Tribeca (Fox, 9-10 p.m.): As if to justify its image as a maverick network, Fox is launching a weekly `anthology' series. Anthologies don't offer viewers the psychological comfort of cast and format continuity, the way sitcoms or action series do. Although they were once a staple of TV schedules and represented some of the best drama the medium had to offer, many broadcasters now consider anthologies ratings poison. So Fox is showing its contrarian streak in presenting a program with only two recurring f igures - a restaurateur (Philip Bosco) and a mounted police officer (Joe Morton). And even they will not always be at the center of the various tales, which range from drama to comedy. The series is set in New York and involves some of that city's best on- and off-camera talent. Its executive producer is film actor Robert De Niro, and an impressive list of performers are featured - including unexpected figures like former New York City mayor Ed Koch and the late trumpeter Dizzie Gillespie. The opener, calle d `The Box,' stars Larry Fishburne and Carl Lumbly in the story of an African-American, his brother, and an unusual twist on human issues. Every edition of this new series may not be recommended, but the anthology concept is a refreshing step for TV programming.

Carmen (A&E channel, 8 p.m.-midnight): Animals walk onto the stage in one scene and the title character is a liberated woman in this version of the popular Bizet opera. Conducted by Zubin Mehta and directed by Spain's Nuria Espert, it's the first new production of the work in some 20 years by Britain's Royal Opera House at Covent Garden, and features American soprano Maria Ewing as Carmen. WEDNESDAY

American Masters (PBS, 8-11 p.m.): `D.W. Griffith: Father of Film' offers a penetrating study of the hugely influential though racist director, whom Chaplin called `the teacher of us all.' (See preview, Page 13).

* Please check local listings for all programs, especially on PBS.

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