WORTH NOTING ON TV

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* SATURDAY

Saturday Night Live (NBC, 11:30 p.m.-1 a.m., E.T.): The biggest studio-audience squeals I can remember hearing for an SNL guest host happened when Michael Jordan was introduced not long ago. So it was probably a smart move to pick another awesome basketball star as guest host for the season premiere of this often brilliant, only occasionally silly live comedy show: Charles Barkley, Most Valuable Player of the Phoenix Suns - finalists in the 1993 NBA championships. Jordan's presence brought a special chemistry to the show, and I suspect the same will happen with Barkley. * SUNDAY

60 Minutes (7-8 p.m.): Half a million is one estimate I've heard quoted for the number of people who turned out to hear Luciano Pavarotti when he performed in New York's Central Park last summer - not to mention those watching the performance on PBS. Does that sound like a man ``at the twilight'' of his career?

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Maybe not, but leave it to Mike Wallace to ask, during the interview with the great tenor featured on this edition of the top-rated news magazine show. The singer is disarmingly frank about himself. He says, for instance, that he thinks the fans were right in booing him when his voice cracked as he reached for high notes during a performance at La Scala in Milan.

The interview was conducted by Wallace last June in New York before the Central Park concert, and continued in August at Pavarotti's summer home in Pesaro, Italy, when he was getting ready for a concert tour. The air date is notable: It's the eve of a 25th-anniversary party for Pavarotti and another great tenor - Placido Domingo - being thrown by the New York Metropolitan Opera. The two men both made their Met debuts in 1968.

Booknotes (C-Span, 8-9 p.m., E.T.): The guest is Malcolm Browne, author of ``Muddy Boots and Red Socks.''

Please check local listings for these programs.

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