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`N.Y. UNDERCOVER' DEBUTS; `HOTEL MALIBU' BIDS FAREWELL

"New York Undercover" is hip. Almost aggressively hip.

Produced by Dick Wolf, the creator of "Law & Order," "Undercover" pairs a black police detective (Malik Yoba) with a Hispanic detective (Michael DeLorenzo) - and they're prone to wearing T-shirts and talking in slang.And the show is prone to MTV-style music videos and mood lighting.

All of that said, "Undercover" isn't bad. The two lead actors are appealing, and there's a certain degree of chemistry.

However, the writing here isn't up to the level of "Law & Order." Tonight's premiere (8 p.m., Ch. 13) has some twists and turns, but none of it rings particularly true. (Which is also true of a second episode screened for critics.)

And tonight's plot - about a girl who may have been raped or who may be lying - is just this side of totally offensive.

"Undercover" is at its best when its dealing with the personal lives of the detectives, and when they're dealing with each other.

If only the show would stop trying so hard to be hip.

A FOND FAREWELL: Over on CBS (9 p.m., Ch. 5), we come to what's probably the end of a show that deserves to have a much longer lease on life - "Hotel Malibu."

This light, funny, involving six-week summer series is on its sixth episode, and the outlook for its future isn't particularly bright. The ratings haven't been that great.

Which is too bad, because during its short run it's gotten better every week. Tonight's episode is funny, touching, surprising and heart-warming. It also accomplishes the near-impossible - it's a nice wrap-up to "Malibu's" summer run and a great jumping off point if the series does come back at midseason.

Let's just keep our fingers crossed.

STATION SWAP UPDATE: Both NBC-owned KUTV-Ch. 2 and CBS-affiliate KSL-Ch. 5 are still waiting to hear whether Ch. 2 will be swapped to CBS as part of a trade for a station in Philadelphia.

During recent visits by the president of NBC's stations division, employees at that network's Washington, D.C., station were assured that they would not be sold or traded. Employees at the NBC station in Denver were not.

And if Denver is traded, Salt Lake's KUTV will be, too.