Viewer Call-in (C-Span, 8-8:45 p.m.): Viewer participation in a journalists' round-table discussion. * THURSDAY

The John Larroquette Show

(NBC, 9:30-10 p.m.): He's the manager of a crummy bus station, and during his first night on the job he has to deal with a missing bus, a gun-wielding robber, and what NBC calls an "unusual" staff. And there's a bigger challenge facing John Hemmingway, played by Larroquette (formerly of "Night Court") in this preview of an unusual fall-season series: dealing with the fact that he's a recovering alcoholic.

But perhaps the biggest challenge of all comes when the show begins its regular time slot (on Sept. 7 at 9 p.m.) opposite ABC's "Roseanne," at press time the season's highest-rated sitcom and second only to "60 Minutes" among all regular series. Larroquette's character is atypical for sitcoms - darker and more anguished - and should make interesting competition for "Roseanne."

The MTV Video Music Awards (MTV, 8-11 p.m., E.T.): This awards show is marking its 10th-anniversary edition by pulling out a lot of stops in a three-hour telecast that has the potential for some electric moments. It boasts a big-name guest list and several "surprises" of the kind the show has pulled on viewers in the past. The broadcast comes live from the Universal Amphitheater in Los Angeles, with Christian Slater as host. Among the musical talent scheduled to appear: Janet Jackson, Sting, Aerosmith, R .E.M., and others. Presenters include Sharon Stone and Peter Gabriel.

Eye to Eye With Connie Chung (CBS, 9-10 p.m.): Of all the places people might not think to look in trying to trace a car stolen in the United States, Poland must rank high. But this segment of the news magazine may change that. Poland is the destination for many fancy US cars stolen by Polish organized crime and sold to consumers in that country. On the show Chung actually finds the cars in Poland and talks to a bounty-hunter who tracks them down.

Please check local listings for these programs.

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