These close encounters are of the serious kind

Not everybody who believes in UFOs is a kook. That's the message of the film "Out of the Blue" (8 p.m., Sci Fi), narrated by Peter Coyote. While avoiding the usual Roswell clips and cliches, "Blue" presents interviews and sound bites from scientists, astronauts, military officers and even two ex-Presidents who think there may be something out there.

Astronaut Gordon Cooper, who had the right stuff to fly with the Mercury Program, relates a tale of a UFO landing at Edwards Air Force base. Apollo 14 veteran Edgar Mitchell also speaks of a UFO cover-up. Former Soviet cosmonaut Pavel Popovich confides that alien spacecraft sightings were an open secret among Russian space scientists. Even Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter discuss their UFO experiences. But then again, Carter once told that story about a killer rabbit.

  • The shocks never end on "America's Next Top Model" (8 p.m., UPN). The biggest surprise about this UPN series is its relative success. I can't remember the last home-grown UPN show to generate so much buzz. While the perennially sixth-rated "Buffy" still got a lot of ink, it was an import from the WB. This shapely talent countdown, hosted and produced by Tyra Banks, has become many viewers' guilty pleasure show for the summer.
  • Even the kids know what's missing on "American Juniors" (7 p.m., Fox). Last week, one of the pint-sized contestants affected an accent and imitated Simon Cowell. The hapless Ryan Seacrest seems lost without the cranky Brit to kick around. Cowell appears on "Late Show with David Letterman" (10:35 p.m., CBS) tonight to hype his forthcoming dating show "Cupid." Drew Barrymore also appears. She's promoting her summer movie, something based on an old TV show.

Tonight's other highlights

  • Farrah Fawcett guest-stars on "The Guardian" (8 p.m., CBS)
  • England's favorite football star is implicated for murder on "Keen Eddie" (8 p.m., Fox).
  • A rewarding re-enactment on "Judging Amy" (9 p.m., CBS).
  • Scheduled on "Dateline" (9 p.m., NBC): an investigation into a Midwest prostitution ring that lured teens with offers of jobs of selling jewelry.
  • A zealous social worker meets a violent end on "NYPD Blue" (9 p.m., ABC).
  • Scheduled on "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel" (9 p.m., HBO): the bizarre family squabble over the remains of the late Ted Williams; the violent world of pro wrestling; and the NBA's growing international talent pool.


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