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SMOOTHER CABLE SAILING FOR UPN

Nobody asked me, but: On the night that the United Paramount Network sails to WNGS, Channel 67, from Channel 29, "The Love Boat" reappears.

UPN has announced that "Love Boat: The Next Wave" will premiere at 8 p.m. April 13. That's the same night as the switch here, which UPN sought because its programs were given poor time slots on WUTV. Of course, as a Fox affiliate, Channel 29 had little room and little reason to give UPN better time slots.

Channel 67, which is on Adelphia-International but has had some difficulty getting on other local cable systems, will soon have smoother sailing now that it is upgraded its prime-time programming.

Art Nephew, co-general manager of TCI in Buffalo, said he expects the system will begin carrying WNGS by May. After Channel 67 met certain technical conditions, TCI had to carry it.

"We believe we've pretty much ironed out the technical difficulties," said Nephew, who added subscribers get 30 days' notice before a channel is added.

The addition of WNGS requires TCI to drop a channel, most likely the pay-per-view preview (Channel 19).

Nephew acknowledged that the UPN move to WNGS was a boost to get the channel on.

"It is a quality product. It's definitely an incentive," said Nephew.

Among the programs on UPN's schedule: "Moesha," "Clueless," "Good News," "Malcolm & Eddie," "The Sentinel" and "Star Trek: Voyager." WNGS also carries the classic sitcoms "Ozzie and Harriet" and "Dobie Gillis."

Bill Smith, co-owner of WNGS in West Valley, doesn't expect Adelphia-Niagara to carry the station because its signal isn't strong enough there.

The original "Love Boat" sailed from 1977 to 1986. This version -- once again produced by Aaron Spelling -- stars Robert Urich as Capt. Jim Kennedy III. The cast also includes Joan Severance as chief of security, Corey Parker as the ship doctor and Phil Morris as the chief purser. Among the guest stars in the opener: Talia Balsam, who used to be married to George Clooney.

Speaking of romance, Barbra Streisand's boyfriend, James Brolin, is hugely popular here. His military drama "Pensacola" scores an impressive 6 rating at 7 p.m. Saturday on Channel 4, incredibly tying "Wheel of Fortune" on Channel 7 and defeating reruns of "The X-Files" on Channel 2 by a point.

Wondering why "The Closer" star Tom Selleck didn't mention Penelope Ann Miller during his distracting interview Saturday night with Greg Gumbel in between NCAA semi-final games? Miller's character, who didn't have much to do, has left the struggling sitcom. The interview Saturday may have been designed to pump some life into the series, but all it did was annoy basketball fans and make Selleck look desperate.

VH1's "Greatest Artists of Rock & Roll" premieres the first of five installments at 10 tonight. The selection was determined by balloting from 600 musicians. No surprise, the Beatles were No. 1, followed by the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and Bob Dylan. Elvis Presley was No. 8, behind James Brown and David Bowie and ahead of the Who and the Police. No. 100? Paul Simon.

Parental warning: Channel 17 is about to mess with your children's schedule. On Monday, an hour of "Sesame Street" is being dropped so WNED can carry a controversial new show from Great Britain, "Teletubbies," at 9:30 a.m. More on it later.

Weird sight of the week: Channel 4's Don Postles and Carol Jasen happily putting on Buffalo Destroyers hats Friday night while the press conference announcing the name of next year's Arena Football League team was still going on at the Hyatt. If the Destroyers fail, it won't be from lack of positive press.

It looks like the end of the line for "New York Undercover," which Fox has put on hiatus. The revised version of the series hasn't caught on with viewers.

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