Instead of watching cartoons this Saturday, kids can tune to ABC and NBC's "Today" show for an explanation of the Persian Gulf war.

On ABC, Peter Jennings will anchor a 90-minute special, "War in the Gulf: Answering Children's Questions.""I think everbody in the country is aware that going to war has been hard on children and I think it has confused children," Jennings said Thursday.

ABC's live show, with a studio audience of about 30 children, will be broadcast nationally starting at 10:30 a.m. EST. So will a special two-hour edition of "Today" that includes a segment on the war for children.

CBS said it has no plans for a similar special Saturday. PBS on Sunday sent its stations a 30-minute children's special, "Kids Ask About War," produced by public TV station KTCA in Minneapolis.

Saturday's ABC and NBC programs each will have an 800 telephone number for young viewers to call in with questions, network officials say.

Kids dialing NBC will be able to talk to New York anchors Garrick Utley and Mary Alice Williams, and correspondents Arthur Kent, Martin Fletcher and Katie Couric in Saudi Arabia, Tel Aviv and Washington, respectively.

Those calling ABC will be able to put questions to Jennings, ABC correspondents in the United States and the war zone, military officers involved in Operation Desert Storm and, Jennings says, retired Adm. William J. Crowe, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and now an ABC consultant.

ABC's special will have taped reports, including one on Iraq's history.