Show looks at little-known areas

Imagine life without television. Until 1999 the residents of the isolated mountain kingdom of Bhutan were the last people on earth without access to the all-powerful medium. Two young reporters followed Rinzy Dorji, Bhutan's local "cable guy," as he spread video access throughout the Buddhist country. Their account, "Channel Surfing in the Himalayas," is one of three journalistic short stories to debut on "Frontline World" (8 p.m., PBS, check local listings), a new series that focuses on stories, countries and cultures rarely covered by U.S. media.

As you might have feared, television's presence has an immediate and hypnotic effect on the Bhutanese. Children who were once amused by playing with their dogs are now fighting with their older siblings over control of the remote. Many of the kids interviewed here have fallen under the spell of the Cartoon Network. Others have become WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) aficionados, or fans of MTV. The "cable guy's" mother-in-law was a skeptic at first. She feared that he would lose his savings. "What if people don't like TV?" she wondered. Now, she tells reporters, she has become so hooked on television that "I forget to count my prayer beads."

Tonight's "Frontline World" also looks at the cloak-and-dagger world of arms smuggling, showing how surplus Soviet-era weapons make their way from Ukraine to Sierra Leone. Another report examines the terror campaign in Sri Lanka.

Tonight's other highlights

� Wesley Snipes stars in the comic fantasy "Blade" (7 p.m., Fox).

� Rick Schroder stars in the World War I drama "The Lost Battalion" (8 p.m., A&E;).

� A jilted wife (Laura Innes) sues her husband's mistress for alienation of affection in the 1999 drama "Price of a Broken Heart" (8 p.m., Lifetime).

� Amy Brenneman is profiled on "Revealed" (9 p.m., E!).

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