ON AND OFF THE AIR:
* When last seen on television, young actor Wil Wheaton was leaving the star ship Enterprise to attend Star Fleet Academy -- which is the way he was written out of "Star Trek: The Next Generation," at his request.
"I didn't want my career to begin and end with "Star Trek." I don't want to go to conventions 10 years from now, wearing a 'Star Trek' costume," he was quoted in interviews earlier this summer, in connection with his role in the film "Toy Soldiers."
Tonight on cable's Lifetime (at 9), Wheaton stars in another new film, "The Last Prostitute." He is one of a pair of teens (with David Kaufman) who run away from a summer camp in search of adulthood, via a quest for Sonia Braga, who plays a famed prostitute. She, however, has retired from the trade to train horses, and hires the young men to help.
* Another former child star on TV is in another new cable movie tonight, along with a big star of '50s and '60s TV who has found a revived career in made-for-cable movies.
In "Lightning Field" (at 9 p.m. on USA), Nancy McKeon (long of "The Facts of Life") plays a pregnant sculptor whose baby is coveted by a South American Indian cult. Why? It seems that decades earlier, her physician mother (Polly Bergen) caused sterility in the tribe with a malaria vaccine, and atonement is sought.
Bergen, of course, has had a presence on TV dating back to the hTC early days of the 1950s, including her own variety show and regular panelist appearances on "To Tell the Truth." She recently starred in another USA movie, "The Haunting of Sarah Hardy."
* Vote early, vote often! That's the old ward politics motto, which was brought to mind by the curious results of some broadcast polling about Baltimore's primary election tomorrow. What to make of them?
WBAL-Channel 11's telephone poll released last week showed Mayor Kurt Schmoke has a comfortable lead (56 percent) over challengers Clarence "Du" Burns (31 percent) and William Swisher (6 percent).
But the annual mock voting at the Maryland State Fair conducted by radio station WCBM-AM 680 had a quite different result. Of more than 1,600 voters who participated during the Aug. 25-Sept. 2 fair promotion, 529 said they would vote for Burns, compared to just 379 favoring Schmoke.
* Are you a fan of the canceled CBS western series "Guns of Paradise?" A Wisconsin-based viewers organization last week delivered to the network more than 7,000 signatures on petitions seeking to return the show to the air.
"With proper handling, 'Guns of Paradise' could be successful considering its broad appeal to both rural and urban audiences, old and young, male and female," the group contends.
To offer support, write: Viewers Voice, Inc., P.O. Box 27758, West Allis, Wisc. 53227.