WORTH NOTING ON TV

* FRIDAY

Bob Hope: the First 90 Years (NBC, 8-11 p.m.): I know these salutes tend to be glitzy bores, but if anybody deserves one, it's Bob Hope, whose active superstardom - he's one of the handful of people who merit that abused term - has probably lasted longer than anyone else's this century. His gag delivery - facile, sardonic, timed as if by computer - would probably be in the Smithsonian if it could be packaged. Six decades of fans have been conditioned to laugh at it, sometimes in spite of themselves, duri ng a career that stretches back to vaudeville in the 1920s, Broadway in the 1930s, the pinnacle of film success in "road" pictures and other vehicles, TV shows, and personal appearances like his tours to entertain American troops. The list of celebrities - even just those hosting program segments (like Jay Leno) - is too long to print, but President Clinton is expected to appear, as well as former Presidents Bush, Reagan, Carter, Ford, and Nixon. * SUNDAY

How the West Was Lost (Discovery Channel, 10-11 p.m.): For the American West to have been "won," it had to have been "lost," and this six-part miniseries looks at the period through the eyes of those whose land it was to lose: the Nez Perce, Apache, Cheyenne, Lakota, and Navajo nations. As history, their perspective has been largely ignored, despite all the recent attention given native Americans. In this documentary, the focus is on largely tragic events that occurred during the mid-to-late 1800s at pla ces like Little Big Horn, White Bird Canyon, and Sand Creek. Some of the programs were shot on location, with visually impressive results. Many rare photos of the period are used to illustrate the story, told partly in the words of descendants of Cochise, Sitting Bull, and Chief Joseph, many of whom are giving their first interviews. The six episodes, aired on consecutive nights, trace the progress of destruction as indigenous peoples lost their land and - in many respects - the meaning of their lives. The premiere episode deals with the Navajo at the start of the wars of the Great Plains.

Please check local listings for all programs.

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