PICK OF THE WEEK
Holiday at Pops
Thursday, Dec. 18, 9-11 p.m.
TV highlights for the week of Dec. 13-19. All times are Eastern; check local listings. Ratings are listed for shows when available.
SUNDAY - 12/14
Holiday in Your Heart (ABC, 7-11 p.m.): Country-music teen sensation LeAnn Rimes makes her acting debut in this semiautobiographical TV movie based on a book she co-wrote with Tom Carter. In this sentimental Christmas story, Rimes learns about the importance of family when her grandmother becomes seriously ill just before her big night on stage. This Patsy Cline sound-alike won four honors at last week's Billboard Music Awards, including artist of the year. (TV-G)
Ellen Foster (CBS, 9-11 p.m.): Jena Malone, best known for her role as a young Jodie Foster in "Contact," stars in this endearing and poignant drama. Set in the 1960s South, 10-year-old Ellen lives with an alcoholic father and a loving, gentle mother. But when her mom dies, everything changes. She is left to deal with her abusive father and is shuffled back and forth between mean and selfish relatives. But the smart and quick-witted Ellen finds a way to survive and begins her search for a loving family. (TV-PG)
Castles of the Sea (TLC, 9-11 p.m.): Narrated by actress Kathleen Turner, this four-part series focuses on one of the largest-moving objects ever created: ocean liners. Each part focuses on a different period - from the Industrial Revolution when the boats were powered by steam to the luxurious cruise liners of today. Parts 3 and 4 air tomorrow night at the same time. (TV-G)
MONDAY - 12/15
When the Century Was Young (History Channel, 9-10 p.m.): A five-part exploration of the major issues and events that shaped the early 1900s. (TV-G)
NFL Football (ABC, 9 p.m.-midnight): A sneak preview of Super Bowl XXXII? The best team in the National League, the San Francisco 49ers, squares off against the Denver Broncos, the best team in the American League. The 49ers hold the home-field advantage. Their all-time series is tied 4-4.
TUESDAY - 12/16
Mad About You (NBC, 8-8.30 p.m.): This is a 22-minute commercial-free episode, filmed in a single take with a single camera. The Buchmans (Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt) try to calm their crying infant, a toil that offers them a few lessons. (TV-PG)
WEDNESDAY - 12/17
Women's Hockey (Lifetime, 8-11 p.m.): It's the first women's ice-hockey game to be televised nationally, and it should be a good one. The USA Hockey Women's National Team will compete against the Canadian National Team; both teams are strong candidates for the first gold medal at the Winter Olympics in Japan. The game is part of the Three Nations Cup tournament (which also features Finland, the other top Olympic contender), and it will be broadcast from the University of Vermont in Burlington.
THURSDAY - 12/18
Holiday at Pops (A&E, 9-11 p.m.): Rosemary Clooney joins Boston Pops conductor Keith Lockhart, the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, and the Boston Boy Choir at Symphony Hall in Boston in this annual Yuletide special. The personable Clooney shares humorous anecdotes and sings heartwarming renditions of classic holiday tunes such as "White Christmas" and "Let It Snow." Other highlights include comedian Anthony Clark's reading of "The Nutcracker" and a couple of surprises - the Pops perform a few nontraditional tunes that have a jazz and Cajun flavor. (TV-G)
The Empire Strikes Back (USA, 9-11:30 p.m.): Arguably the best episode in the "Star Wars" trilogy. The conflict escalates as evil mastermind Darth Vader takes an interest in seducing virtuous Luke Skywalker to the dark side of the Force. A drumroll salute to John Williams's powerful score.
TV-Y All Children
TV-Y7 Directed to Older Children
FV Fantasy Violence
TV-G General Audience
TV-PG Parental Guidance Suggested
TV-14 Parents Strongly Cautioned
TV-MA Mature Audience Only
S Sexual Situations V Violence
L Language D Dialogue