Three years ago, Rick Sebak made "An Ice Cream Show" for PBS, ideal summer fare about the nation's favorite cool food. This week, he's exploring one of our most popular hot foods in "A Hot Dog Program," airing Wednesday at 8.

Sebak, a producer for Pittsburgh's WQED, tells what's in a hot dog and what people add to it. He considers whether a dog is best garnished with mustard and sauerkraut, chili and cheese, smothered with "the works" or sloshed with secret sauces. Some New Yorkers like theirs with papaya juice. Southerners prefer cole slaw, chili or pimiento cheese. In Chicago, add tomatoes, mustard, relish, onions, spicy little peppers, pickles and celery salt.

Sebak visits a Fourth of July hot-dog-eating contest at Coney Island and a vendor at the start of Alaska's Iditarod Sled Dog Race who sells what he calls reindeer dogs. He checks out notable doggeries including Nathan's Famous at Coney Island, N.Y.; The Varsity in Atlanta; Pink's in Hollywood; Pittsburgh's Original Hot Dog Shop; Slots-A-Fun in Las Vegas; and Frank's in Columbia, S.C.

Just off I-95 in Connecticut, there's "The Super Duper Weenie Man," Gary Zemola, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America who sells hot dogs out of his GMC Stepvan.

Stay tuned for "An Ice Cream Show" at 9. Sebak's 1996 "Shore Things" airs Friday at 10 on WETA. His new "Great Old Amusement Parks" airs in July.



Tuesday at 9 on PBS

"The Crash" looks at what happened on Black Monday, Aug. 31, 1998, when the Dow Jones industrial average plunged 512 points, wiping out stock market gains for the entire year. The program examines the dynamics of the global economy. Journalist William Greider and billionaire investor George Soros are among those who offer views.


Tuesday at 10 on WETA

PBS's summer series for independent documentarians focuses on Art Arfons, who returns to the Bonneville salt flats in Utah to drive for the first time since a 1971 crack-up so severe that two spectators and a reporter riding with him were killed. "The Green Monster" traces Arfons's career as a drag-racing champion at speeds surpassing 611 mph. Now in his early seventies and still building cars, he wants to regain the title he once had as the fastest man on land. Richard Noble currently holds that record.


Wednesday at 9 and 10 on WETA

The esteemed PBS documentary showcase offers a pair of profiles.

At 9, "The Lives of Lillian Hellman" traces the life of an outspoken and controversial woman who wrote a dozen plays, 11 movies and five books -- and had a 30-year relationship with mystery writer Dashiell Hammett.

Stay tuned at 10 for "Dashiell Hammett: Detective. Writer." For novels such as "The Maltese Falcon," "The Thin Man," "The Glass Key" and "Red Harvest," Hammett created a smart tough-guy with a heart, mirroring his own persona.


Saturday at 9 on WBDC

This two-hour showcase benefiting the Urban Scholarship Program presents a variety of artists offering a range of music including gospel, ballads, blues, R&B, bebop/hip hop and soul/funk.

On hand: Vivica A. Fox, Vince Gill, Lionel Richie, Shemar Moore, Silk, Deborah Cox, Nia Long, Sinbad, Chaka Khan, James Ingram, Kenny Lattimore, Johnny Gill, Herbie Hancock, Blaque, 702, Patti Austin, the Gap Band, Shanice, the O'Jays, Keb'Mo' and Levar Burton.

NBC's Game Plan

NBC has alternate programming at the ready in case the NBA Finals does not require a seven-game series.

If Game 6 is not necessary, the Sunday night lineup likely would include "World's Most Amazing Videos," "Dateline" and "Fair Game."

In lieu of Game 7, the schedule at 9 p.m. Tuesday would include "Just Shoot Me," "Will & Grace" and "Dateline."

CAPTION: "A Hot Dog Program" airs Wednesday at 8 on PBS, followed by "An Ice Cream Show" at 9.