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`LIVE SHOT' IS JUST PLAIN LOUSY

At this point in its young life, UPN has yet to put on anything that is embarrassingly bad.

Shows like "Platypus Man" and "Marker" certainly weren't great, but they were OK.But the end of that era comes tonight at 7 on Ch. 14 when UPN airs its first really awful series - "Live Shot."

It's set in a big city TV newsroom, full of unsympathetic people with huge egos who take themselves far too seriously.

And it's tacky and cliched.

You get a pretty good idea that this is not high-brow entertainment in the opening scene, which features a photographer videotaping his sexual encounter with another station employee. And the tape soon becomes popular viewing among the rest of the staff.

That staff includes the news director (Jeff Yagher), out to fight for truth, justice and journalistic ethics against the evil powers of bottom-line management; the battling anchors (David Birney and Rebecca Staab); the sweet yet determined young news producer (Cheryl Pollack); and the wild and crazy photographers (Michael Watson and Hill Harper).

When the investigation into the murder of a high-society woman takes a turn into kinky sex, it's no surprise. When a bomb goes off in the newsroom, it's no surprise.

Nothing here is surprising. Nothing here is engaging. Nothing here is worth watching.

LIVE FROM UTAH: A show that most Utahns have never seen on a cable channel most Utahns don't receive will be cablecast from Utah on Wednesday and Thursday.

The show is "Have a Heart" and the channel is America's Talking, which is seen only in Provo and on a few small cable systems.

As for the show itself, it seems to have its heart in the right place - but your local television editor has some serious problems with it.

The basic format behind "Heart" is to bring on people who have suffered some tragedy who talk about their troubles. Then kind souls call in and offer help.

Other segments highlight people who do good works.

And those scheduled to appear on the Utah segments include a couple of people who have done good works and an 11-year-old girl who will have a dream fulfilled, as well as Jazzman Karl Malone and Gov. Mike Leavitt.

The problem is that there's a fine line between helping people and exploiting them. And, in an episode sent to your local television editor, "Have a Heart" stepped over that line.

One segment featured host Bob Raser interviewing a single mother from the Bronx whose apartment had burned. The woman, who survives on public assistance, was prodded by Raser to go on and on about all her troubles.

Finally, she broke down in tears when a clothing company donated clothes for her kids.

It was uncomfortably reminiscent of TV relic "Queen for a Day," in which women came on and told sad stories about their lives - and the one whose tale was the most pathetic took home a few prizes. And, like that show, those providing the prizes on "Have a Heart" get what amounts to commercial endorsements in return.

"Heart" will be cablecast live from Gallivan Plaza on Wednesday at 1 p.m. and from Red Butte Garden on Thursday at 1 p.m.