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What's On

TV highlights for the week of Oct. 13-19. Times given are Eastern; check local listings.


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The Rich in America: 150 Years of Town and Country Magazine (A&E, 8-10 p.m.): An admittedly light look at the lives of the privileged and powerful. But shots of gorgeous mansions and opulent costumes stun, as do the showy, shallow lives of some of the nation's wealthiest. The documentary is peppered with lively anecdotes such as Alva Vanderbilt's grand entrance into society and Mamie Fish's infamous send-ups of elaborate society dinners - including one party held in honor of a chimpanzee. Plus, wedding footage of Grace Kelly and Prince Ranier. All this and the Kennedys, too.

The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss (Nickelodeon, 8-8:30 p.m.): Dr. Seuss's classic characters have been "muppetized" (courtesy of the wizards at Jim Henson Productions) in this promising new series. The puppets are adorable and the Cat in the Hat makes a delightful host. But the computer-animated sets could be better, and the new stories aren't quite as warm as Seuss's classics.

Still, pet owners will understand the sighing of Eliza Jane when she brings home a Gink to Snoozeberry Lane. After spending a day cleaning pink ink and listening to her pet squonk and squink - not to mention the smell wafting on the breeze - she's ready to send him back to South Geeze.

Democracy in America '96 (CNN, 9-10 p.m.): Hillary Rodham Clinton and Elizabeth Dole were both voted most likely to succeed in high school. This timely installment in CNN's ongoing series examines the triumphs and troubles of the often misunderstood Mrs. Clinton, "the most powerful first lady in history," and her potential successor, Mrs. Dole, the only woman to hold a cabinet position in two different administrations.


Art Garfunkel ... Across America (Disney, 9:30-10:30 p.m.): Garfunkel reflects on the 12-year walk he took across America and performs favorite songs from his days with partner Paul Simon.


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D.C. Follies (American Movie Classics, 8-9 p.m.): Comedian Robert Klein views politics through Hollywood's eyes in this light diversion. Clips from some of this century's classic political films show that entertainers often get it spot on: with candidates kissing babies and ads that can compete with the best of them. Real footage and songs from past campaigns are here too. The songs are the best: "We Like Ike" for Eisenhower, or "Here Comes Nixon" sung to "Merrily We Roll Along."

Caroline in the City (NBC, 9:30-10 p.m.): It's a double dose of Emmy-winner David Hyde Pierce as he appears first in his regular role as Niles on "Frasier," and then guest stars on "Caroline." He leaves the uptight psychiatrist back in Seattle and instead plays an IRS auditor checking up on Annie (Amy Pietz), Caroline's (Lea Thompson) neighbor.


Genesis: A Living Conversation (PBS, 8-9 p.m.): Thoughtful discussions of the first book of the Bible are at the heart of a 10-part series from journalist Bill Moyers. His hope is that these ancient stories can "point to some common ground for talking about our lives today."

Each hour is filled with round-table talk about a particular story by writers, professors, journalists, artists, and clergy. The series begins with "The First Murder" - the story of Cain and Abel. The subject prompts an insightful, if overly intellectual dialogue.

In general, Moyers has tapped a good topic, but in the debut he tries a little too hard to keep the conversation rolling. And some may question why he chose to put profiles of the panelists at the end of each program, leaving viewers in the dark as to who they are listening to for an hour.

But as the solid second installment - "In God's Image" about the two creation stories - shows, each of the programs has a life of its own and will likely enlighten watchers of all backgrounds. (The second through 10th episodes air Sundays at 6 p.m. starting Oct. 20.)

Almost Perfect (CBS, 8:30-9 p.m.): After playing matchmaker for Rob (Matthew Letscher) and a friend, Kim (Nancy Travis) wonders if maybe she's just given away a good thing. What follows is an entertaining spoof of film noir (with a dance number thrown in) that definitively answers the question.

Presidential Debate (ABC, CBS, CNN, C-SPAN, NBC, PBS, 9-11 p.m. EDT): Viewers get their last chance to hear the candidates sound off on the issues as President Clinton and Bob Dole go toe-to-toe in their final debate aired live from San Diego.


Raiders of the Lost Ark (TBS, 8:05-10:35 p.m.): The first in the Indiana Jones trilogy, this 1981 blockbuster stars Harrison Ford as an archaeologist trying to find a religious artifact before the Nazis do. It's action packed, according to director Steven Spielberg, and won Oscars for art and visual effects among others. Some violence and lots of humor from the first-rate cast.


World Series (ABC, 7:30-11 p.m.): Game 1 of baseball's biggest event gets under way. Will the Atlanta Braves be able to field another championship?

Murder by Death (Disney, 9:30-11 p.m.): Some of the world's greatest detectives converge on author Truman Capote's house to solve a baffling whodunit. Neil Simon's 1976 spoof of detective legends Miss Marple, Sam Spade, and Charlie Chan is sure to delight mystery buffs. The all-star cast includes Sir Alec Guinness, Peter Falk, and Maggie Smith.

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