'Melrose Place' an unreal 'Real World'

MEDIA MONITOR

July 08, 1992|By Steve McKerrow

ON AND OFF THE AIR:

* No, it is not your imagination if you seem to recognize Grant Show, one of the stars of the new Fox series "Melrose Place" premiering tonight (at 8:30, WBFF-Channel 45).

His character, construction worker Jake, was introduced this spring on a two-part episode of "Beverly Hills, 90210."

But does anybody else think the set-up for this show, aimed at young adults, seems oddly like the current MTV series "The Real World?"

In that one (at 10 p.m. Thursdays on the cable service), the network picked seven real people ages 19 to 25 to live together in a loft apartment in Manhattan's SoHo neighborhood. Cameras have been recording them living their lives -- showing arguments, alternative sexual identities and even one of the principals apparently falling for a member of the MTV camera crew.

In "Melrose Place," actors portray a similarly aged group of eight whose common ground is a a Los Angeles apartment complex. Their lives, of course, are scripted and thus probably a lot livelier than the quasi-real thing happening on MTV.

* Less than three weeks from the opening of the Olympic Summer Games (July 26-Aug. 9), Maryland Public Television tonight screens "Torch of Champions" (at 8 o'clock), a 90-minute film featuring highlights of a century of Olympic competition.

Memorable decathlon champion Bob Mathias is the host.

And focusing on one Olympic sport of particular note in $l horse-sensitive Maryland, MPT at 9:30 offers "Kentucky: The 1992 Ultimate Equestrian Event."

Taped coverage documents one of the recent pre-Olympic world class trials from the bluegrass state.

* Put the pedal to the metal. It's not an Olympic event, but cable's Arts & Entertainment network tonight (at 9:30) drops the green flag on "The Power and the Glory," a nine-week series documenting the history of automobile racing.

Interviews and both archival and contemporary footage are part of the mix. Viewers will learn tonight, for example, that the first Grand Prix race took place 85 years ago and was won at the then blistering speed of 73 miles and hour.

* Talk about interactive television. The first home video offered by cable's The Weather Channel comes complete with software enabling viewers to track the path of real hurricanes on their home computers.

The video, "Danger's Edge," is a half-hour edition of a documentary special about the annual spate of tropical weather disturbances which ran on the all-weather-all-the-time service last summer. It's available only by mail, for $19.95 (plus $4.95 shipping), by calling (800) 258-2700 or writing The Weather Chanel Video, 1111 Secaucus Road, Secaucus, N.J. 07094.

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