In a New Light

Docu narration: Barbara Walters.

With:
Hosts: Arsenio Hall and Paula Abdul.

Docu narration: Barbara Walters.

With: Elizabeth Taylor, Patti Austin, Pat Benatar, Clint Black, Elayne Boosler, Michael Callen, Melissa Etheridge, Expose, Elton John, Barry Manilow, Silk, Lily Tomlin, Debbie Allen, Rosanna Arquette, Scott Bakula, Angela Bassett, Lisa Hartman Black, Ruben Blades, Joyce Brothers, Carol Burnett, Leanza Cornett, Cindy Crawford, Aileen Getty, Dustin Hoffman, Hulk Hogan, Kate Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, Judith Light, Little Richard, Chad Lowe, Kristina Malandro, Elena Monica , Rosie Perez, Luke Perry, Sally Jessy Raphael, Geraldo Rivera, Joan Rivers, Holly Robinson, Paul Rodriguez, Antonio Sabato Jr., John Stamos, Blair Underwood , Abigail Van Buren, Ben Vereen, Malcolm-Jamal Warner.

Asequel to last year’s spec, this two-hour affair, hosted by Arsenio Hall and Paula Abdul, aims to bring the AIDS epidemic into a “new light” by having a plethora of celebs, from all walks of the business, perform public service announcements. Kudos to everyone involved, but unfortunately the spec doesn’t pan out.

The show uses sound bites from interviews, in-studio musical performances and segs that feature non-celebs who are directly dealing with the disease.

The show presents much info, but it’s too long. While the precautions and warnings can never be understated, the PSAs become monotonous and thus not as affecting as they should be.

The special includes memorable in-studio performances by the likes of Pat Benatar, Barry Manilow and Melissa Etheridge and a live concert piece by Elton John. (The in-studio pieces are performed with the AIDS quilt as a backdrop.)

While all segs and music performances are done on a similar-looking soundstage, “Light” never really gels as a singular piece, and might have had more impact if some of the celebs had been shown together or interviewers were seen and heard.

By far the most moving and informative pieces are the segs that feature people dealing with the disease. One person, talking about the dangers of unprotected sex, warns, “Don’t become a patch on a quilt.”

Overall, exec producer Joseph Lovett should be praised for the effort, and the special should be credited for relaying facts about AIDS that are staggering.

But “In a New Light” could have been much more educational.

In a New Light

(Sat. (4), 8-10 p.m., ABC)

Production: Taped by ABC. Executive producer, Joseph F. Lovett; producer, Tom Werts; documentary producer, Timothy C. Braun; director, Lauren Harris; writers, Lovett , Danny Lemos, Madalyn Minch, Lon Wayland; lighting director, Simon Myles.

Crew: Editor, Gloria Whittemore; production designer, Jeremy Railton & Associates.

Cast: Hosts: Arsenio Hall and Paula Abdul.

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