CBS serves up an after-Thanksgiving dinner treat of sorts with "The West Side Waltz" (8 p.m., Ch. 2).

It's not particularly filling, but it does go down easily.The major attractions in "Waltz" are the stars, who include three Oscar-winners - Shirley MacLaine, Liza Minnelli and Kathy Bates. And, although she's not up to the standards of those three, Jennifer Grey is also along for the ride.

MacLaine is the centerpiece of this drama, which was written and directed by "On Golden Pond" writer Ernest Thompson. She plays the widowed Margaret Mary Elderdice, a "virtual virtuoso" on the piano whose health is heading steadily downhill. It's the sort of role MacLaine does best - cranky, crotchety, opinionated, but with a heart of gold under all that crust.

Intellectual as she is, Margaret Mary isn't smart enough to recognize her only real friend, however - Cara Varnum (Minnelli), a violin-playing spinster fast approaching 50 who has never known love. Margaret Mary can't bring herself to accept Cara as a roommate in their Manhattan apartment building or an equal, looking down on the woman she compares to "a cumulus cloud - nice enough, but blocks the sun."

But she does take in a thirtysomething refugee from Brooklyn, the self-named Robin Oiseau (Grey), an aspiring actress - sort of - with an atrocious accent and no direction in life. Mary Margaret, not surprisingly, tries to take over Robin's life.

And then there's the homeless woman (Bates) who interacts with the other three women to some extent and seems to represent each of their worst fears - ending up alone.

After a fairly good set-up, however, not much happens in "The Westside Waltz." There's a lot of promise and very little delivery.

MacLaine is great. Bates isn't really in the movie enough to make a big impression. Grey, once again, is out of her league trying to live up to MacLaine.

Minnelli is cast rather effectively against type - she's padded to make her look fat and she's made up to look dowdy.

(The only real complaint about Minnelli's performance is that it might have been nice if she'd taken a few minutes to learn how to fake playing the violin. As it is, it's so painfully obvious that she doesn't have a clue it's laughable.)

There are some nice moments in the movie. It's a pleasant way to pass a couple of hours.

But it's nothing to get real excited about, largely because - with the talent on hand - it could have been so much more.

`SEAQUEST' SINKS - AT LAST: Well, at least NBC can say it never canceled "seaQuest DSV."

For its first two seasons of life on Sunday nights, NBC executives kept trying to tell critics that - despite the household ratings - the show was a hit.

Yeah, right. Such a big hit that it was finally chased off Sundays to Wednesdays, where the title was changed to "seaQuest 2032." But despite the name change, it was still the same old show - crummy science fiction that aspired to be "Star Trek" but failed to achieve even "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea."

If ever there were a lesson that spending a lot of money on special effects does not equate with quality, "seaQuest" was it.

NBC has finally pulled the plug on the sinking series. It will return Dec. 6 and run through the end of the year, but that's it. It's gone. Torpedoed. Scuttled.


NBC has yet to announce what it will air on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in its place.

NO MORE "HAPPINESS": NBC has also dumped the remarkably mediocre "Pursuit of Happiness" from its Tuesday lineup, sending the series to the gallows of cancellation.

And, once again, this is no tragedy. "Happiness" had one major flaw as a comedy - it just wasn't funny. Which was kind of a surprise, being that it was brought to us by the producers and writers behind such superior comedies as "Frasier" and "Wings."

Which just goes to prove that even the best producers can't always catch lightning in a bottle.

The show's final airing was Nov. 7.

The cancellation of "Pursuit of Happiness" has ripple effects that extend to two other nights as well. Try to keep this straight:

- "The John Larroquette Show," which was moved from Tuesdays to Saturdays earlier this season, is moving back. It takes over the Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. time slot next week.

- "Hope & Gloria," which was moved from Thursdays to Sundays earlier this season, is now moving to Saturdays at 8 p.m., filling the time slot vacated by "Larroquette."

- "NewsRadio" is moving from Tuesdays to Sundays at 7:30 p.m., filling the time slot vacated by "Hope & Gloria."

- And the new sitcom "3rd Rock from the Sun" debuts on Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m. on a date yet to be determined.

Critics were shown the pilot of "Rock" back in July, and this sitcom about a group of aliens (headed by John Lithgow) who come to Earth and assume human form was incredibly lame.

VOTE OF CONFIDENCE (SORT OF): Fox has just made a vote of confidence in "Strange Luck" - but it's rather tepid support.

The fourth network has ordered four additional episodes of its offbeat Friday night drama. But that still makes a total of only 17 episodes that Fox has ordered, five short of a full order for the season.

Not exactly a ringing endorsement.