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Highlights | TURN ON, TUNE IN OR MISS OUT

New spokes and folks on 'Pacific Blue' and 'Melrose Place'; Viva the 'Variety' in Las Vegas

July 26, 1998|STEVEN LINAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Sunday

"Silent Witness: Fallen Idol" / 5 and 9 p.m. A&E

Part medical examiner, part investigator and all business, the efficient Samantha Ryan (played with subtlety and intelligence by Amanda Burton) returns with another puzzler. This time, the protagonist peers into the murder of a glamorous 17-year-old real estate trainee found at the bottom of a staircase. Was the teen being stalked? Did her mother know she was having an affair with her stepfather? And who's making those mysterious calls to her office? Not to worry, Sam will get to the bottom of it all, as usual.

****

"Pacific Blue" / 8 p.m. USA

The cliched cops-on-bikes drama pedals into its fourth season with new cast members hired to attract a younger audience. Rick Rossovich and Marcos Ferraez have departed the series, which was picked up for 22 first-run episodes after posting improved numbers last season as lead-in for USA's Sunday night lineup featuring "Silk Stalkings" and "La Femme Nikita." Mario Lopez ("Saved by the Bell") and three other recruits join "Blue," which opens with a Las Vegas wedding for beach patrol officers T.C. (Jim Davidson) and Chris (Darlene Vogel).

Monday

"Melrose Place" / 8 p.m. Fox

In a summer that has packed plenty of heat, longtime fans can only hope this once steamy, seductive serial does the same. On Aug. 17, Josie Bissett will return as fashion designer Jane Mancini, hooking up again with her sleazeball ex-hubby Michael (Thomas Calabro). As fall approaches, producers will build "Melrose" around a cast of seven characters centering on ever-aggressive Amanda (Heather Locklear), who made it the "Place" to be. In this week's season No. 7 opener, Kyle (Rob Estes) tries to reclaim Amanda, while Sam (Brooke Langton) and Jennifer (Alyssa Milano) tear hair over Billy (Andrew Shue) and Jeff (Dan Gauthier).

Tuesday

"Guinness World Records: Primetime" / 9 p.m. Fox

When it comes to record-breaking TV performances, Fox has at least one entry in the famed book. As most viewers know, "The Simpsons" is the longest-running prime-time cartoon in small-screen history. Whether this new summer series sets any records of its own is highly unlikely, but, hey, Fox can dream, can't it? Pro football analyst Cris Collinsworth hosts the reality-based hour, which features an array of events filmed on location as well as participants trying to break Guinness Records, or establish new ones.

****

"Viva Variety" / 10 p.m. Comedy Central

Speaking of Las Vegas, this over-the-top Euro-style variety show launches its third season with a one-hour special in Sin City. Susan Anton and the former Mrs. Laupin (Kerri Keaney) star in a Russ Meyers movie spoof called "Bras to Kill." David Cassidy, Jack Jones, the Cherry Poppin' Daddies, Rip Taylor and the Radio City Rockettes are other guests on the opener. Oily host Mr. Laupin (Thomas Lennon) and his wacky sidekick Johnny Blue Jeans (Michael Black) are back with an expanded Swimsuit Squad.

Wednesday

"Terror in the Mall" / 8 p.m. Fox

The original title of this made-for-TV thriller was "Disaster at the Mall." Neither makes me want to watch this tale of torrential rains and a flood that traps assorted characters in an upscale shopping center. As bad luck would have it, one of them is a murderer, and each must contend with lethal gas building to an explosive level in the multistory structure. Rob Estes, Shannon Sturges and David Soul are the leads, but the real star is the enormous amount of water (nearly 400,000 gallons of it) used on the set.

Thursday

"Peter Jennings Reporting" / 9:30 p.m. ABC

Anyone who's attended a Little League baseball game has witnessed the innocence of the players and the passion of their parents. And when we say passion, we're talking about the vociferous reactions to virtually everything their young ones accomplish on the field. Presumably, there's much of that unique American flavor in this 90-minute documentary tracking a spirited team from Hagerstown, Md., as it pursues a championship.

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