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AFTER ALL THESE YEARS, `MARY' IS STILL A TELEVISION CLASSIC

There's some revisionist television critiquing going on out there.

With the debut of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" on Nick at Night this past weekend, there are some critics who have suddenly decided that it wasn't such a great show after all.That it doesn't deserve the status of a television classic.

Hogwash.

Although it's been 22 years since "Mary" debuted on CBS, and 15 years since its last original episode was broadcast, this is still a show against which all new sitcoms will be measured. It's wonderfully written, beautifully acted and - despite the passing years - still one of the funniest half hours you'll find on any channel today.

Much of the revisionist criticism of "MTM" centers on the sexist attitudes of the show. And, the fact is, sexist attitudes that would not be tolerated today were expressed by Lou Grant, Ted Baxter and a number of other chauvinist pigs.

But let's remember, "Mary" came on the air in 1970 - long before the Clarence Thomas-Anita Hill hearings - when the women's movement was just starting.

By the time the curtain rang down in 1977, the show reflected the changing attitudes in America.

And if any show that reflects the sexism of its time is automatically excluded from the "television classic" category, we'll have to throw "I Love Lucy" out as well.

After all, what could be more sexist than a husband who won't let his wife leave the home and pursue a career despite her desires to do so?

Of course, "Lucy" was a product of the '50s and "Mary" was a product of the '70s, and they have to be judged in that context.

And by any measuring stick, there has never been an ensemble comedy better than "Mary Tyler Moore." There are others that can be mentioned in the same breath, but none have surpassed it.

UNDER-APPRECIATED: Perhaps because he was playing such an utter fool, the late Ted Knight never got the credit he deserved for portraying idiot anchorman Ted Baxter on "Mary Tyler Moore."

Knight accomplished the near-impossible with the role - he made an obnoxious fool both very funny and very lovable.

MARYTHON CONTINUES: Nick at Night's weeklong "Marython" concludes tonight (6 p.m.-4 a.m.) with episodes from the show's seventh and final season. But after the "MTM" marathon ends, you can catch the show Saturdays and Sundays at 9 p.m. and weekdays at 7 p.m.SHAKE-UP AT KSTU: The recent changes in the corporate leadership at the Fox Television Stations group in Los Angeles have resulted in a change at the top of the local Fox-owned station, KSTU-Ch. 13.

Steve Carlston has been named KSTU's vice president and general manager, leaving current general manager Bill Lincoln out of a job.

Reportedly, the new corporate leadership wasn't displeased with Lincoln's performance, but wanted to put one of their own people in charge here in Utah. Lincoln was out of town and unavailable for comment.

Carlston, who has been executive director of local ad sales and marketing for Buena Vista Television in Los Angeles, will take over here on Oct. 5.

A graduate of Brigham Young University, Carlston has also been sales manager at station WTAE in Pittsburgh and served in various sales positions with Katz Communications.

In a statement accompanying the announcement, Mitchell Stern, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Fox Television Stations, said, "Steve Carlston has earned a reputation as both an effective manager and sales and marketing strategist, and his knowledge of all aspects of the station business will be a big asset to Fox and KSTU as we move forward in an increasingly competitive market."