World of Discovery (ABC, 8-9 p.m.): Having received notably bad press throughout history and legend, wolves have begun to redeem themselves in the public eye - in the informed public eye, at least. Recent books like ``The Nine Mile Wolves,'' by Rick Bass, and TV shows like ``In the Company of Wolves'' on PBS vividly depict a creature once hunted to the point of extinction in many North American areas.

``Wolf: Return of a Legend,'' the season premiere of ``World of Discovery,'' focuses on a protected pack in a wild setting: the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho, where naturalists and filmmakers have observed a pack as it demonstrates a family affection and playfulness totally at odds with the wolf's evil image. This doesn't mean the creatures haven't evolved as predatory marvels, but the side of them captured in this program has to do with their faithfulness to each other and how they work out their complex social relationships.

The producer and photographer of this film, Jim Dutcher, and his associate producer, Karen McCall, are also involved in setting up a research and education center where people of all ages can come to see the animals and carry away a respect that may help counter centuries of misinformation. * FRIDAY

Evening News From Moscow (C-Span, 7:25-8 a.m. and 6-6:30 p.m., EST): A report in Russian with simultaneous English translation. * SATURDAY

Great Performances

(PBS, 5-8 p.m.): ``Dance in America'' offers back-to-back programs that celebrate the splendid choreographic legacy of George Balanchine and capture the exuberance and dazzle of the New York City Ballet.

Taped last June as a Christmas special, the performances were the climax of the Ballet's ``Balanchine Celebration,'' a two-month-long retrospective of the master's work. The first segment samples his rich European and Russian works, the second his equally potent American repertoire.

Please check local listings for these programs.

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