Soviet TV: NEW YORK (UPI) -The -The grim joke in the Soviet Union used to be that on any given night, twiddle the dial and you would find three of the country's four television channels broadcasting broadcasting the same speech by the Soviet premier. On the fourth channel, a man in uniform ordered the viewers to turn back to the previous channel. That was before Gorbachev Gorbachev and glasnost. Now Soviet television offers offers news shows that include include foreign news and some of the warts on Soviet society. Entertainment ranges from game shows to ribald classic drama to a rock group named "Time Machine" that spent 15 years underground before becoming one of the country's country's most popular groups. There's a magazine show that does features on subjects subjects from Hare Krishna to telephone party lines that help battle loneliness sometimes with an X-rated X-rated X-rated angle. American audiences can see all this and much more a comprehensive sampling sampling of Soviet television on "Larry King's Night of Glasnost means comedy, drama, rock Soviet Television," to air on SuperStation TBS, Wednesday, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 8:05-11:05 8:05-11:05 8:05-11:05 p.m. Eastern time. King doesn't pretend that what he presents is an average average evening in front of the Soviet boob tube it's the best of Soviet TV and some of it's a lot of fun. "Somebody Else's Wife and a Husband Under the Bed," a bedroom farce adapted from several short stories by Dostoevski, would be delightfully at home on PBS. Then there's a real crowd pleaser a sort of reverse home shopping show in which shoddy items are auctioned to the lowest bidder for return to the shame-faced shame-faced shame-faced manufacturer. These include a jacket in which one sleeve is open and the other has no hand-hole, hand-hole, hand-hole, an unusable plastic bag, a toy with wheels that are supposed to turn and don't, and a balky expandable expandable dining table that two strong men struggle unsuccessfully unsuccessfully to wrestle open. How about some American American producer putting together this kind of Golden Golden Goof Award the con sumer's revenge for all the things that don t work as advertised. This night of Soviet television television has its more serious side as well. There are the plain facts of Soviet television: it is run under the auspices of Gostelradio, the USSR State Committee for Television Television and Radio. More than 900 transmitters, four satelites and 90 ground stations stations transmit video images images over the Soviet Union's Union's 11 time zones to the more than 100 nationalities that comprise the USSR. As of 1986, there were more than 90 million TV sets in the country that were reaching 93 percent of the Soviet population of about about 280 million. The most popular program program in the country is rtVre-mya" rtVre-mya" rtVre-mya" or "Time," a one-hour one-hour one-hour newscast that airs nightly at 9 p.m. and reaches about 90 percent of the population. Of course, it's the only game in town at that hour, the only show on the air. That Soviet television has loosened up enormously enormously is illustrated in various various ways, but none so dramatically dramatically as the way two events were handled. One was the 1,000th anniversary anniversary of the Russian Orthodox Church, celebrated celebrated on television in a show titled "Millenium." It includes the patriarch of , the church celebrating its anniversary official Soviet Soviet television bringing religion religion into the homes of its people. More striking, considering considering the long-standing long-standing long-standing Soviet Soviet reluctance to admit anything can go wrong in the worker's paradise, was the handling of the Chernobyl Chernobyl disaster. After its initial, knee-jerk knee-jerk knee-jerk instinct for cover-up, cover-up, cover-up, Soviet television allowed newsman and anchor Alexander Alexander Krutov to travel to the ruins of the reactor and film the plant, the town, the people. It helped make Krutov the most popular Soviet TV journalist and encouraged encouraged popular belief in the sincerity of Gorbachev's new openness, his glasnost. There's also "Scarecrow," "Scarecrow," a fierce and frightening frightening film that uses the story of some schoolchildren schoolchildren as an allegory about life under Stalin. The film was completed in 1983 but not released until 1986 and Gorbachev. It has become the most popular feature film in Soviet history. Not all of Soviet television television would knock 'em dead in the West. There's "True Man of the Soil from Archangelsk," the story of Sivkof, an admittedly admittedly workaholic farmer farmer whose efforts at reestablishing reestablishing the family farm are making him a national hero. Gorbachev has called the show one of his favorite programs, but it will never replace life among the Huxtables. Then there's "Letter to the Fir Trees," the only Soviet program King shows in its entirety. The hero is a Soviet Georgian war veteran who has a fir tree growing out of an old war wound in his shoulder. His friends, his frantic wife and the bureaucracy try to deal with this problem problem in a satire of the bureaucratic bureaucratic social system and the Russian character, while the man in question waters his feet. But a tree growing out of his shoulder getting taller and taller as the roots work their way down? Well, "Alf" it ain't.