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Ruby Wax is asking the questions on Fox; MTV's feted movies; A&E opens a 'Cracker'



"Pronto" / 8 p.m. Showtime

"Columbo's" Peter Falk trades in his trenchcoat for Miami Beach threads to play a bookie on the lam in this adaptation of a novel by Elmore Leonard ("Get Shorty"). Harry Arno (Falk), who's been skimming off his boss for 20 years, decides the time is right to rent an Italian villa with his ex-stripper girlfriend (Glenne Headly). But with the mob in pursuit, Harry gets some help from a sharp-shooting U.S. marshal (James LeGros) assigned to protect him.


"Battleship" / 9 p.m. Discovery Channel

Think of this two-hour documentary as a blast from the past. Narrated by actor Hal Holbrook ("Midway"), it takes a historical look at America's huge floating fighters--from the search-and-destroy missions in World War I to the race for bigger-and-better ships during the Pacific campaign of WWII. The program also salutes the USS Missouri, site of the Japanese surrender in 1945.


"The Ruby Wax Show" / 8:30 p.m. Fox

Polished she's not, but Wax manages to wring sporadic laughs from sometimes crass celebrity interviews in which she brazenly asks anything and everything of her guests. In the opener of this summer series, she compares breast sizes with Pamela Anderson Lee in the star's "Baywatch" trailer, talks about sex with Goldie Hawn ("Is this getting too intimate?," asks Hawn) and shops with the Divine One, Bette Midler.


"Cracker: White Ghost" / 6 and 10 p.m. A&E

Come fall, ABC will unveil its version of the superb British drama about a brilliant yet flawed criminal psychologist. The chances of it being remotely as good as the Brits' seem slim indeed, but we're willing to be open-minded for now. In the meantime, this two-hour movie from the original mold finds the portly Fitz (Robbie Coltrane, good as ever) on a lecture tour in the Far East, where he collaborates with Hong Kong police in the hunt for a troubled businessman (Barnaby Kay) who resorts to murder. The disturbed antagonist goes one step further by stashing his pregnant wife in a shipping crate after discovering that she was planning to get an abortion.


"Sins of the Mind" / 9 p.m. USA

Television gets weirder all the time, but we aren't likely to see a storyline any more bizarre than the one employed in this made-for-cable movie. In short, it's about a woman (Missy Crider) with a strong urge for sex after she's recuperated from serious injuries in a car accident. Needless to say, the character's parents (Mike Farrell and Jill Clayburgh) have their hands full finding a rational explanation for that overactive libido.


Interleague Baseball / 7 p.m. KTLA

Purists oppose the idea, and ballplayers aren't crazy about it either, but now the question is whether fans will turn out for first-time regular-season games between the National and American leagues. For the Dodgers, it means a road trip to Oakland (Thursday and Friday on KTLA), where they will face sluggers Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco, and Seattle (Saturday on Fox), where major league home-run leader Ken Griffey awaits. Meanwhile, the Angels are at home against the San Diego Padres (Friday on Fox Sports West) and San Francisco Giants (Saturday on FSW).


"1997 MTV Movie Awards" / 9 p.m. MTV

Groovy, baby! "Saturday Night Live" grad Mike Myers, a.k.a. "Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery," hosts the sixth annual salute to populist films. As usual, there are offbeat categories such as best kiss (Jennifer Tilly and Gina Gershon in the steamy "Bound"), on-screen duo (you-know-who for "Beavis & Butt-head Do America") and action sequence (the climactic train-and-chopper chase in "Mission: Impossible"). Chris O'Donnell, Salma Hayek, Neve Campbell, Alicia Silverstone and Samuel L. Jackson are among the presenters.

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