It's a sad commentary that Stevie Wonder needs MTV more than MTV needs Stevie Wonder.
This wondrous superstar has been written off by soul radio for cranking out too many middle-of-the-road ballads like "I Just Called to Say I Love You," while MOR radio, ironically, has rejected his most recent album, ''Characters," for being too hard-rocking. And by and large, Wonder's always been too black and too funky for the narrow minds who program and tune in album-rock radio.
So what's a Wonder to do? Try to reach the next generation of music lovers with a 60-minute special, "Stevie Wonder's Characters," on the MTV cable channel premiering tonight at 10 p.m. "HBO wanted the show," - and would have paid Wonder - "but Wonder wanted us," says MTV spokeswoman Carole Robinson.