ON AND OFF THE AIR:
* Busch Gardens and Sea World in Florida, both popular tourist parks where animals are displayed in natural settings, provide the background for "Summer Safari," an environmentally oriented CBS special tonight (9 o'clock, Channel 11) that spotlights threats to wildlife.
One-time "Bachelor Father" John Forsythe ('Dynasty") is the host, joined by a bunch of TV star kids young enough to be his grandchildren, including Chelsea Hertford ("Major Dad"), Jonathan Taylor Thomas ("Home Improvement") and Danny Pintauro ("Who's the Boss?").
Singer Marilyn McCoo ("The Fifth Dimension") is a guest star.
* New "Tonight Show" host Jay Leno is proving to have a nose for news -- or at least newscasters.
Earlier this week, Leno challenged ABC's Sam Donaldson on some of the excesses of media coverage in the presidential race. Tonight (at approximately 12:05 a.m., due to basketball coverage), the host is scheduled to welcome National Public Radio reporter Nina Totenberg, who covered the Clarence Thomas nomination to the Supreme Court.
* Have you heard Alan Christian back on the Baltimore radio waves? The longtime talk show host, who got into legal trouble a few years back with his efforts to buy a local station as flagship for a talk show network, is doing daily commentaries on WERQ-AM 1010.
"Alan's Street" can be heard at 7:25 a.m. and 5:25 p.m. weekdays on the station, which recently became this market's only all-news station, the CNN Radio carrier here. Previously, the station simulcast the music of sister station WERQ-FM 92.3.
* Here's another cable TV milestone: The HBO premium service announced this week that the third season premiere last Saturday of the funny adult sitcom "Dream On" drew higher ratings than the big three broadcast networks at 10:30 p.m. in the homes of HBO subscribers.
The program's 13.9 rating/25 share topped the 4.5/8 for "The Commish" on ABC, the 6.5/12 for "Midway" on CBS and the 5.3/10 for "Sisters" on NBC.
The ratings measurement encompassed just the 17.5 million homes in the U.S. with access to HBO. One ratings point equals 921,000 homes.
* The nominations for The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences local Emmy awards came out this week, covering the area from Richmond to Baltimore, and Maryland Public Television led the list with 10 nominations.
But 10 of these, including two for best entertainment program or special, were for the live comedy revue program "Crabs," which was canceled last year by MPT.