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This guide is designed to alert readers to the scope and variety of programming coming up. Listing is not meant to represent blanket endorsement. Viewers are urged to be selective. SATURDAY Dreams of Gold: The Mel Fisher Story (CBS, 9-11 p.m.): Fact-based dramatization of treasure-hunter Mel Fisher's 16-year search for the gold bullion in the wreck of the Spanish galleon Atocha. Stars Cliff Robertson and Loretta Swit.

Life: 50 Years (ABC, 9-11 p.m.): Barbara Walters hosts a celebration of 50 years of ``Life'' magazine, including memorable photos, award-winners, and famous cover faces. SUNDAY

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The Leftovers (ABC, 7-8 p.m.): ``The Disney Sunday Movie'' stars John Denver as the director of facility for hard-to-adopt kids who prefer to stay together.

Fresno (CBS, 9-11 p.m.; also Mon., Tues., Wed., and Thurs. 8-9 p.m.): Carol Burnett stars in a miniseries satire of ``Dallas,'' which centers on the passion and greed of the matriarch of a raisin empire yearning to consummate a cartel.

The Fools on the Hill (PBS, 10-11p.m.): The BBC commemorates its 50th anniversary with a docudrama about the mounting of its initial program on Nov. 2, 1936. It's a self-congratulatory, self-conscious, and self-serving bit of fluff of interest mainly to ``Auntie Beeb'' employees. MONDAY

Holiday Entertaining with Martha Stewart (PBS, 10-11 p.m.): The cooking and entertaining author offers creative and practical ways to prepare a Thanksgiving feast. TUESDAY

Is Anybody Out There? (PBS, 8-9 p.m.): ``Nova'' calls on actress/comedienne Lily Tomlin and all her imaginary characters to help examine the scientific work in progress looking for intelligent life in space.

Penalty Phase (CBS, 9-11 p.m.): The fate of a convicted murderer becomes politicized in this thought-provoking drama starring Peter Strauss and Melissa Gilbert. WEDNESDAY

The Wyeths: A Father And His Family (PBS, 8-9 p.m.): ``Smithsonian World'' explores the creativity of three generations in one of America's foremost families of artists, the Wyeths.

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In Performance at the White House: George Gershwin (PBS, 9-10 p.m.): Taped at the White House, this first of a series celebrates the work of one of America's most popular composers.

Newport Jazz '86 (PBS, 10-11 p.m.): Against the background of historic Newport, R.I., the world-famous jazz festival features such performers as Michael Franks, Gerry Mulligan, and Natalie Cole. THURSDAY

Fast Copy (NBC,10-11 p.m.): News magazine-style minidocumentaries based upon stories from top newsstand magazines. Listings are in Eastern Time; other zones may vary. Please check listings for all PBS programs, since local option often results in differing days and times.

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