Television: News Nuns and Media Monks

A Larry Sanders-style spin on the ways of politics and the press in Washington

Al Franken's comic genius is that even though he's made it to prime time, he will never seem ready for it. In NBC's new comedy Lateline (Tuesdays, 9:30 p.m. E.T.), a spoof of Nightline, the Saturday Night Live veteran (Remember "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me"?) plays the indefatigable correspondent Al Freundlich as a mixture of Jeff Greenfield's best-boy-in-class earnestness and Sam Donaldson's bouncy intensity. In this week's premiere, under the mistaken impression that he's replacing narcissistic anchor Pearce McKenzie (appealingly pompous Robert Foxworth), Freundlich orders up the Pope as his first guest and decides...

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