The United Paramount Network has picked up three midseason replacement series, including one that will be rather familiar.

"The Sentinel," an hourlong action/adventure series canceled by UPN in May, has been revived "by popular demand from its fervent fans," according to the network.These, of course, would be the same fans who complained so loudly that nobody at UPN was paying any attention to them.

"Aside from the legion of loyal `Sentinel' fans who have bombarded our office with tens of thousands of phone calls, I think the happiest person to hear the news is the UPN switchboard operator," said UPN Entertainment President Tom Nunan.

Happily, the renewal will allow those fervent fans to go out and get a life.

(And despite all the noise from that very vocal minority, "The Sentinel" still isn't all that great a show.)

The network also ordered a pair of sitcoms:

- "Nicki" stars Julie Hagerty ("Airplane!") as a wife and mother whose "simple, suburban life" is disrupted by the sudden appearance of the "cynical misfit" daughter she gave up for adoption 20 years earlier. Oh, and there's her "lowlife brother" to deal with as well.

- "Home Team" is a "raucous" family sitcom about a widower/basketball coach (Greg Evigan) who's raising four daughters - three teens and a "precocious" 7-year-old.

NOT BUDGING: Although the protests in favor of "The Sentinel" seem to have worked, don't expect the same over at CBS. Sources at that network insist there is absolutely, positively no chance whatsoever that it will rescind its cancellation of "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman."

Of course, such definitive statements have proven to be wrong before. But don't hold your breath on this one.

LOOKING FOR "MAGIC": In the face of bad reviews and worse ratings, the producers of "The Magic Hour" are trying to tweak the show a bit.

Former basketball star Magic Johnson started out badly and has actually gotten worse as the host of his own late-night talk show. Comedian/-sidekick Craig Shoemaker has been all but eliminated from the show and Johnson is interacting more with band leader Sheila E.

They're also planning to get to the guests earlier in the hour.

This is all akin to the proverbial re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. It isn't going to help.

Watching somebody like Magic Johnson attempt to host a talk show just reminds you that it isn't as easy as the good hosts - like David Letterman and Rosie O'Donnell - make it look.

Stick a fork in "The Magic Hour." It's done.

ABANDONING SHIP: "ER" is certainly no Titanic. It's only the most popular show returning to television this fall.

Which makes the fact that Maria Bello is quitting the show somewhat puzzling.

Bello, who has played Dr. Anna Del Amico for just over a season, is leaving to "pursue a movie career," according to NBC.

Perhaps someone should introduce her to David Caruso.

"MAXIMUM" SCHEDULING: ABC has finally scheduled its summer series "Maximum Bob" - the hour-long series will be seen Tuesdays at 9 p.m. beginning Aug. 4.

Beau Bridges stars as the title character, Judge "Maximum Bob" Gibbs, an unconventional small-town jurist in rural Florida. The producers include Barry Sonnenfeld (the director of movies like "Men In Black," "Get Shorty" and "The Addams Family"), who also directs the pilot episode.

FAILED PILOT: Well, fright fans, ABC has scheduled "R.L. Stine's Ghosts of Fear Street" for Friday, July 31.

It's based on the "Goosebumps" author's series of children's books about a "normal American family cop-ing with everyday life on a very abnormal street."

Before anyone gets too excited, however, remember this is a failed pilot that ABC is airing to recoup some of its investment in the show.

TARNISHING DISNEY'S IMAGE: Disney has easily survived a boycott by the Southern Baptists, but can the company's reputation survive what's coming on "The Wonderful World of Disney"?

Would you believe they're planning "Ernestpalooza"? Really.

Three - count 'em, three - flicks that feature Jim Varney as that ultimate idiot Ernest P. Worrell will disgrace . . . er, uh, grace the Disney franchise this summer. "Slam Dunk Ernest" is scheduled for this Sunday; "Ernest Rides Again" is set for Aug. 2; and "Ernest Goes to School" will air Sept. 6.

After achieving a reputation for some degree of quality, "The Wonderful World of Disney" is sinking to this level?