PUBLISHED : Friday, 16 November, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 16 November, 2001, 12:00am

The 53rd Annual Emmy Awards

Pearl, 9.30pm

Television's answer to the Oscars finally went ahead on November 4 after being postponed twice, the first time in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11 and on October 7 because of the first day of bombing Afghanistan. The event was finally held at the Shubert, a smaller theatre than the original Shrine Auditorium, because of security and no-show concerns. The October 7 plan to hold dual ceremonies in Los Angeles and New York was also dropped.

Despite all the setbacks the evening went ahead and managed to be tasteful enough for the times, occasionally moving and in more moments than might have been thought possible, fun. Host Ellen DeGeneres (above) hit the right tone. 'Welcome to the 53rd, 54th and 55th Emmy Awards,' she said. 'Good evening, seat fillers, security guards, Secret Service personnel and all the wonderful TV stars we love so much who are watching from home.' DeGeneres even came out after one break sporting a version of singer Bjork's eye-popping swan dress from the Academy Awards, saying ' I guess this is business casual.' The reference was to the producer's instructions that the attendees should tone down their attire from the usual awards show glitz.

And so to the awards. Before September 11 the showdown was supposed to be between leading drama nominees The West Wing and The Sopranos. In the comedy section Sex

And The City, Frasier, Everybody Loves Raymond, Will & Grace and Malcolm In The Middle all have the chance of claiming a statue.

Endangered Mermaids

World, 8pm

Manatees (above) are the slow-moving and harmless plant-eating mammals that Columbus once mistook for mermaids. These huge animals, which can be 4.5 metres long and weigh 1,360 kilograms, eat only equatic plants and frequent the shallows of Florida's rivers and costal waters. As the number of people living in Florida grows, the number of manatees shrinks. Many manatees fall victim to dwindling habitats, while others are injured or killed by speedboats. Hundreds of Floridians have joined in an effort to save this captivating animal from extinction.


TCM, 1.30am

What could be better than staying up, pouring yourself a drink and settling back to watch one of the greatest love stories of all time? Humphrey Bogart is Rick Blaine, ex-pro Loyalist and owner of Rick's Cafe in war-torn Morocco. Casablanca is a hotbed of corruption and temporary haven for refugees fleeing from the Nazis before escaping to America. The years have not been kind to Blaine, who has become cynical having been betrayed in love and war. However when his beautiful ex-love Ilsa Lund Laszlo (Ingrid Bergman, above with Bogart) reappears in his life, this time with husband Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid), he is forced to make a decision; whether to rekindle the love they once had or to fight the cause and to help them both to freedom. Directed by Michael Curtiz and also starring Claude Rains, Conrad Veidt and Dooley Wilson as Sam. (1942)

NBA Basketball:

Houston Rockets vs Los Angeles Lakers (live)

ESPN, 10am

Steve Francis and Kevin Willis are in fine form for Houston, but they'll have to be at the top of their game to tip out the all-conquering Lakers fresh from a recent 108-95 demolition of Orlando Magic. Worth a watch just to witness Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal et al in cruise control.

William Wadsworth