Garry Shandling hosts the 52nd Annual Emmy Awards live from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles on Sunday at 8 p.m. EDT on ABC. The big battle this year is between the outstanding HBO drama “The Sopranos” and the outstanding NBC drama “The West Wing.” Each show pulled down 18 nominations apiece, including all the big ones for lead and supporting actors and best drama. Another Emmy-related show to watch for (or avoid like the plague, if you prefer): Before Michael J. Fox, Jennifer Aniston, Chris Rock, Jenna Elfman and all the other nominees and presenters can get into the auditorium, they must pass by Joan and Melissa Rivers on the red carpet. The Rivers women, in what has quickly grown into one of basic cable’s most stomach-turning award show traditions, will stand by the entrance and pass judgment on these people based on what they are wearing like two angry cheerleaders discussing lunch line fashion in their high school cafeteria. The Emmy Awards Pre-Show is on E!, live for two hours starting at 6 p.m. EDT if you are interested.
They say that “death sells,” right? Well, leave it to PBS to find a way to take something perfectly marketable and cool, like death, and screw it up by making it all intellectual and meaningful and stuff. One of televisions best and most respected journalists, Bill Moyers, who has taken PBS viewers on similar multi-episode expeditions through poetry, religion and the “Power of Myth” in the past, turns his insightful eye toward the Big “D” in “On Our Own Terms: Moyers on Death” (in four parts, Sunday through Wednesday at 9 p.m. EDT on PBS — local times may vary). Moyers will take his provocative, conversational approach into the lives of a few who, for various reasons, are running out of time to explore what death means to us today, how we approach it, and what we can and can’t do about it.
After three years on ABC, “The Hughleys” starts its fourth season, now on UPN on Mondays as the 9 p.m. EDT anchor for the network’s block of black comedies. The good news for star D.L. Hughley is that UPN promises that it is “turning (them) loose” from ABC’s more uptight attitude. The bad news is now that “The Hughleys” has switched networks, there is a chance that UPN itself won’t be back next season. Anyway, “The Hughleys” is a funny show … for at least one more year.
The too little seen 1999 Oscar winner for Best Documentary comes to HBO on Monday at 8 p.m. EDT. “One Day in September” gives an in-depth look at the kidnapping of 11 Israeli athletes by Palestinian terrorists who demanded the release of hundreds of political prisoners in exchange for their hostage’s lives during the 1972 Olympics in Munich, Germany. ABC was in place to cover the games, and this film includes excerpts of anchor Jim McKay covering the crisis, plus interviews with negotiators and the last surviving member of the terrorist group. Michael Douglas narrates.
Billy Zane (“Titanic“) gets to the heart of a tangled web of intrigue and conspiracy in the fast-paced but awkwardly titled (try saying it out loud) “Dean Koontz’s Sole Survivor” on Wednesday at 8 p.m. EDT on Fox, concluding Thursday at the same time).Zane plays Joe Carpenter, “ordinary Joe” and sole survivor of a plane crash that killed his wife and child. He gets suspicious, and eventually obsessed, when he finds a woman from the plane (an unreported survivor) taking photos of his wife’s grave. Watch closely and don’t tune in late.
Olivia Newton-John The 2000 Olympic Games from Sydney, Australia, officially kicks off with the Opening Ceremony on Friday at 7:30 p.m. EDT on NBC. Scheduled to perform are Olivia Newton-John and a bunch of people we’ve never heard of. Strangely, no members of AC/DC or Air Supply are on the card. The games will receive an unprecedented amount of air time in the United States as NBC, CNBC and MSNBC will bring us nearly three times what we saw from Atlanta in 1996. Here’s what we hope for, seriously … this is a global event, for the whole world, not just Americans. We like Americans as much as anybody, but when watching a sporting event, we’d like to hear a little bit about who is actually winning, even if that means we’ll have to learn something about a gymnast from China or a pole vaulter from Argentina. And, besides, if NBC is really worried about losing the audience by giving airtime to people from other countries, they could always hire Joan and Melissa Rivers to keep us entertained by making fun of the poorer country’s warm-up outfits.