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'Martin Short Show' gets short shrift


Talk about a Short run: "The Martin Short Show," after only three episodes on NBC, will not be seen tonight -- because the network already has yanked the show from its schedule and sent it back for retooling. Meanwhile, another struggling series, ABC's "My So-Called Life," gets a one-shot tryout in a later, better time slot, the one that, in seven days, will be occupied by the second-season premiere of "NYPD Blue."

* "Frasier" (9-9:30 p.m., Channel 2) -- Frasier (Kelsey Grammer) sets up Daphne (Jane Leeves) with a blind date -- then gets blind-sided himself. NBC.

* "Home Improvement" (9-9:30 p.m., Channel 13) -- Tonight's plot has Tim (Tim Allen) turning 40 and worrying about his health. I did the same thing earlier this year, and have some words of advice for the "Tool Time" host: Before you request a complete physical, find out precisely what is implied by the word "complete." Nine months later, I'm still traumatized. ABC.

* "Gambler V: Playing For Keeps" (9-11 p.m., Channel 11) -- Part 2 of 2. In the movies, Butch Cassidy was played by Paul Newman, the Sundance Kid by Robert Redford, and Etta Place by Katharine Ross -- two impossibly handsome men and one impossibly beautiful woman. For TV, in this tacky, fifth "Gambler" western starring Kenny Rogers, we get Scott Paulin as Butch, Brett Cullen as Sundance and Mariska Hargitay as Etta. It's an Etta example of TV setting its sights too low. CBS.

* "My So-Called Life" (10-11 p.m., Channel 13) -- It was clear from the start, except to the programmers at ABC, that "My So-Called Life" was a show too mature to be stuck in an early-evening time slot. As a better-late-than-never experiment, tonight ABC presents an episode in the last, rather than first, hour of prime time. Unfortunately, it's a repeat episode, so fans of the show, having already seen this episode, might not show up, making it a rather unfair gauge of the show's ratings potential in this time slot. ABC.

* "Late Show With David Letterman" (11:35 p.m.-12:35 a.m., Channel 11) -- Tonight's scheduled guests include Quentin Tarantino, writer-director of "Pulp Fiction." Seeing how, in one of his previous scripts, Mr. Tarantino revealed a deep (though unusual) understanding of Madonna's songs, he and Mr. Letterman ought to have a lot to talk about. CBS.


* "Biography: John Cleese" (8-9 p.m., A&E;) -- Great interview: Mr. Cleese is allowed, even encouraged, to be deadly serious here, showing a fascinating other side to the Minister of Silly Walks.

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