David Copperfield: 15 Years of Magic (CBS, 8-10 p.m.): Magician Copperfield tours constantly, toting along enough staff and equipment to require a jumbo jet. His hundreds of yearly stage shows have helped make him quite possibly the world's most-seen live performer and certainly one the biggest international pop idols.
This marks his 17th network special (all but the first one aired on CBS). Even if high-powered illusions like making the Statue of Liberty disappear aren't to your taste, the showcasing is the real entertainment - a pageant of spectacular effects and eye-dazzling hokum.
This format, keyed to the magician's art, includes scripted performances. In this special, Copperfield's real-life friend Claudia Schiffer, the model, plays a reporter who happens on Copperfield's secret ``lair,'' a place positively 007-ish in its cavernous size and complex gadgetry. The format permits a recap by Copperfield of his favorite stunts and illusions, including ``Walking Through the Great Wall of China'' and other feats.
The Atlantic Records Story (A&E, 9-11 p.m.): This edition of ``A&E Stage With Elliott Forrest'' is an insider's view of the music business that is highly revealing to an outsider. It's an industry story that recounts a compelling chapter of American cultural history. From the 1940s to the mid-'70s, the Atlantic Record Company led listeners from standard ballads and sedate pop tunes into a new era of rhythm and blues, early rock, and the ``British invasion.'' The company's roster of important artists ranges from Aretha Franklin to Led Zeppelin to the Rolling Stones, and on and on.
The fascinating story is pieced together through interviews with Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Artegun and others, reminiscences, old newsreels and stills - and lots of samplings. You see sizzling footage of people like Ruth Brown and the early Ray Charles. It's irresistible stuff. * FRIDAY
House of Representatives (C-Span, 10 a.m., to conclusion, EDT): The channel's regular coverage.
Please check local listings for these programs.