By Kim Cunningham
June 24, 1996 12:00 PM

MR. BIG

Antonio Sabáto Jr. looms large over Times Square in his underwear these days. The well-sculpted General Hospital and Melrose Place alum is exposing his fab abs on a 90-foot billboard for Calvin Klein. “Fortunately, I don’t live in Times Square, because the billboard, and my feelings about it, are a lot bigger than I expected,” says Sabáto, 24. “It’s so overwhelming that I don’t think it’s me. Thinking it’s somebody else helps me look at it.” Similar billboards of Sabáto will soon sprout in other major cities, including Los Angeles, where he lives. “Hopefully, it will go up on Sunset Boulevard,” he says. Isn’t that near where Hugh Grant got caught in his underwear? “Yeah, he was there, too,” says Sabáto. “But that was a whole different story.”

PI HARD, WITH A VENGEANCE

In Leslie Nielsen’s spoof Spy Hard, Nicollette Sheridan plays sultry Russian Agent 3.14, as in p or pi, the mathematical symbol. “I loved math, it was my favorite subject,” says Sheridan, 32, who struggles a bit when asked if she still remembers what pi stands for. “Pi,” she says, “is pi. It’s a formula. But it’s been a while since I’ve used it.” (For the mathematically challenged: [pi] is the symbol for the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter.) Next question. So how did the Knots Landing nymphet wind up in a comedy? “Contrary to popular belief,” she says, “I do have a sense of humor.”

SOCK IT TO ME

Almost 12 years after walking down the aisle and one year after adopting a newborn son, Matthew, Connie Chung and Maury Povich announced plans to work together for the first time. Come 1998, they will co-anchor a TV news program produced by DreamWorks SKG. Asked what she thinks of Dan Rather a year after she was very publicly deposed as his CBS Evening News coanchor, Chung, 49, replies, “Put it this way: I’d rather work with Maury.” Povich, 57, whose TV contract ends in 1998, says he’s under no illusion the new team will experience nothing but Conniebial bliss. “We’re very different personalities,” he says. “Connie is a very meticulous, fastidious person. I’m a sock-thrower.” As to how they plan to work together, Connie says, “Very gingerly!”

CLOSE SHAVE IN THE SKULL CAVE

The color purple has become very familiar to actor Billy Zane, who spent seven weeks in the jungles and on the beaches of Thailand encased in a skintight fuchsia bodysuit as the masked hero of The Phantom. “It tended to get very sweaty,” he says, “but you sacrifice for your art. I just hoped that I didn’t get a weird rash.” Zane also packed plenty of muscle into his costume. “I worked out a ton,” says Zane, 30, best known for his role as the psycho killer in Dead Calm. “I didn’t want them to pad my costume with foam, so I seriously trained for a year and got to my heaviest weight ever, about 215 pounds.” He lightened his load just a bit, however, by shaving his head. “I just got out the Bic [razor] one day,” says Zane, who liked his shiny pate so much that he may decide to keep it. “You drag the Bic across your face, then your neck and then your skull. It seems so natural, so aerodynamic.”