February 03, 1997 12:00 PM

CBS (Wednesdays, 9p.m. ET)


If you could examine the staff of this new weekly newsmagazine at a sub-molecular level, you might find they had been cloned from Charles Kuralt. Like that veteran journalist, Coast to Coast specializes in small-town (or at least non-megalopolis) Americana—stories that celebrate the unaffected quirkiness, good hearts and humble courage of ordinary people. Profile subjects in the premiere included Edward Hanna, the scrappy mayor of Utica, N.Y., who regularly yells at the city council and insists that the chimes of the town clock play “My Way” on the hour, and Kent Clegg, an Idaho farmer who, along the lines of Fly Away Home, piloted a small plane to steer some cranes south for the winter. The best segment—the only truly good one, actually—was Charles Osgood’s recap of a strange bomber-suicide incident that happened eight years ago in Butte, Mont. This vignette had some of the morbid power of Fargo.

The show is pleasant enough but slightly condescending. Coast to Coast is bacon and eggs served up by people who normally avoid cholesterol and nitrates

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