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Something's burning on the ''Providence'' season finale

Plus, EW Online’s guide to the week’s notable sweeps shows

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Melina Kanakaredes
Sven Arnstein

Syd (Melina Kanakaredes) gets wiggy with it in ”Providence”’s two-part season finale (the first installment airs Friday, 8 p.m., NBC) when she starts seeing Cheshire cats, tardy rabbits, and other Wonderland types after experiencing a series of headaches. This is just one of many strange and dramatic happenings planned for the ”Providence” dwellers in the season ender.

”Every single one of the characters goes through their biggest transformation yet,” says Paula Cale, who plays Syd’s sister Joanie. ”And they’re all pretty traumatic events.” There’s even evidence that the show, which is expected to be renewed when NBC announces its fall schedule on Monday, ends with a smoldering bang. ”Last night until four in the morning we were at the Universal lot shooting a huge five-story fire,” says Cale. ”And I’ll just leave it at that.”

Here are some other notable sweeps’ specials, story lines, and star-studded guest spots for the coming week:

  • Friday, May 12

    ”Hot Boyz” (8p.m., UPN)
    Play in that funky movie, white boy: C. Thomas Howell joins rappers Snoop Dogg and C-Murder in this Master P-directed crime thriller.

    ”Gloria Estefan, Caribbean Soul: The Atlantis Concert” (8 p.m., CBS)
    How’s this for Latin pride: Teen-pop gringos ‘N Sync have been cut from the program in order to give airtime to seminal salsa star Celia Cruz and guitarist Jose Feliciano. Oh wait… it’s the other way around. (The Cruz and Feliciano segments will air only in Latin America.)

  • Saturday, May 13

    ”Rated X” (9 p.m., Showtime)
    Emilio Estevez and his bro Charlie Sheen star as the infamous porn-king Mitchell Brothers — what a stretch!

    ”Saturday Night Live” (11:30 p.m., NBC)
    Britney Spears is both the host and the musical guest. But will her fans be able to stay up past their bedtimes to watch?

  • Sunday, May 14

    ”Touched by An Angel” (8 p.m., CBS)
    With the increasingly touchy-feely Judds

    ”Jesus” (9 p.m., CBS)
    A lil’ something to watch while you’re resting on the seventh day. (Read more about the show.)

  • Monday, May 14

    ”Roswell” (9 p.m.,WB) You know you’re over 30 when you… (A) don’t care that in this season finale, Max and Isabel get in touch with their alien mother; (B) don’t care that Backstreet Boy Howie Dorough makes a cameo appearance; (C) don’t know what tabasco sauce has to do with any of this.

    ”Ally McBeal” (9 p.m., Fox)
    Macy Gray performs on the most musical series since ”Cop Rock.”

  • Tuesday, May 15

    ”Will and Grace” (9 p.m., NBC)
    Joan Collins faces off with that other Überbitch — Jack.

    ”After Diff’rent Strokes: When the Laughter Stopped” (9 p.m., Fox)
    A tell-all docudrama for those who’ve been trapped in tabloid-free caves.

  • Wednesday, May 17

    ”Beverly Hills, 90210” (8 p.m., Fox)
    The series finale promos ask: ”How Will You Say Goodbye?” Most of us already have.

    ”West Wing” (9 p.m., CBS)
    One of the year’s best new show’s takes its first season bow. Hey, now that he’s on hiatus, how ’bout getting Martin Sheen on the presidential ballot for real. (Read more about the series.)

  • Thursday, May 18

    ”Murder She Wrote: A Story To Die For” (8 p.m., CBS)
    Yeah, if you haven’t turned on the TV since 1996.

    ”ER” (10 p.m., NBC)
    The good doctors deal with victims of a school shooting. How do the writers come up with these ideas?

  • Friday, May 19

    ”Dukes of Hazzard: Hazzard in Hollywood” (8 p.m., CBS)
    Just in case you haven’t reached your ”guilty pleasure” quotient for the month.

    ”27th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards” (8 p.m., ABC)
    That’s what ya get for breaking a good (and loads o’ fun) losing streak: Host Susan Lucci isn’t even nominated this year.