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From Lou Reed to Lusitania, It’s a Documentary Bonanza

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Among the big specials this weekend are documentaries on rock legend Lou Reed, marine iguanas and the Lusitania disaster, a miniseries on Egyptian pharaohs and a hypnotic program on the power of suggestion.

PBS’ “American Masters” series presents “Lou Reed: Rock and Roll Heart,” tonight at 10 on KCET-TV Channel 28. The documentary chronicles Reed’s music over the past three decades, including his recent collaboration on the rock opera “Time Rocker.”

“The National Geographic Special: Dragons of Galapagos,” Friday at 8 p.m. on KNBC-TV Channel 4, focuses on the marine iguanas living on the Galapagos Archipelago off the coast of South America.

Hypnotist Tom Silver displays his powers of suggestion on several subjects on the CBS special “Hypnotized!,” Friday at 9 p.m. on Channel 2.

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Cliff Robertson narrates A&E;'s documentary “The Lusitania: Murder on the Atlantic,” Sunday at 5 and 9 p.m. The two-hour special chronicles the ill-fated 1915 voyage of the British luxury liner that was attacked and sunk by a German sub. Nearly 1,200 passengers and crew perished.

The Learning Channel’s “The Great Egyptians II,” hosted by Egyptologist Bob Brier on Sunday at 5 and 8 p.m., is the first of a three-part series about legendary Egyptian leaders. Brier profiles a trio of pharaohs: Ramses the Great, Akhenaten and Hatshepsut.

Elsewhere this weekend:

Today

USA’s “The National Hate Test,” at 7 p.m., allows viewers to ascertain if they have hidden racial biases.

Former “Happy Days” regulars Pat Morita, Donny Most and Erin Moran guest on CBS’ “Diagnosis Murder,” at 9 p.m. on Channel 2. The episode deals with feuding caterers.

Friday

The Sci-Fi Channel kicks off its new magazine series “Sci-Fi Entertainment,” at 3:30 p.m. Chase Masterson and Scott A. Mantz host.

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NBC’s “Homicide: Life on the Street,” at 10 p.m. on Channel 4, winds down the season with the first installment of a two-part finale in which a suspect called in for questioning opens fire in the squad room.

Saturday

“Parenting in the ‘90s and Beyond,” at 11:30 a.m. on Channel 2, is the first of four specials designed to instruct modern-day mothers about computers, insurance, investments, child care and children’s products.

And they’re off! ABC presents live coverage of the 124th Kentucky Derby from Churchill Downs, at 1:30 p.m. on Channel 7.

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Don Johnson hosts “NASCAR’s Night in Hollywood,” at 4 p.m. on ESPN, a two-hour special celebrating the 50th anniversary of the auto racing organization. The Driver of the Decade will be announced during the show.

“Country’s Family Reunion II,” at 7 and 10 p.m. on TNN, features such legendary country artists as Jimmy Dean, Sheb Wooley and Johnny Russell reuniting to reminisce and perform their classic tunes.

Clarence Williams III (“The Mod Squad”) guests on NBC’s “Profiler,” at 10 p.m. on Channel 4, as a small-town police chief.

Sunday

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“Bravo Profiles” presents “Varian Fry, The Artists’ Schindler,” at 5 and 10 p.m., a documentary on the man who saved more than 2,000 cultural icons and their works from Nazi-occupied Europe.

The TBS “Wildlife Adventures” documentary “Legends of the Bushmen,” at 6 p.m., examines storytelling among African male hunters.

“Babe,” the greatest talking-pig movie ever produced, makes its network premiere on ABC, at 7 p.m. on Channel 7. The 1995 family film was nominated for best picture and won the Oscar for visual effects.

Chris Fonseca, George Lopez and Culture Clash are among the performers on Showtime’s “Second Annual Latino Laugh Festival,” at 8 p.m. Cheech Marin hosts.

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Six mothers and daughters receive the make-over of their dreams on Lifetime’s “The Great Lifetime Makeover,” at 8 p.m. Geena Davis is executive producer of the special, which is hosted by Alexandra Wentworth.

CBS hopes lightning will strike twice with its four-hour Mafia thriller “The Last Don II,” at 9 p.m. on Channel 2. The sequel to last May’s mega-hit miniseries chronicles the further adventures of the Clericuzio mob family. This time around, the death of the Don (Danny Aiello) sets off a power play among the other crime families. It’s up to the Don’s nephew (Jason Gedrick) to come to the rescue. Patsy Kensit also stars. The conclusion airs Tuesday at 9 p.m.

Laurie Metcalf and Mackenzie Astin star in “The Long Island Incident,” at 9 p.m. on Channel 4. The drama is based on the true story of Carolyn McCarthy, a Long Island housewife who ran for Congress in 1996 on a gun-control platform after her husband was murdered and her son injured in the Long Island commuter-train massacre of 1993.


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