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EW has the scoop on this month's TV Sweeps

What’s coming up on ”Friends,” ”ER,” ”Touched by an Angel,” and your other favorite shows

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Elle Macpherson
Corbis Images

Ah, November Sweeps. We all know what that means: Your TV is about to become infested with guest stars, newborns, and singing orphans. Below, our preview of this most special of television months.

SPECIAL HISTORICAL DOCUDRAMAS Pernilla August, who gave fatherless birth to Darth Vader in ”The Phantom Menace,” now plays ”Mary, Mother of Jesus” (NBC, Nov. 14). Meanwhile, ”Come On Get Happy: The Partridge Family Story” (ABC, Nov. 13) tells the gospel of the ’70s sitcom. What tips did consultant/original cast member Danny Bonaduce offer his doppelgänger, Shawn Pyfrom? ”I told him to always act annoyed waiting for David Cassidy to show up,” says Bonaduce.

SPECIAL MUSICAL GUESTS Teen sensations ‘N Sync grace ”Touched by an Angel” (CBS, Nov. 14), while the Dixie Chicks descend on ”King of the Hill” (Fox, Nov. 14). And ”Martial Law” (CBS, Nov. 6) goes all ’80s on us: Rick Springfield is an FBI agent after escaped cons (Poison’s Bret Michaels and ex-Jane’s Addiction member Dave Navarro). ”They had a ball. It’s not like we asked them to do ‘Diagnosis Murder,”’ says coexec producer Lee Goldberg. ”It’s a thrill to get your ass kicked by Sammo Hung.”

SPECIAL NONMUSICAL GUESTS Elle Macpherson sashays onto ”Friends” as Joey’s roomie (NBC, Nov. 11). And Fox’s ”Ally McBeal” gets, yes, even more gimmicky: Betty White shows up as Ally’s therapist (Nov. 8), Farrah Fawcett as a plaintiff (Nov. 29), and Jill Clayburgh (Nov. 22) as Ally’s mom. That’s not to mention the resignation of one of the lawyers (identity revealed Nov. 29).

SPECIAL HOSPITALIZATIONS In the ”X-Files” premiere (Fox, Nov. 7), Gillian Anderson races to save the life of a semi-catatonic David Duchovny. And ”ER”’s Julianna Margulies has twins (NBC, Nov. 25).

SPECIAL NETWORK SHENANIGANS ”Buffy the Vampire Slayer” features an obligatory crossover with ”Angel,” as David Boreanaz alights (WB, Nov. 23). Meanwhile, ABC’s ”The Drew Carey Show” brews up a webcast tie-in (Nov. 17) and a live show (Nov. 10). ”Everybody’s worried about swearing,” says executive producer Bruce Helford. ”Because that’s the first thing they do when they blow a line.”