Picks and Pans Review: Child Stars

UPDATED 09/04/2000 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 09/04/2000 at 01:00 AM EDT

A&E (Mon., Sept. 4, 9 p.m. ET)

I usually cover my ears the moment some Hollywood type begins complaining about celebrity, but I make an exception for former child actors who didn't make the bed they had to lie in. As Paul Petersen (gee, the boy has aged since The Donna Reed Show) says in this two-hour special, "I got started in the business because Mom was bigger than me."

Child Stars is surprisingly worth watching, mainly because it's a forum for people who know whereof they speak—from executive producers Tony Dow and Melissa Gilbert to Diana Serra Cary, 81, who at 2 was silent-movie star "Baby Peggy" and at 15 "felt like a senior citizen." A roundtable discussion nearly turns into group therapy when Kim Fields (The Facts of Life) gets weepy, but it's interesting to listen nonetheless.

Bottom Line: More mature than expected

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