ON AND OFF THE AIR:
* It was once proposed in this space that the initials of the U.S.A. cable network could stand for Unrelenting Savage Action, from the particularly violent tone of much of its original movie fare. Here's another acronym interpretation, appropriate to tonight's newest offering: Unemployment Salvage Association.
For the star of "Drop Dead Gorgeous" (at 9 p.m.) is Sally Kellerman, the statuesque actress almost everybody remembers as the nurse "Hot Lips" in the 1969 movie "M*A*S*H," but who has been seen in few hits since.
The other U.S.A. acronym fits, too, for the plot of "Drop Dead fTC Gorgeous" involves Kellerman as a photographer who discovers bright new model (Jennifer Rubin). But her rise to stardom on the runway ramps is accompanied by a string of murders.
It is not a good sign that U.S.A. did not send a preview copy of the movie.
* One is hardly prepared to find TV stardom while pedaling a bicycle through the seemingly endless cornfields of the Eastern Shore. But some participants in last week's Cycle Across Maryland '91 tour -- including a vacationing Media Monitor -- found themselves on camera in a surprising way.
A crew from the Maryland Public Television series "Outdoors Maryland" followed the 1,000-plus participants on their six-day tour around the Chesapeake Bay from Solomons to Easton. And on at least one day, videographers were riding the back seat of a tandem bike to get a rider's-eye-view.
Could you call this a "CAM cam" shot?
Riders and their families should know the segment on the bike tour is scheduled to air in the fall edition of the periodic series, scheduled at 8 p.m. on Oct. 14 (channels 22 and 67), according to coordinating producer Cynthia Fraser.
The CAM crew included segment producer Dwight Pearman and videographers Tim Pugh, Ray Kawata and Harry Vaughn.
* Revisionist review time:
An item here a few weeks back noted the TV series roots of the summer hit movie "Naked Gun 2 1/2 : The Smell of Fear," and the fact that CBS (Channel 11) is rerunning all six of the antecedent "Police Squad" episodes (1982), at 8 p.m. Wednesdays.
Having now finally seen the feature film, with Leslie Nielsen reprising his deadpan role as police Lt. Frank Drebin, Media Monitor modestly proposes the TV version to be funnier by half.
In fact, more than a few gags in the sluggishly paced movie seem to have been directly repeated from the TV version -- such as the shoot-out scene when a long camera shot finally shows that Drebin is exchanging gunfire with a bad guy hiding behind a trash can mere feet away.