By , Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

WEDNESDAY

The Greatest Commercials Ever Made (CBS, 9-10 p.m.): Fascinating how much entertainment value there can be in TV commercials when you don't feel you're being pitched. It also helps if many of them are years or decades old.

As a genre, these ads do go way back. This special, in fact, is being held as part of the advertising industry's observance of the TV commercial's 50th anniversary.

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Hosted by John Ritter, the program recalls some of the most notable ones, among them ''Where's the Beef?,'' the Federal Express fast-talking guy, and many others that have stayed in the public mind long after the shows they accompanied have been forgotten.

Some of the commercials may seem dated or even campy, but the role they played in pop culture takes shape as the inventive -- and occasionally brilliant -- short scenes are screened.

At one point this unabashedly reminiscent show recalls some famous actors who made commercials before going on to greater success -- like Dustin Hoffman, Michael J. Fox, John Goodman, Jason Alexander, Macaulay Culkin (that can't have been very long ago), and Howard Stern.

THURSDAY

Road to the Final Four (CBS, Noon to 5 p.m. and 7:30 to 10 p.m., EST): First-round double-headers in the NCAA Basketball Championship. Please check local listings for the regional games in your area.

FRIDAY

Road to the Final Four (CBS, Noon to 5 p.m., 7:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., EST): Regional first-round double-headers.

SATURDAY

Road to the Final Four (CBS, noon to 9 p.m., EST): Regional second-round quadruple-headers.

SUNDAY

Road to the Final Four (CBS, noon to 7 p.m., EST): Regional second-round triple-headers.

Please check local listings for these programs.

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