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Whats on TV: SHOWS WORTH NOTING FOR Aug. 18-24

The following are not necessarily recommended by the Monitor. All times Eastern, check local listings.

Bowie at the Beeb (BBC America, continuing Aug. 19, check local listings): A two-day tribute to one of the most innovative rockers of our time will include David Bowie's film, "The Man Who Fell to Earth," a rare documentary, and this highly acclaimed concert.

An American Celebration at Ford's Theatre (ABC, 10-11 p.m.): While Wayne Brady is trying to bring the variety show back to television, "celebrations" like this one have been holding up the standard for years. A little comedy, a lot of music (much of it with a Texas accent), and host ABC's Sam Donaldson, make this benefit for the historic theater pleasant enough. President and Mrs. Bush were in attendance at the June taping.

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sunday 8/19

Let's Bowl! (Comedy Central, 10:30-11 p.m.): Zany new show gets ordinary people to resolve their disputes and differences by competing against each other on a 10-pin bowling lane.

Monday 8/20

Oswald (Nick Jr., 8-8:30 p.m.): A friendly blue octopus? Well, somehow it works - especially since the animated star is voiced by Fred Savage. The special prime-time preview is meant to introduce parents to Oswald and his friends. The stories are gentle and sweet, and the show will air each day at 10:30 a.m. on Nick Jr. and on CBS weekends. The idea is that preschoolers need repetition, so the same episode airs daily for a week.

Tuesday 8/21

Ultimate Revenge (TNN, 8-8:30 p.m.) Well, it's not as bad as it sounds - or is it? Practical jokes played on unsuspecting acquaintances - and all the execs swear its perfectly safe. It's "Candid Camera" meets "Fear Factor."

Life and Debt (PBS, check local listings): This unconventional documentary looks at Jamaica and the impact that economic globalization has had on it, namely a miserable cycle of debt that destroys local agriculture and sustains sweatshops. It's not a pretty picture. Based on Jamaica Kincaid's book, "A Small Place," with the author narrating the story.

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Friday 8/24

Free to Be...You and Me (TV Land, 8-9 p.m.): Reviving the classic kids' show that stared Marlo Thomas may seem a little strange, but a new generation of parents may find it helpful. It was a hit in 1974, and its message is still meaningful.


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