The American Experience: FDR (PBS, 9-11 p.m.): This worthwhile series begins its seventh season with a long look at one of history's most studied figures: Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd president of the United States and probably the country's most loved and hated chief executive since Lincoln.

The four-part series, airing over two consecutive nights, tries to get an inside view of Roosevelt to explain the astonishing resiliency and energy - physical and emotional - that even FDR's strongest critics acknowledge were remarkable, especially for a man on crutches. (Those who saw the play and 1960 film ``Sunrise at Campobello'' already have an insight into his strength.)

The production presents images of the kind now familiar to viewers of ``The American Experience'' - home movies, old news clips, family photos, interviews and such - some of them new to viewers, and all of them designed to get a fresh take on FDR's life and career.

Among other less widely known sides of FDR is his relationship with his mother, who exercised what some consider an overprotective influence on her son. FDR's wife Eleanor Roosevelt - America's first truly activist first lady - also looms large in these programs, which examine her effort to carve an independent role as a social advocate who didn't mind prodding the president when necessary.

(Parts 3 and 4 air Wednesday on PBS, 9-11:30 p.m.)


In Performance at the White House (PBS, 8-9 p.m.): These musical evenings don't get much livelier than one that took place last June, featuring Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, in a mix of numbers that display her impressive singing talents. After President Clinton introduces her to the invited audience, Franklin sings ``You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman,'' ``Say a Little Prayer,'' ``Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes,'' and - as a finale -

her rousing hit ``Respect,'' which predictably brings the audience to its feet.

Also performing are singing star Lou Rawls and the Eastern High School Choir of Washington, D.C.

Please check local listings for these programs.

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