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Backstreet Boys take to TV to sell their new record

Read more in EW.com’s guide to this week’s best sweeps offerings

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Backstreet Boys
Backstreet Boys: David Fisher/LFI

Get ready for another round of Backstreet mania. With their third U.S. album, ”Black & Blue,” due out Tuesday, Nov. 21, Nick, Howie, Kevin, Brian, and A.J. are taking their promo pitch directly to the people via TV. Along with four taped segments on ”Access Hollywood” (Nov. 17 and 20 through 22) and five taped interviews and performances on CBS’ ”The Early Show” (Nov. 20, 27 through 29, and Dec. 5), the Boys will headline a one hour ”TRL” special Tuesday night at 8:30 p.m. The goal: topping ‘N Sync’s first week sales tally of 2.4 million albums. Recently, A.J. McLean bragged to Teen People: ”I bet we can break their record and our record [1.1 million copies of ”Millennium”] combined the first week out.”

Well, maybe not. ”I don’t look for the Backstreet Boys to exceed the 2.4 million mark,” says Geoff Mayfield, director of charts at Billboard Magazine. ”But they certainly won’t embarrass themselves.” Unlike ‘N Sync, whose single ”Bye, Bye, Bye,” was No. 1 on Billboard’s airplay charts for more than a month before their album came out, BSB’s ”Shape of My Heart” just broke into the top 10 this week. ”There’s just not as much action on this single,” Mayfield says. Then again, he adds, never understimate the power of even one key performance, like the Nov. 20 spot on ”The Rosie O’Donnell Show.” ”Rosie can increase sales,” Mayfield says. ”I’ve seen it happen before.” Hey, maybe THAT’S the show Kathie Lee should’ve visited.

?FRIDAY, Nov. 17

”The Beatles Revolution” (8 p.m., ABC) Moguls (Jeff Bezos, Jann Wenner), models (Twiggy, Christy Turlington), musicians, (Al Green, Sting) — just about everyone famous chimes in to explain how the Liverpool legends changed the world.

”Sheep in the Big City” (9:30 p.m., Cartoon Network) It’s like ”The Fugitive,” only animated. In the debut of the network’s newest series, we meet Sheep, who has escaped a military organization on his farm and is hiding in the Big City.

?SATURDAY, Nov. 18

”For Love or Country: The Arturo Sandoval Story” (9 p.m., HBO) Andy Garcia stars in this critically praised biopic (EW’s Bruce Fretts gave it an A) of the renowned Cuban trumpeter who defected to the U.S. in 1990. Garcia’s fellow Cuban American celebrity Gloria Estefan costars, and actor director Charles S. Dutton (HBO’s ”The Corner”) plays Dizzy Gillespie.

”The District” (10 p.m., CBS) Ella (Tony winner Lynne Thigpen) is horrified when her young nephew must testify against his father for the brutal murder of the boy’s mother. Not exactly ”Coach” material.

?SUNDAY, Nov. 19

”Santa Who?” (7 p.m., ABC) If ”The Grinch” can be released this early in the holiday season, so can the annual barrage of Christmas TV movies. In this one, slapstick pro Leslie Nielsen plays a St. Nick suffering from amnesia. But don’t you fret, little Virginia, there IS a Santa Claus, and all it takes is a reporter and a little boy to remind him.

”Touched By an Angel” (8 p.m., CBS) Don’t look for a Planned Parenthood stamp of approval on this episode. Tess Harper (”Tender Mercies”) guests as a woman whose past abortion leads to a horrible fight with her husband. Hey, if you want ”If These Walls Could Talk,” get thee to HBO.

”The Simpsons” (8 p.m., Fox) Lisa joins an environmentalist protest to save Springfield’s oldest tree and ends up smitten with the group’s leader (voiced by ”Dawson’s Creek” star Joshua Jackson). Oh, those pesky tree huggers.

?MONDAY, Nov. 20

”The 100 Greatest Pop Songs” (10 p.m., MTV) Tune in for the video network’s first installment of the best songs in pop history. VJs Carson Daly and Ananda Lewis are on hand to help artists like Jennifer Lopez, ‘N Sync, and Destiny’s Child explain which hits made their list. The countdown continues Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday at 10 p.m., with the top 40 songs airing Saturday starting at 5 p.m.

”7th Heaven” (8 p.m., the WB) It’s double trouble for Simon when he dates the rowdy Murphy sisters, played by none other than Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen. Those Olsen twins are no good, Simon; no good.

”The King of Queens” (8 p.m., CBS) Two weeks after her stint on ”Ally McBeal,” Florence Henderson returns to the sweeps schedule as Arthur’s (Jerry Stiller) second wife, who appears in flashbacks of the first Thanksgiving Doug and Carrie spent together. Sounds like a turkey.

Thanksgiving Monday on UPN
On ”Moesha” (8 p.m.), Robert Guillaume (”Benson”), R&B singer Ginuwine, and rap artist Fredro Starr are guests at the Mitchells’ family dinner. Sitcom vets Sherman Hemsley (”Amen”) and Telma Hopkins (”Family Matters”) play Yvonne’s disapproving parents on ”The Hughleys” (9 p.m.). And what better way to keep an eye on your own show? Exec producer Kelsey Grammer cameos on ”Girlfriends” (9:30 p.m.).

?TUESDAY, Nov. 21

”Greatest TV Moments: Sesame Street Music A-Z” (8 p.m., VH1) This one hour ”Save the Music” special reveals that Big Bird, Grover, and company have some pretty cool pals. Using the alphabet as a guide, the show features musical ”Sesame” appearances from an eclectic group of artists; G is for Goo Goo Dolls, N for ‘N Sync — you get the idea.

”2Gether: The Series” (9:30 p.m., MTV) Goodbye Jerry, Jason, Mickey, Chad, and Doug. The fivesome is booted from their cool digs so MTV can exploit — I mean, discover — another wannabe boyband.

?WEDNESDAY, Nov. 22

”Dawson’s Creek” (8 p.m., the WB) It’s Keyser Soze time in Capeside. In this tribute to ”The Usual Suspects,” Dawson, Pacey, and Jack are each interrogated after an intricate senior prank is played on the new principal (comedian Harry Shearer).

”Love Lessons” (9 p.m., CBS) Not since the glory days of ”The Golden Girls” have the networks offered such a frank portrayal of over the hill sexuality. Oscar and Emmy winner Patty Duke and made for TV veteran Ronny Cox star as a happily married couple who experience a midlife miracle: pregnancy at 50. Warning: This material may not be appropriate for anyone UNDER 50.

”Spin City” (9:30 p.m., ABC) Even people under 50 will appreciate the following sexagenarian’s sexuality: Raquel Welch plays Paul’s (Richard Kind) mother who surprises him with a visit. Worried what his mom will think about him being dumped, Paul decides to pretend Caitlin (Heather Locklear) is his girlfriend. Evidently mom is blind, if she believes that one.

?THURSDAY, Nov. 23

A Little Bit of Country Night on CBS
”Faith!” (8 p.m.) Country’s newest crossover queen Faith Hill performs in her first primetime special. Then Dolly Parton and Vince Gill host ”Grand Ole Opry’s 75th: A Celebration” (9 p.m.), a high profile hoedown honoring the ”world’s longest running live radio show.” Garth Brooks, Loretta Lynn, and Trisha Yearwood pay tribute.

”Will & Grace” (9 p.m., NBC) It’s flashback time to an ’80s Thanksgiving when a young Grace brings home her new college beau, a pre- outed Will.

”Who Wants to be a Millionaire” (9 p.m., ABC) Who needs football or reruns of ”Home Alone?” This is sweeps! The celebrities may be gone, but ABC is banking that turkey stuffed relatives will hunker down for the game show’s ”Family Edition.” Parents and children will play as teams tonight and tomorrow. Regis and leftovers, now that’s the holiday spirit.

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