All Star not the only game in town


Be honest, now: With only Cal Ripken Jr. represented from the Orioles, just how gripping is tonight's 62nd Major League Baseball All Star Game? It is airing live from the Toronto Skydome on CBS (Channel 11), beginning at 8 o'clock.

As usual with sporting events expected to win the majority of viewers, there are some unusual alternative choices elsewhere on the tube, for non-baseball fans or anyone else unexcited by the annual exhibition. For example:

* NBC's "Matlock" with the sleepy Andy Griffith as defense attorney Ben Matlock, has been a sleeper hit for the last few seasons. And while it is not on the network's fall schedule, it may yet be back as a mid-season replacement.

Tonight's repeat (at 8, Channel 2) offers a sampling of the show's appeal, with Ben failing to show up at a luncheon in his honor. Thus is offered the time-honored series convention of running a selection of clips from previous shows, as his friends reminisce.

* On Maryland Public Television at 8 (channels 22 and 67) a February "Nova" repeat explores the latest knowledge about the toothsome terror that perpetually fascinates kids and scientists, the dinosaur tyrannosaurus rex. The show pays a visit to a Montana graveyard where 50 million-year-old bones have been unearthed.

* On ABC at 8:30, one of the spring's more interesting failed series is back for a reprise. It's "Davis Rules," whose short spring appearance did not earn it a place on the fall schedule but provided some laughs.

* With the beach season in full swing, the return of the PBS series "National Audubon Society" is a timely edition. (It is at 9 p.m. on Washington's Channel 26, and at 10 p.m. on MPT.) Actor Ted ("Cheers") Danson hosts "Danger at the Beach," which examines the extent of pollution threats to coastal life, both human and wild.

* On cable, highlights include a movie that is a modern cult classic, a documentary about one of moviedom's legendary stars and a different sort of sporting event.

The movie is "Conan the Barbarian," at 8 on Washington's Channel 5, which is carried by most local cable systems (and also can be picked up via broadcast signal by some area viewers). Arnold Schwarzenegger, currently reprising his biggest hit in theaters with "The Terminator 2," first muscled into the movie box office with this sword-slashing tale.

The 40-year career of the late actress who first captured viewers as the icy young girl in "Miracle on 34th Street" is featured in "Starring Natalie Wood," at 8 o'clock on the Arts & Entertainment.

And at 9 p.m. on basic cable's ESPN service comes a sporting event that takes place only on the sidelines, with an hour-long selection of highlights from the College Cheerleading Championships, taped in April in Texas.

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