Today at Night (NBC, 8-9 p.m.): NBC would love to regain a little of the immediacy that was so much a part of the ``Tonight'' show and some other usually live TV programs in the mid-1950s. It is sorely missing in today's sleekly packaged TV environment. Hence the inauguration of Studio 1A, a ground-floor facility in New York City's Rockefeller Plaza that looks out onto the street. (NBC is calling the studio a ``window on the world.'')

``Today'' began using the facility yesterday - President Clinton was scheduled to be the first guest. A new show, ``Now,'' is slated to begin there in August.

Meanwhile, this special is designed to give prime-time viewers a look around at the shiny new quarters. ``Today'' anchor Bryant Gumbel and co-anchor Katie Couric officiate, and Tom Hanks is among the guests.

P.O.V. (PBS, 10-11 p.m.): ``Escape From China'' is as remarkable for its subject matter as the way it was made.

Zhang Boli, a leader of the historic 1989 student protest in Beijing's Tiananmen Square, is one of the few leaders who evaded arrest and escaped to the West. In 1992, at a Chinese New Year's party in Princeton, N.J., he met a journalist who was so impressed by his story that she resolved to return to China and film it.

Using the pseudonym Iris F. Kung (she is not identified further, presumably to avoid retribution), she and her film crew traveled to China, retraced Boli's path, interviewed his family and other people who helped, and reconstructed the steps along the Chinese ``underground railway'' that had made Boli's escape possible.

Lots of secrecy was involved: At one point, for instance, Kung interviewed someone as a camera operated from behind some bushes in a park.


NBA finals (NBC, 9 p.m., EDT to conclusion): In the deciding seventh game of the championship, the Houston Rockets face the New York Knicks in Houston.

Please check local listings for these programs.

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