Alternate universes for the ”Friends,” a ”Homicide” reunion, and a Wayne Newton cameo: No, Christmas hasn’t come early — it’s all part of the giddy glamour that is this week’s Sweeps TV. Here’s a short guide to the noteworthy ratings-grabbing programming being beamed straight to you in the next seven days.
”Friends” (NBC, 8 p.m.) Reese Witherspoon concludes her two-episode guest spot as Rachel’s sister, and steps up her seduction of Ross.
”ER” (NBC, 10 p.m.) Finally, doctors have found a cure for perkiness: Kellie Martin’s med-student character gets fatally stabbed, and she’ll breathe her last next week.
”Boy Meets World” (ABC, 8 p.m.) In this special hour-long episode, Cory and Topanga imagine a life where they’re not buddies with Shawn, Rachel, and Jack. Haven’t we all done the same?
”Good Grief, Charlie Brown: A Tribute to Charles Schulz” (CBS, 8 p.m.) A look back at 50 years of Peanuts after the retirement of its creator. Walter Cronkite hosts.
”The Pretender” (NBC, 8 p.m.) Jarod goes to Vegas, which means that the special guest star is Wayne Newton. This is what TV would be like if it were all produced out of Branson, Mo.
”The Simpsons” (Fox, 8 p.m.) A character kicks the cartoon bucket tonight, and word has it it’ll be Maude Flanders, in possibly the first recorded case of animated-death-related buzz.
”Homicide: The Movie” (NBC, 9 p.m.) The cast of the dearly departed drama reunites. And the result is good!
”Sally Hemings: An American Scandal” (CBS, 9 p.m.) Are you torn between your cerebral passion for history and curiosity for salacious gossip? You’ll get it all in this miniseries (concluding Monday night) about the 38-year affair between Thomas Jefferson (Sam Neill) and slave Sally Hemings (Carmen Ejogo).
”Liar Liar” (Fox, 8 p.m.) No, it’s not more political primary coverage: It’s the broadcast premiere of the Jim Carrey comedy. (Mark Russell should feel free to set that joke to music and use it in his act.)
”Just Shoot Me” (NBC, 8 p.m.) In this one-hour episode, Maya and Elliott hook up, because every sitcom inevitably answers the question ”Will they or won’t they” with, ”Oh, they will!”
”Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire?” (8 p.m., Fox) In a setup that no one involved has likely thought out completely, 50 bachelorettes will compete to win some unidentified rich dude’s hand in marriage. At the end of the two-hour special, they will be married. And oh how they will deserve each other.
”NYPD Blue” (ABC, 10 p.m.) It’s Nicholas Turturro’s last appearance, and we’re hoping the producers decide to give him the Sergeant’s promotion he talked about in the previous episode. If, instead, they gun him down in a ratings-grabbing shoot-out, we’ll weep at their cruelty.
”The JonBenet Ramsey Story” (Fox, 9 p.m.) Because the murder is still unsolved, this special will dramatize three possible resolutions.
”Friends” (NBC, 8 p.m.) Echoes of ”Boy Meets World”! It’s another Bizarro World episode, except this one-hour special depicts what the Friends’ lives would be like if one event had gone differently for each of them: Monica is still fat, Joey’s still on ”Days of Our Lives,” Ross and first wife Carol stayed married, etc.