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WBS trots out 'Tom' and 'Alright Already'; Fox debuts 'Ally McBeal'; USA picks a 'Clover'



"Color of Justice" / 8 p.m. Showtime

A seemingly simple case of carjacking and murder turns into a racially charged media circus in this drama set in New York. The plot involves four black juveniles involved in the beating death of a white woman. When the case goes to trial, a grandstanding community leader (Gregory Hines) plays up racial tensions, while a public defender (Judd Hirsch) casts doubt on police procedures, prompting the victim's outraged husband (Bruce Davison) to take radical action. Hines and Hirsch, incidentally, will star in CBS sitcoms premiering next week.


"The Tom Show" & "Alright Already" / 9 and 9:30 p.m. WB

Coupled together, the title of that second sitcom may seem like a commentary on the first. But we digress. These new comedies get a premature start on the fall season, something they will need in light of their major competition ("The X-Files" and network movies). Tom Arnold, in his third series, plays a divorced father with two daughters trying to revive a broadcasting career in his hometown of St. Paul, Minn. Carol Leifer, a former writer for "Seinfeld," stars in the latter, about a single woman and her wacky relationships with friends and family.


"Perfect Body" / 9 p.m. NBC

Last January, Lifetime carried a TV movie about the travails of a troubled young gymnast. The scenario of this new drama does not stray far from that. Amy Jo Johnson plays a gifted 15-year-old athlete who, at 98 pounds, starves herself to please her coach (Brett Cullen) and make the Olympic team. Two-time Olympian Cathy Rigby, who plays an assistant coach, choreographed the routines and served as technical advisor.


"Ally McBeal" / 9 p.m. Fox

Will Fox ever find a decent show to pair with "Melrose Place"? Based on the promising pilot, one hopes it might be this entry from David E. Kelley ("The Practice," "Chicago Hope"). Part whimsy, part drama, it centers on an intelligent, aggressive attorney (Calista Flockhart) who is more successful in court than affairs of the heart. A key complication: Ally's ex-boyfriend (Gil Bellows), who is now married, works at the small Boston firm she has just joined. "Melrose" alum Courtney Thorne-Smith co-stars, which is another good reason to watch.


"Clover" / 9 p.m. USA

Zelda Harris, who has appeared on "Sesame Street" and Spike Lee's "Crooklyn," plays the title role in this cable drama dealing with love and race. As a strong-willed African American girl growing up on her family's farm in the South, Clover has a widowed father named Gaten (Ernie Hudson) and two watchful aunts (Loretta Devine and Beatrice Winde). Reality--and tragedy--intervene, however, when Gaten marries the white Sara Kate (Elizabeth McGovern), then is killed in a car accident, forcing the two most important people in his life to move on without him.


"Between Brothers" & "413 Hope St." / 8:30, 9 p.m. Fox

"Rewind," a new sitcom planned for the fall, "remains in development" for midseason. "Living Single" now will lead off the network's evening against NBC's powerhouse lineup. "Between Brothers" follows two siblings (Kadeem Hardison and Dondre Whitfield) and their friends. "413 Hope St." is set in a New York youth facility run by Richard Roundtree. With "Seinfeld" as its opposite number, the latter will need an abundance of hope. Otherwise, it's going to get the shaft.


"The 77th Annual Miss America Pageant" / 9 p.m. ABC

Here she comes ... but it won't be on NBC. Returning to ABC for the first time since 1956, the 77th annual event brings together the usual bevy of beauties in Atlantic City. Husband-and-wife Eva LaRue and John Callahan of "All My Children" co-host the telecast, featuring all the contestants from across the country. One change in the rules: Contestants can select either one or two-piece swimsuits. Hmmm ... that suits us fine.

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