Picks and Pans Review: Hot Country Nights

updated 12/16/1991 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/16/1991 AT 01:00 AM EST

NBC (Sundays, 8 P.M. ET)

B

NBC tries to get healthy on Sunday nights by hitching its wagon to country music's unprecedented popularity. The only problem is that they oversell the package. Each show starts with a rowdy, barn-burning number with smoke machines, flashing lights and a crowd so pumped up they seem to have wandered over from The Price Is Right. But by the first commercial, the show has settled into a comfortable placidity.

Country artists live in their tour buses. They're not about to act all hopped up just because some network guy with a clipboard and stopwatch says, "Jump down, turn around." Veterans like Clint Black, Randy Travis and Tanya Tucker stick with what got them to the dance. That gives the show a relaxed, confident feel. The segment when all five or six scheduled acts come together for a jam session is particularly kitchen-cozy. This is a likable variety show; just don't believe the hype.

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