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VIEWERS CHOOSE QUALITY OVER TRUE-LIFE CRIME DRAMA

SHARE VIEWERS CHOOSE QUALITY OVER TRUE-LIFE CRIME DRAMA

Of the 10 highest-rated TV movies during the 1993-94 TV season, six were dramas or musicals fit for the entire family - No. 1 "Dance with the White Dog," No. 2 "Breathing Lessons," No. 3 "A Walton Thanksgiving," No. 6 "Jane's House," No. 7 "Incident in a Small Town" and No. 8 "Gypsy."

Another was the last appearance of Raymond Burr as Perry Mason in "The Case of the Killer Kiss," which was No. 5. Another was the Western "Return to Lonesome Dove, Part 1" (No. 10).Only two were based on true stories - the violent "A Matter of Justice, Part 2" (No. 4) and the non-violent, uplifting "Snowbound" (No. 9).

In other words, of the top 10, only one was a true-life crime drama. Congratulations, viewers.

And let's hope the networks take note of this.

CHARMING THE HUSK RIGHT OFF OF THE CORN: Speaking of "Gypsy" - the outstanding TV version that Bette Midler starred in this past December on CBS - the network has announced that Midler will star in a new version of "Mame" for future broadcast.

Hurrah!

TOP AX CATCHERS: The highest-rated network show to be canceled this spring was No. 26 "Evening Shade."

The highest rated syndicated show to be canceled this spring was No. 3 "Star Trek: The Next Generation."

(By the way, "Next Gen's" 11.1 rating would have ranked it No. 46 among network shows for household ratings, but in the top five among the most desirable demographic groups.)

"BARNEY" WILL BE BACK: The producers of "Barney & Friends" and PBS have come to terms for a third season with the much-loved, much-reviled purple dinosaur.

"Barney" will do 20 new half-hour episode and two one-hour, prime-time specials. And PBS will publish a "Barney" book.

All of which is just dandy. This is a great show for the kids, and those whiney parents who complain should just read a book while the youngsters are watching.

More frightening is the prospect of the forthcoming "Barney" theatrical movie.

It's hard to read a book in a darkened theater.

DENNIS WILL BE BACK: Dennis Miller, whose syndicated talk show went down in flames, has found more success on cable.

His late night, self-titled "Dennis Miller" survived its six-week tryout on HBO, which has ordered another 13 weeks of the show. New episodes will begin in September.

NIXON ON DISNEY: In August, cable's Disney Channel will air - in their entirety - David Frost's 1977 interviews with Richard Nixon, the only American president ever to resign in disgrace.

Actually, the five segments will be seen in more than their entirety, as there will be some added footage that didn't air 16 years ago.

Let me see if I've got this straight - Disney has Mickey, Donald, Goofy and Tricky Dick?