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TV highlights Dec. 16-22 

NOW WITH BILL MOYERS 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 17 AETN (Comcast Ch. 3, Broadcast Ch. 2) While the modern mass media and the way it conducts itself is obviously screwed up nine ways to Sunday, it’s hard to find anyone in the media who will flat-out comment on those troubles, much less the lingering idea that the media is biased as far as politics are concerned. Every now and then, however, along comes someone with nothing to lose. In his final episode as the host of hard-hitting news show “Now,” Bill Moyers takes on the media, discussing the ills caused by deregulation, the ensuing consolidation of TV and radio stations, and the modern, toothless journalistic style that would have the journalists of yore spinning in their graves. If you’re a news junkie, or just a plain old American concerned with who is spoon-feeding you your information, it’s well worth a look. OFFICE SPACE 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 18 Bravo (Comcast Ch. 50) In offices all across this country, people are living 9-to-5 lives full of quiet desperation: crammed into cubicles, under constant threat of downsizing, underappreciated, underpaid and overworked. In other words, the perfect setting for a darkly comic movie like “Office Space.” Set in generic Cubicleland (and written by “Beavis and Butthead” creator Mike Judge) it’s the story of Peter, a worker bee who loses all inhibition when a hypnotist drops dead in the middle of a treatment meant to relieve him of stress about his job. From there, with the help of a pair of recently fired sidekicks, Peter sets out to stick it to the man, to hilarious effect. AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: MISS AMERICA 8 p.m. Monday, Dec. 20 AETN (Comcast Ch. 3, Broadcast Ch. 2) Though they’re called “scholarship competitions,” we all know the truth: A beauty pageant is a beauty pageant is a beauty pageant. Unless, that is, you’re talking about the good-bone-structure-giving grandmama of them all, the Miss America Pageant. Held since 1921, it’s become part of our national pop cultural lexicon, synonymous with beauty, poise and looking really foxy in a bathing suit. In this two-hour special, American Experience traces the rise of the pageant to the top, from the prudish years when it began, through the feminist calls for its dissolution in the 1960s and 1970s, to its modern incarnation, which often finds the contest at odds with the society’s image of modern women.
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