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What's On

TV highlights for the week of May 11-17. All times are Eastern; check local listings. Ratings are listed for shows when available (see explanation box below).

SUNDAY - 5/11

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Charlotte's Web (Family Channel, 12:30-2:30 p.m.): Before "Babe," there was this charming 1973 adaptation of E.B. White's classic tale of friendship and advertising that proved people will believe anything they read. Debbie Reynolds provides the voice of Charlotte, the spider-cum-spin doctor who saves Wilbur the pig (Henry Gibson) from being slaughtered.

Touched by an Angel (CBS, 8-9 p.m.): Stars in the CBS lineup play musical chairs as Bill Cosby makes an appearance in this drama as Phil, the angel of redemption. (TV-G)

3rd Rock From the Sun (NBC, 8-9 p.m.): First, it's an otherworldly treat when Mark Hamill ("Star Wars") guest-stars as himself. Then Christine Baranski (loudmouthed, coutured Marianne on "Cybill") stars as, of all things, a mousy librarian. (TV-PG)

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (ABC, 9-11 p.m.): First Disney (1954), then CBS (in March), and now ABC. How many movie versions of Jules Verne's tale about a futuristic submarine do we need? A question ABC should have asked before it let this disappointing project set sail. Its budget was clearly bigger than CBS's, as are its stars (Michael Caine plays the enigmatic Captain Nemo), but the CBS version was more family friendly, and at two hours, a far better length than ABC's slow-moving four. Both networks lost the sense of adventure Disney captured, choosing instead to incorporate love-story elements. ABC also adds plot twists, some bloody, that make the story almost unrecognizable. Part 2 airs Monday. (TV-PG)

The Last Don (CBS, 9-11 p.m.): This joyless affair is courtesy of Mario Puzo, whose "Godfather" has become the standard by which all mob stories are judged. Measuring by Puzo's own yardstick, this latest creation, focusing on the lives of two mafia cousins, falls short. The miniseries travels from Sicily to Hollywood and features some fine performances, notably Danny Aiello as Don Clericuzio and Joe Mategna as Pippi, the family's chief executioner. Despite the all-star cast (which also includes Kirstie Alley, Daryl Hannah, Jason Gedrick, and Penelope Ann Miller), the miniseries fails to be either sweeping or tragic, and instead settles for ponderous and grim. The culprits? Lack of humor or emotional depth and some rather clichd lines. The three-parter continues Tuesday and concludes Wednesday. (TV-14)

MONDAY - 5/12

The American Experience (PBS, 9-10 p.m.): Only one thing could make American city folk leave the comforts of home in the 1890s for the cold, dangerous conditions of Canada's Klondike: gold. This informative program focuses on their determination and naivet - mainly through pictures, as the gold rush was one of the most photographed events of the 19th century.

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TUESDAY - 5/13

Spin City (ABC, 9:30-10 p.m.): What will Mike (Michael J. Fox) do when the mayor (Barry Bostwick) unexpectedly heads to Miami for some R&R? Find out in this season finale. The show returns next year for a second season. (TV-PG)


Coach (ABC, 8-9 p.m.): The long-running series scores one last touchdown with this one-hour finale - its 200th episode. Hayden (Craig T. Nelson), Luther (Jerry Van Dyke), and Dauber (Bill Fagerbakke) return to Minnesota to reminisce about their days coaching college football. This provides ample opportunity for clips that serve as a reminder of how funny the sports comedy could be before it went pro. Also, look out for a cameo by Larry, Darryl, and Darryl of "Newhart" fame. (TV-PG)


Friends (NBC, 8-8:30 p.m.): "Friends" ends its third season with the sixsome visiting a Long Island Beach house, where Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow) discovers something new about her mysterious parents, thanks to a family friend (guest star Teri Garr). Also, Ross's (David Schwimmer) new girlfriend (Christine Taylor) makes a surprise appearance. (TV-PG)

The Three Stooges Greatest Hits (ABC, 8-9 p.m.): Comedian Martin Short hosts this tribute filled with highlights of the slapstick characters at work and play - including home video of Curly's wedding. (TV-G)

Seinfeld (NBC, 9-9:30 p.m.): Raquel Welch is on hand to help the hit comedy close out its eighth season in style. Molly Shannon of "Saturday Night Live" also guest-stars. (TV-PG)

FRIDAY - 5/16

Kids Say the Darndest Things (CBS, 8-9 p.m.): What started as a segment on the 1952-69 variety show "House Party" is now a full-length special. Bill Cosby leads discussions with the tots, and clips are shown from the original series, which was hosted by Art Linkletter. (TV-G)



Wednesday, May 14, 8-9 p.m.


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