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Lassie retrospective chases her tale

Tonight, ABC goes to the dogs, and the cats, with back-to-back specials on "Lassie" and lions. The fact that nothing else is of greater interest tonight suggests just how little interest you should have in TV this evening.

* "Lassie Unleashed: 260 Dog Years in TV" (8 p.m.-9 p.m., Channel 13) -- Much as I loved "Lassie" as a kid, I can't drum up much enthusiasm for this latest anniversary special. It's true, though, that the black-and-white reruns still charm many kids, including mine. It's only when you're grown up that you notice how many of Lassie's whimpers are overdubbed. ABC.

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* "World of Discovery" (9 p.m.-10 p.m., Channel 13) -- This series of nature specials begins its fifth season with pride, airing "Lion: Africa's King of the Beasts." As always, the photography is beautiful, and the documentary story line takes an unexpected turn or two. ABC.

* "Seinfeld" (9 p.m.-9:30 p.m., Channel 2) -- This is the repeat episode, a not very stellar one by "Seinfeld" standards, in which George (Jason Alexander) continues to test out ideas on the New York Yankees. NBC.

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* "Chicago Hope" (9 p.m.-10 p.m., Channel 11) -- After CBS finally moved "Chicago Hope" away from "ER," this killer time slot is the first place it landed. Beginning next week, though, first-run episodes are presented in a more friendly Monday-night time slot. CBS repeat.

* "Survival Guide: The Network Shift of '95" (9:30 p.m.-10 p.m., Channel 2) -- WMAR tackles the networks' musical chairs due Monday when Channel 2, now with NBC, joins ABC; Channel 11, now with CBS, aligns with NBC; and Channel 13, now with ABC, aligns with CBS.

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* "Boys Town" (8 p.m.-10 p.m., TNT) -- If you can stand the colorized version, here's the movie everyone in Washington was talking about when Newt Gingrich suggested that orphanages, a la this 1938 Spencer Tracy flick, were the way to go. Your host? Incoming House Speaker Gingrich, of course.

* "Desperately Seeking Susan" (9 p.m.-11 p.m., LIF) -- This 1985 movie, starring Rosanna Arquette and Madonna, showcased Madonna at her best -- a feat no subsequent film has been able to duplicate.

* "Cyborg" (10:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m., TBS) -- This 1989 Jean-Claude Van Damme movie will leave you Cybored.



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