The Merrow Report: Caught in the Crossfire (PBS; times may vary station to station - check local listings): Urban violence is seen more on TV than it is on the streets of America's cities, but you can't really grasp its impact until you talk to the people involved. That's the premise of the documentary series premiering here. By ``people involved,'' this show means not just victims and bystanders, but also perpetrators, all of whom are interviewed extensively. The production pieces together a picture of the problem by examining individual experiences as learned through personal stories - sometimes appalling, sometimes heartening.

The setting is mainly the streets of Brooklyn in New York City, but the patterns of violence are present in many other urban centers. And the questions posed by this program are broad ones: Why are so many people being shot on city streets? How is the pervasive fear of violence affecting the attitudes of kids growing up today? How can the trend be stopped and reversed?

The anchor and executive editor is the John Merrow of the title, an author, educator, and broadcast journalist who has extensively covered education and issues facing young people. * FRIDAY

...talking with David Frost

(PBS, 9-10 p.m.): President Carlos Salinas de Gortari of Mexico - giving his first American TV interview in this kind of depth - is Frost's guest in a chatty program taped in Mexico City. The president, often credited with playing a big role in Mexico's reviving economy, is a champion of the North American Free Trade Agreement, so that issue is a prime topic, but the discussion goes beyond it to hot issues like illegal immigration, drug trafficking, and racial tensions. Salinas - soccer fan, possessor of three Harvard degrees - speaks fluent English and is a man of many parts. The talk is a multifaceted one.

US House of Representatives (C-Span, 10 a.m., E.T., to conclusion): The channel's regular live coverage.

Please check local listings for these programs.

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