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TV Smarts

September 07, 2000

Some broadcast and cable programs contain material included in the public school curriculum and on standardized examinations. Here are home-viewing tips:

* Today--"The Tiger Woods Story" (FAM 8-10 p.m.) Based on the early life and struggles of the golf superstar and role model. LeVar Burton directs.

* Friday--"Dateline NBC" (9-10 p.m.; repeats Saturday, noon-1 p.m.) Compares this year's 6-million-acre Western wildfires with 1994's, when 14 died fighting fires in Colorado, revealing lessons about nature and technology. Also, "Maximum Performance: The Science Behind Olympic Competition" (DISC 9-10 p.m.) A look at the role science and technology are expected to play in enhancing athletes' performances in Sydney.

* Saturday--"Nixon: The Arrogance of Power" (HIST 9-11 p.m.) Based on a recent biography "The Arrogance of Power: The Secret World of Richard Nixon" by journalist Anthony Summer. Also, "The Hispanic Heritage Awards" (KNBC 10-11 p.m.) Broadcast from the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., highlights Hispanic-American achievements in education, arts, sports, literature and leadership.

* Sunday--"California's Gold Sesquicentennial Celebration with Huell Howser" (KCET 1-8 p.m.) A tribute to California's statehood, Sept. 9, 1850. Contains encores of Howser's documentaries about missions, railroads, immigrants, agriculture, industry, water, oil and gold. Also, "Great Writers, Great Cities: London" (TRAV 9-10 p.m.) Initial documentary in a new series explaining where and why great writers did their best work.

* Monday--"Aswan Dam" (HIST 10-11 p.m.) A look at modern Egypt's effort to stop the annual flooding of the Nile.Considered a feat of biblical proportions, building the dam gave the nation its electricity but brought profound social and environmental changes.

* Tuesday--"Julius Caesar" (TCM 5-7:30 p.m.) 1953 movie based on Shakespeare's play features John Gielgud and Marlon Brando.

* Wednesday--"The Ultimate 10 Biggest Structures" (TLC 10-11 p.m.) Documentary about the latest marvels of engineering includes the Millennium Wheel in London, the nuclear aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman, the Channel Tunnel and the Arecibo Radio Telescope in Puerto Rico.

*

Compiled by Richard Kahlenberg in consultation with Crystal J. Gips, dean of the School of Education, College of St. Rose, Albany, N.Y. Columns available at http://www.latimes.com/tvsmarts.

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