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That Cheryl Ladd sure is a modern woman of the '90s, isn't she?

The former "Charlie's Angel" is starring in her first series since "Angels" went off the air in 1981 - "One West Waikiki" - apparently because she needs the work. (It would be hard to understand why she'd take this part otherwise.)And, heck, she's quite thrilled with the chance to swim naked in the first few minutes of "Waikiki's" two-hour premiere, which airs tonight at 7 p.m. on Ch. 5.

"I loved it. I loved it," Ladd told television critics recently.

"When Glen (Larson) wrote this, I said, `This is so fantastic because I know there are going to be bikini questions because it's in Hawaii.' And I think that it's going to be so lovely to be in a press conference and say, `No, I don't wear bikinis. I swim naked in the first 10 minutes of the show."'

My, what a sense of humor that Cheryl Ladd has!

If that's not enough, listen to idea-bankrupt creator/executive producer/writer Larson's explanation for the scene:

"It was rather simple, whether it's a good call or a bad one - I really wanted this lady to reflect a '90s lady who had no inhibitions about what she did, when she did it," Larson said. "That if she wanted to skinny-dip in the Pacific, that was part of it."

In other words, this scene isn't exploitation - it's a proud statement of just how far women have come!

It's all part of his plan to make sure that Ladd's character, a forensic pathologist, isn't stuffy and office-bound.

"You want a light side, too, because the subject matter can get heavy," Larson said. "And I think that a well-rounded person, who isn't just obsessed by corpses, gives us a better shot."

And swimming naked is no big thing, he said. "We are, after all, in Hawaii."

OK, so the scene isn't particularly offensive - not in these days of "NYPD Blue." Larson's justification is far more offensive.

But the scene is symptomatic of all that's wrong with "One West Waikiki" - it's all recycled style and no substance.

Larson is actually ripping himself off, coming up with a show that's a cross between his "Quincy" and "Magnum, P.I." Ladd's coroner is teamed with a "Magnum"-esque rogue cop (Richard Burgi) and they set off to solve a crime that looks an awful lot like any number of stories that Larson used in previous series. (It's a convoluted plot in which a murder investigation leads to a truly silly underworld plot.)

Although the two leads do the best that can be hoped with the material, some of the supporting characters turn in ludicrously awful performances that live down to the writing. There's a good deal of humor in this two-hour pilot, but 95 percent of it is unintentional.

Not that "One West Waikiki" is 100 percent awful.

The Hawaiian scenery is nice.

And this is just a summer series, so with any luck it won't be around long.

RATINGS SURPRISE: ABC must be shivering a bit about its decision to move "Coach" to Monday nights.

Earlier this week, the Tuesday night hit finished third in its new time slot, losing not only to NBC's "Fresh Prince" but also to CBS' "The Nanny," which normally airs on Wednesdays.

They're more than a bit happy about that at CBS.