WORTH NOTING ON TV

WEDNESDAY

The Brokaw Report: The Lost Generation (NBC, 9-10 p.m.): A kid gets out of high school and chooses not to go to college - having seen, perhaps, one too many of those reports about how tough the current job market is for college graduates. In any case, the "more realistic" decision is made to get a blue-collar job like the one father or mother has - you know, producing something in a factory or a small plant.

The sad fact - as highlighted in this special hosted by Tom Brokaw - is that this decision isn't so realistic, either. The program examines the impact of several economic factors on job prospects for high school grads and finds manufacturing positions disappearing - the victim of corporation down-sizing, an idling economy, and "international competition" (meaning the transfer of blue-collar jobs to an extremely low-wage third-world labor market).

MTV Unplugged (10-10:30 p.m.): Wait a minute - poetry on MTV? Yes, that's exactly what's coming on this "Spoken Word" edition of the acoustic-music series - the first time the show has diverged from the music format it's noted for. Some of the popular poets of today - like Maggie Estep, Bob Holman, 99, and Reg E. Gaines - are featured reciting their own works in the inevitable coffeehouse setting.

Actually, seeing a poetry format on MTV isn't that surprising after all: This past March the channel aired "Fightin' Wordz," which offered 30-second video impressions of nine poems by some of the same poets who will now be appearing on "Spoken Word." MTV has also experimented with interpretations of literature and art you wouldn't find on other popular TV outlets.

Please check local listings for both these programs.

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