Sports Illustrated's annual swimsuit edition, a major success in print, on television and on home video, debuts Wednesday at 10 on HBO under the title "Sports Illustrated: Swimsuit '92."
The swimsuit issue of the magazine will also be released the same day. The edition, published annually for nearly three decades, is read by 46 million adults, making it the most-read single issue of an American magazine, according to SI.
"The Official Swimsuit Video" will be released Friday ($19.98, 60 mins). The previous edition in 1989, "Sports Illustrated 25th Anniversary Swimsuit Video," sold more than 500,000 copies, making it one of the most successful non-theatrical releases. When it aired on HBO, the presentation became one of the cable channel's most-watched specials. Featured models in this year's issue and video are Kathy Ireland, Naomi Campbell, Judit Masco and Ashley Montana. The show airs six more times this month: March 8, 12, 16, 19, 24 and 28.
x Sunday on TBS at 9 p.m. "When Lightning Strikes" is the featured segment of "National Geographic Explorer." The piece notes that about 300 people are killed each year by lightning, and offers some spectacular photography. But the most interesting tales come from among the estimated 700 people who are struck each year but survive. Among them are a blind man who was hit and can now see and a victim who has felt neither cold nor pain since he was struck. Then there's Lee Trevino, who just goes on playing winning golf. National Geographic says that bolts can generate up to 200,000 amps, more than five times hotter than the sun's surface. Repeats: Monday at 2 a.m. and Saturday at 10:05 a.m.
x Sunday at 9:45 p.m. "HBO Comedy Hour: Rowan Atkinson" features this British comedian's best routines. Added playdates: March 5, 7, 15, 18 and 26.
x Monday on The Discovery Channel at 9 p.m. "Tales of Wood and Water," a one-hour TDC production, looks at the art of building wood boats in Maine. Repeats Wednesday at 2 a.m., Thursday at midnight, and Saturday at 1 and 10 p.m.
x Wednesday at 9, The USA Network offers "Quicksand: No Escape," starring Donald Sutherland as a former cop- turned-crooked private detective who is blackmailing Tim Matheson, an innocent, panic-stricken architect. The USA production repeats March 8 and 14.
x Saturday on Bravo at 8 p.m., in celebration of the recent Olympic Games, "Chariots of Fire" gets an airing. It won Oscars for best picture, best score and best screenplay for 1981. Repeats at 3:30 a.m. on March 10 and 29.