SATURDAY In the Spotlight (PBS, 7-8:40 p.m.): The good news is that during March, PBS is launching an ambitious slate of programs, many of them focusing on pop music. The bad news? Well, March is `Pledge Month.' (No, not week. Month.) It's a truly worthy project and I know they have to do it, but it can become an awful drag as the time wears on, with local stations constantly breaking in to make pitches for contributions. But the programs themselves are impressive, and among the brightest of them are the ones making
up `In the Spotlight,' an eight-part series that focuses on pop-music greats and makes an entertaining way to trace the history of rock. It premieres with the two-part `Bob Dylan 30th Anniversary Celebration,' the first airing of a concert tribute to the singer whose reedy voice became the sound of the 1960s to at least one generation. The `celebration' of the title took place in New York's Madison Square Garden last October and reportedly sold more than 18,000 seats in a breathless 70 minutes. The list of
performers joining the salute is long and impressive. The two-part production also goes backstage to sample the flavor of this memory-laden and emotional occasion. (Part 2 airs Sunday at 7 p.m.). American Masters (PBS, 9-11 p.m.): One of PBS's more interesting series begins its seventh season during pledge month with `Paul Simon: Born at the Right Time,' a musical biography of the 30-year veteran of the rock scene. Simon tells his own story on this program, with lots of music and interviews with his former partner Art Garfunkel and Simon's son Harper. His 1992 tension-wracked tour of South Africa, where people demonstrated against Simon's performing in a place where apartheid still exists, forms th e culminating and most dramatic footage, as he steps on stage to sing with Miriam Makeba and Ladysmith Black Mambazo.
Please check local listings for all programs. PBS Pledge Month schedules vary widely from station to station.