlin: My Personal Favorites” / 10 p.m. HBO

He’s here, he’s there, he’s everywhere. So beware ... The comic who gave us the “seven words you can’t say on TV” is the subject of a weeklong salute marking his two decades on the cable channel. First up: an hour culling clips from Carlin’s early stand-up specials. On Saturday at 10 p.m., “40 Years of Comedy” includes a new routine and a Q&A; session moderated by Jon Stewart. In between: repeats of shows airing Monday through Thursday, including 1983’s “Carlin at Carnegie.”

Monday

“Married ... With Children” / 9 p.m. Fox

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Love ‘em or loathe ‘em, the battling Bundys won’t go away. Hapless Al (Ed O’Neill) and hopeless Peg (Katey Sagal) have been sniping at each other since 1987, which qualifies “Married” as the longest-running prime-time entertainment series on the air. God forbid it would run into the next millennium, but who would’ve thought the network could milk the series for 250 episodes? In Monday’s one-hour show, the quarrelsome couple visit a marriage counselor. Hmmm. Can a title change to “Divorced

Wednesday

“The 39th Annual Grammy Awards” / 8 p.m. CBS

Isn’t it ironic? With due respect to Alanis Morissette, we wanted to note that Ellen DeGeneres will be competing against her own ABC sitcom when she hosts this three-hour telecast from Madison Square Garden. Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds leads the field with a record-tying 12 nominations, including record, album and song of the year. Orange County’s No Doubt, Celine Dion, Vince Gill and Smashing Pumpkins are among the acts scheduled to perform on the recording industry’s big night.

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“Las Vegas Night” / 8-10 p.m. ABC

How to best the Grammys? ABC high roller/Entertainment Chief Jamie Tarses hopes to come up a winner with this sweeps stunt featuring “crossover” appearances in Sin City by the stars of “Grace Under Fire,” “Coach,” “The Drew Carey Show” and “Ellen.” At one point, several of the characters (including the working stiffs played by Carey and Brett Butler) cross paths at a craps table. And as if viewers needed more enticement to tune in, Wayne Newton turns in a cameo on “Ellen.”

Thursday

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“Vital Signs” / 9 p.m. ABC

When “Murder One” occupied this killer slot opposite the top-rated “Seinfeld,” it barely showed a pulse, prompting the network to shelve its last six episodes until April. So send your condolences to the producers of this reality-based show (hosted by Robert Urich), which re-creates medical emergencies. Considering the respectable numbers put up on CBS by the Peter Strauss drama “Moloney,” someone ought to dial 911 ... now!

Friday

“The 13th Annual Soap Opera Awards” / 8 p.m. NBC

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The public has its say in this perennial ceremony celebrating the days of our lives among the young and restless who live in the city or along Sunset Beach. Leeza Gibbons is one of four hosts on the special, with kudos going to soapdom’s cute couples and bed-hopping baddies. Aaron Spelling, who knows a thing or two about daytime and nighttime serials, receives the Editor’s Award.

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“Crisis Center” / 10 p.m. NBC

Kellie Martin, who played a teacher in “Christy,” has a lot to learn in this new ensemble drama filling the “Homicide” slot throughout March. Idealistic psychology student Kathy Goodman (Martin) works for the committed co-directors (Matt Roth and Nia Peeples) of a San Francisco assistance center serving suicide callers, pregnant women and low-income clients. The series reunites Martin with Thania St. John, a former writer-producer of “Life Goes On.”

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