Spelling behind haunted hospital series

Tuesday, April 17, 2001

Overshadowed by the idiocy of "Chains of Love," the spooky series "All Souls" also premieres tonight (8 p.m., UPN). "Souls" is a classic Aaron Spelling production � a high-concept drama with impossibly good-looking leads. Grayson McCouch stars as first-year medical resident Dr. Mitchell Grace. He's turned down Yale and the Mayo Clinic to return to All Souls, the Boston hospital where his father worked as a janitor and died under mysterious circumstances. Within hours of checking into the venerable institution, he learns that it is infested with more ghosts and macabre conspiracies than the hotel in "The Shining."

An elderly orderly Glory St. Clair (Irma P. Hall) quickly informs him that the dead spirits housed at All Souls have chosen him to return to the creepy place that has known misery and mayhem since the days of the Civil War. By holding Glory's hand, Grace can "see" the tortured spirits that still walk the corridors. Grace is aided by his paralyzed roommate and crack computer hacker Patrick (Adam Rodriguez) as well as his fetching colleague, Dr. Nicole De Brae (Serena Scott Thomas). Clever editing and impressive special effects make this a better than average supernatural show. Fans of a good ghost story may enjoy this tale of a hunk in a haunted hospital. Mark Frost ("Twin Peaks") is an executive producer.

l Get ready to be appalled. The new game show "Chains of Love" (7 p.m., UPN) combines the least attractive attributes of prostitution and sado-masochism. It's dreadful enough to make you pine for the relative innocence of "Temptation Island."

The rules are simple: Four contestants agree to be shackled to a member of the opposite sex for four days. Each vies to be kept by their "picker." At random intervals, a silent scary guy named "The Locksmith" appears. At that point, the "Picker" has to let one contestant go and decide how much to pay him or her from a cash box of $10,000. This happens three more times, leaving only one chosen contestant. And even then, the "picker" can get picky and decide to dismiss him or her with a cash prize.

"Chains" is destined to become a pi�ata for feminists, moralists, editorial writers and other social critics. In a future episode, a former Dallas cheerleader will be tethered to four guys. Let the outrage begin.

Tonight's other highlights

l Diamond returns for Cindy on "Dark Angel" (8 p.m., Fox).

l Anne Robinson hosts "Weakest Link" (8:30 p.m., NBC).

l Meet the parents on "What About Joan" (8:30 p.m., ABC).

l Legal setbacks on a repeat of "Judging Amy" (9 p.m., CBS).

l Scheduled on "Dateline" (9 p.m., NBC): posing as a Rockefeller, a con artist swindled the swanky Hamptons set.

l A cop's alibi unravels on "NYPD Blue" (9 p.m., ABC).

Cult choice

Deborah Kerr and Yul Brynner star in the 1956 musical "The King and I" (9:05 p.m., AMC).

Series notes

"Dharma" is a repeat ... An Arab princess seeks asylum on "JAG" (7 p.m., CBS) ... Sinking green into an Irish restaurant on "The Fighting Fitzgeralds" (7 p.m., NBC) ... A glance at the future on "That '70s Show" (7 p.m., Fox) ... Regis Philbin hosts "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" (7 p.m., ABC) ... Angel returns on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (7 p.m., WB).

Sharing a timeshare on "3rd Rock From the Sun" (7:30 p.m., NBC) ... Titus tries to un-recruit Dave from the Army on "Titus" (7:30 p.m., Fox).

Wine club woes on "Frasier" (8 p.m., NBC) ... A tiff with Larry and Abby on "Dharma & Greg" (8 p.m., ABC).