ODDS 'N' ENDS OFF THE BROADCAST BEAMS:
* For all its zeal in packaging the potential war in the Persian Gulf, television is sometimes squeamish about the reality. Bryant Gumbel of NBC's "Today," at least, had trouble last week facing one of the inevitable features of fighting.
The day after Secretary of State James Baker III announced the failure of talks with Iraqi foreign minister Tariq Aziz in Geneva, Gumbel was closing the show by remarking on the faces of U.S. soldiers, who have been sending greetings home via this and other programs.
He said something like, "It's hard to think that soon some of them will be . . . " then paused a little awkwardly as if stumbling over a thought before finishing, ". . . headed toward the front."
It seemed obvious the word he had been about to say was: "dead."
* The daytime TV lineups see some changes this month, headed by the return of the game show "The $100,000 Pyramid," with John ("Hollywood Squares") Davidson as host instead of Dick Clark. The show premiered today at 11 a.m. on WJZ-Channel 13, bumping "The Judge" to a wee hours 2 a.m. slot.
Originally "The $10,000 Pyramid" when it premiered in 1973, the word-clue-guessing game obviously has been hit with inflation. (Reruns of its syndicated form as "The $25,000 Pyramid," by the way, can still be seen daily at 3:30 p.m. on the USA Network of basic cable.)
You may also have noticed the return to WMAR-Channel 2 last week of "To Tell the Truth" and "The Marsha Warfield Show" in the 11 a.m. to noon hour. They replace "Tim & Daphne," the six-week pilot starring Tim Reid and Daphne Maxwell Reid.
But the "Warfield" show will be gone again soon, replaced Jan. 28 with "Trial Watch," a new NBC reality-based courtroom drama series. Also on Jan. 28 on Channel 2, the canceled soap opera "Generations" (whose last show is scheduled Jan. 25) will be replaced by the newsy "A Closer Look" network show featuring Faith Daniels.
* In other daily changes, Redd Foxx apparently is a bigger draw here than the furry "ALF." Earlier this month, a second daily edition of "ALF" that had been airing on WNUV-Channel 54 at 11 p.m. (in addition to the 5:30 p.m. screening) was replaced with a second edition of "Sanford and Son" (which also is seen at 6:30 p.m.).
The station's late movie also now begins at 11:30 p.m., a half-hour earlier, to fill the space left by the departure of "My Talk Show," a syndicated comedy show.
* National Public Radio's "Morning Edition" (at 6 a.m. daily on WJHU-FM 88.1) today began a five-part series on "Sports and Drugs."