The History of Rock 'n' Roll
(Syndicated during the week -- check local listings for station, days, and times): This massive, detailed documentary traces the partly familiar, partly not-so-well-known story of the musical form that dominates the United States and much of the rest of the world. Full of music clips and insightful reminiscences, the programs trace the explosive sound from its roots in rhythm-and-blues and other forms, through the fall of the Iron Curtain (which went down, as the series indicates, to a rock beat), to today's expression.
Some 250 songs are offered, from the Elvis revolution, the British invasion, the Woodstock years, Bruce Springsteen, Madonna, and less widely known but sometimes equally influential artists.
Host Gary Busey, who starred in ''The Buddy Holly Story,'' conducts the long look back through the eyes of people like The Rolling Stones' Keith Richards on the importance of Chuck Berry and Dick Clark on the heyday of the ''American Bandstand'' TV show.
The series lasts 10 hours. Local stations have the option of running it any way they wish, so the length of individual shows and their air times will vary from city to city.
Placido Domingo: A Musical Life (PBS, 8-9:20 p.m. Day and time may vary during public TV's pledge period.): And now for something completely different, as they used to say on ''Monty Python,'' here's an inside view of the many lives of the great operatic tenor. For this ''American Masters'' program, he allowed film crews to dog his footsteps during 1994: at home, on an airplane, on stage, and in other venues. He also gave a lengthy personal interview, taped in Vienna, narrating his life and career.
Among the performance clips are ''O Paradis'' from Meyerbeer's ''L 'Africaine,'' the ''Love Duet'' from Verdi's ''Otello,'' and the Prologue from Offenbach's ''Tales of Hoffman.''
Please check local listings for these programs.