It is tough to be a young person these days, but there are worthwhile challenges, too, as three unrelated programs combine to prove tonight:
* Early ventures in sexuality have a potentially dire outcome, as illustrated in "First Love, Fatal Love," a documentary special at 8 o'clock on the HBO premium cable service.
The half-hour show is hosted by Kim Frey, a young woman who learned six years after a college romance that she had contracted the AIDS virus. The real-life victim introduces a dramatization of her story, then closes the half-hour with advice on safe sex practices.
* Drug use and abuse by young people, and especially how parents can take steps to deal with or prevent the problem, is the thrust of "Drug Free Kids," at 10 p.m. on WBFF-Channel 45.
The hour-long show includes Jane Alexander, Ned Beatty, Marla Gibbs, Melissa Gilbert, Elliott Gould, Bo Hopkins, Susan Sullivan and Paul Winfield, and marks the start of the Fox network affiliate's Operation Prom campaign. The fourth annual community-based project asks young people to make commitments to their families not to drink and drive.
(An interesting environmental study is also on Channel 45 preceding the teen special. It's "Antarctica, the Last Frontier," at 8 p.m.)
* On the opportunity side, cable's The Disney Channel offers young people some ideas for dealing with environmental problems in "Spaceship Earth: Our Global Environment," at 8:30 p.m. on the premium channel. Khrystyne Haje (of ABC's "Head of the Class") is the host. COMEDY WORTH SEEING -- Media Monitor was complaining in this space not long ago that no Baltimore area cable systems yet carry an all-comedy channel.
We have to second that thought after receiving the new schedule from CTV: The Comedy Network, the service that resulted from the recent merger between rivals HA! (from MTV) and "The Comedy Channel (from HBO). Consider what we are missing, from these titles of older shows acquired by the service:
"The Ernie Kovacs Show," "Monty Python's Flying Circus," "Rhoda," "The Steve Allen Show" (from 1956-60), "The Jack Benny Show" (1950-65), "Spike Jones" and the great "Your Show of Shows," to name just a few.
The service even has picked up three of Media Monitor's favorite failures from the past: "Captain Nice" (William Daniels as a not-so-super hero, from 1967), "When Things Were Rotten" (Mel Brooks meets Robin Hood, from 1975), and "Quark" (Richard Benjamin on a garbage scow spaceship, from 1978).
SORRY, PAULA -- Co-host Paula Zahn of "CBS This Morning" had a nice feature last week on a little girl in Bowie who, missing overnight in the woods, was tended by her family's dogs. Unfortunately, Zahn said the whole thing had happened in "Boomie, Maryland."