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`KENNEDYS' COMING TO PBS

There's no "Civil War" on PBS this season. There's not even a multipart series on "Columbus."

But there are seven new series. And among the highlights on returning shows is a fascinating, two-part look at "The Kennedys" on "The American Experience."Here's a look at what to expect this season on KUED-Ch. 7 and KUED-Ch. 11.

NEW SHOWS

Ghostwriter is a mystery/adventure series designed to encourage kids to read and write. It follows the adventures of a group of urban kids who "solve mysteries with the help of their invisible teammate, `Ghostwriter.' " It debuts Sunday, Oct. 4, at 6 p.m. on Ch. 7 and Monday, Oct. 12, at 8 p.m. on Ch. 11.

Behind the Scenes, which premiered Tuesday on Ch. 7, is a 10-part series that teaches kids about the creative process and encourages them to develop their own creativity. It's hosted by the comedy/magic team of Penn and Teller. It debuts Sunday at 6:30 p.m. on Ch. 11.

Realms of the Russian Bear, from the producers of "Nature," explores the natural history of Russia and the Central Asian Republics. It will air on three consecutive nights, Oct. 5-7, at 8 p.m. on Ch. 7 and on consecutive Tuesdays, beginning Oct. 13 at 8:30 p.m., on Ch. 11.

Space Age is a six-part series that will begin airing weekly in mid-October. It looks at the latest in space exploration, the Russian space program, eclipses and other stellar phenomena. It begins Monday, Oct. 12, at 7 p.m. on Ch. 7 and Thursday, Oct. 29, at 9 p.m. on Ch. 11.

The Pacific Century profiles "significant people, events and trends of modern Asian-Pacific history." It begins Thursday, Oct. 15, at 10:35 p.m. on Ch. 7 and sometime in November on Ch. 11.

The Dinosaurs! is a four-part series that investigates how the giant lizards lived and why they disappeared from the Earth. It will air on four consecutive nights beginning Nov. 22 on Ch. 7, and in late November or early December on Ch. 11.

The New Europeans examines the movement to unify Europe into one political and economic power. It will air in late November on Ch. 7, and in late November or early December on Ch. 11.

RETURNING SERIES

Here are a few highlights from shows returning to PBS this season:

American Experience (KUED only) opens its fifth season with the two-part, four-hour film "The Kennedys," written by "Civil War" writer Geoffrey C. Ward. It begins Sunday, Sept. 20, at 7 p.m. Later in the season, look for "Liberators, Fighting on Two Fronts in World War II," which chronicles African-American battalions fighting in the war.

American Playhouse (KUED only) is also back in October, and starts things off with "Tales from Hollywood," a production about a group of German writers in Hollywood during World War II. Jeremy Irons and Alec Guinness star. And later in the season, Robert Morse gives his Tony-winning performance as Truman Capote in "Tru."

Frontline (KUED only) begins its 11th season with "Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill: Public Hearing, Private Pain," a look at the hearings through the eyes of black Americans.

Great Performances will begin the season with an anniversary special featuring Mikhail Baryshnikov, Twyla Tharp and Bernadette Peters, among others.

Live from Lincoln Center celebrates the 150th anniversary of the oldest orchestra in America, the New York Philharmonic.

Masterpiece Theatre (KUED only) returns with several new dramas, including "Best of Friends," starring Sir John Gielgud and Dame Wendy Hiller and "Memento Mori," starring Dame Maggie Smith.

The Metropolitan Opera Presents will present "The Ghosts of Versailles" this month and "L'Elisir d'Amore" in December.

Mystery! returns in October with the six-part series "Maigret," based on the Inspector Maigret novels by George Simenon.

National Geographic explores America's caves when it returns in November.

Nova (KUED only) returns in October with the story of an FBI unit that uses psychological techniques to track down a serial killer.

Nature goes to Tanzania and the Sea of Cortez.

P.O.V. (KUED only) will present and updated version of the Oscar-nominated film "Roger & Me."