WORTH NOTING ON TV

* THURSDAY

Dateline NBC (NBC, 10-11 p.m.): In January, the producers of this show asked for a selection of five stocks from a professional money manager, a group of seventh-grade students, and a chimpanzee (a female named Casey who ``chose'' them from a Rolodex).

On March 1, the show presented the results, and as you've doubtless already guessed, they came in this way: The manager's choices fared worst, the kids' stocks second, and Casey established herself as the financial genius of the bunch.

The same unsettling results have been reached - temporarily at least - in other ways: NBC chose stocks not long ago with a dart board, for instance. But have the stocks chosen in January kept the same order of success, with the chimp beating the pro? In this edition of ``Dateline,'' the results are checked again.

In another segment, the program offers its findings from a four-year investigation into the world of professional car thieves. Today's methods of stealing are so effective and complex - involving insurance fraud, disguises, and smuggling - that the update will probably startle many viewers.

On Tuesday, incidentally, ``Dateline'' (anchored by Jane Pauley and Stone Phillips) began airing twice a week - making this the first newsmagazine that has done so regularly in network prime time. * SATURDAY

Great Books (The Learning Channel, 10-11 p.m.): Somewhere out there in space, creatures far in advance of ourselves are living, and one day they'll come to get us. This notion - so familiar to sci-fi fans - was exploited in 1898 by British novelist H. G. Wells in his immensely influential ``The War of the Worlds,'' a pioneering work that utilized current scientific theories to tell of Martians invading England.

In this edition of the ``Great Books'' series, narrator Donald Sutherland calls on science-fiction writer Brian Aldiss and actor Leonard Nimoy (Spock of ``Star Trek'') to analyze the book, the background of the author, and the period in which he lived. Computer re-enactments further the study.

Please check local listings for these programs.

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