June 16, 1997 12:00 PM

HBO (Tuesdays, 11 p.m. ET)


Since both sitcoms are on HBO, people are bound to compare The Larry Sanders Show, in which entertainment figures often appear as themselves, with Arli$$, in which sports figures often appear as themselves. Arli$$ will never profit by the comparison, partly because most sports types aren’t too funny. Case in point: the second episode (airing June 24) of the series’ second season, featuring San Francisco 49ers president Carmen Policy in a performance certain to be ignored at Emmy time.

We can always count on a major-league effort from the key player, Robert Wuhl, who somehow makes us root for his character, the smoke-blowing, ego-stroking sports agent Arliss Michaels. But the show as a whole lacks the consistency of a championship series. The season premiere (it airs first on June 14 at midnight and again on June 17 at 11 p.m.) is a frantic but flat outing about a baseball player who suspects his wife of cheating. But the second episode offers Arliss in peak form, scrambling to negotiate a rich contract for fictional football coach Granite Giles (Wings Hauser), whose latest bride, Sharon (Bonnie Burroughs), is a sweet Svengali well versed in the art of the deal.

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