WORTH NOTING ON TV

* THURSDAY

A Look at Talk Radio (C-Span, 10 a.m. to noon, EST): Simulcast of ``The Barbara Carlson Show'' on KSTP in St. Paul, Minn. * FRIDAY

Time Machine: Hollywood's Censorship Wars (A&E, 8-9 p.m.): Most people know that the censorship debates raging today over movie ratings and the content of such TV shows as ABC's ``NYPD Blue'' are nothing new. What they may not realize is that the battle was joined a century ago - when the very first motion pictures were shown for the public.

In April 1894, when a projection system called ``Kinetescope'' offered releases like ``Fatima'' - a short film featuring what was then considered a partially nude dancer - the morals debate was on. Local officials thundered and police banned certain productions, pretty much at will, if they found them personally offensive.

This edition of the documentary series examines the long history of Hollywood's struggles over what could and could not be shown in movies. A production code in force for some years made married movie couples sleep in twin beds and cut kisses off after six seconds. The writers, producers, directors, and actors embroiled in this issue are interviewed as clips from the period are shown.Investigative Reports: Trial by Television (A&E, 9-10 p.m.): Can you get a fair trial in a society where prejudicial coverage is all but impossible to control - especially when that coverage is invasive, highly visible, and sometimes luridly misrepresented? The criminal-justice system finds it hard to operate properly when the media goes overboard. But what to do about it?

Like the film-censorship issue in the previous item, the debate here deals ultimately with the impact on society of questionable material on screen.

The issue is addressed by host Bill Kurtis and such notable guests as attorney Alan Dershowitz; Justice John A.K. Bradley of the New York State Supreme Court; and Ellen Levin, founder of a group called ``Justice for All.''

Please check local listings for these programs.

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