It's no illusion, it's a day of face-offs


It's a day for confrontations. Baltimore's Democratic mayoral candidates meet on WBAL-TV this morning, Monica Seles returns to tennis against Martina Navratilova in the afternoon, and the world's greatest magicians offer dueling illusions in the evening.

* "The Bottom Line" (11 a.m.-noon, WBAL, Channel 11) -- They faced off politely on radio earlier this week, and now Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke and City Council President Mary Pat Clarke, his primary election rival, appear together in a forum moderated by Rep. Kweisi Mfume. Not a formal debate, the show taped last night follows its usual format, with Mr. Mfume soliciting questions from a studio audience.

* "The CBS Sports Show: Return of the Champions" (2 p.m.-4 p.m., WJZ, Channel 13) -- In a live made-for-TV exhibition, Ms. Seles plays her first public tennis match since being stabbed in the back by a fan of rival Steffi Graf in 1993. Ms. Navratilova is her opponent, and the location is the Atlantic City Convention Center. CBS.

* "NFL Preseason Football" (2:30 p.m.-6 p.m., WMAR, Channel 2) -- The pre-season gets under way with the annual AFC-NFC Hall of Fame game at Canton, Ohio. The match-up offers two They-Shoulda-Been-Ours expansion teams: the Charlotte Panthers and Jacksonville Jaguars. ABC.

* "The World's Greatest Magic" (8 p.m.-10 p.m., WBAL, Channel 11) -- Magicians from around the world gather at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas to compare some tricks of the trade. Robert Urich is the host of the special featuring prestidigitators Lance Burton, Brett Daniels, Franz Harary, Melinda "The First Lady of Magic," mentalist Max Maven, Princess Tenko and Charlotte and Jonathan Pendragon. NBC.

* "The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes" (9 p.m.-11 p.m., WMAR, Channel 2) -- Kirk Cameron takes the Kurt Russell role in this remake of the 1970 film Disney film, portraying an unmotivated college student who suddenly gains computer brainpower when struck by lightning. Also in the movie: the dean of Disney family fare, Dean Jones ("The Love Bug," etc.). ABC.

* "Abbott and Costello Meet Seinfeld" (10 p.m.-11 p.m., WBAL, Channel 11) -- Host Jerry Seinfeld says Abbott and Costello were his favorite comedy team. This repeat includes the famous "Who's on first?" routine, of course, but also offers Lou Costello's home movies. NBC.


* "The Incredible Life & Times of Robert Ripley: Believe It or Not!" (10 p.m.-midnight, TBS) -- Imagine what this guy would have done with the medium of TV! The profile special recalls the cartoonist who popularized the world's oddities in his syndicated newspaper feature.

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