The Learning Channel offers a closer look at the universe, AMC focuses on cinema cops, and judges scrutinize Miss America contestants to top this week in television.
"The Live Emmy Awards Pre-Show," 6 p.m., E! Joan and Melissa Rivers do what they can to help anticipation build to a frenzy.
"Hope Island," 9 p.m., Channel 51. Sent to establish a new church, a minister is rejected as an outsider in the Pacific Northwest. The drama series is part of the new slate of Pax network original programs.
"Universe 2001: Beyond the Millennium," 9 p.m., TLC. Sure, there are rumors to the contrary, but scientists say that the universe will still be around in 2001. And they are constantly learning more about how it began and how -- later on -- it really may end. Concludes at the same time Monday.
"Raymond" Mini-marathon, 8 p.m., Channel 4. Four episodes of "Everybody Loves Raymond," all season finales, will be shown tonight. ("Raymond" has been on for only three seasons, but the finale in 1998 had two parts.)
"Monday Night Football," 9 p.m., Channel 7. The Monday night institution returns for its 30th season, with the Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos hosting the Miami Dolphins. On this year's broadcast team are play-by-play veteran Al Michaels, analyst Boomer Esiason and reporter Lesley Visser.
"Where the Truth Lies," 9 p.m., Lifetime. When a senatorial candidate is murdered, the campaign coordinator (Marlee Matlin) becomes the prime suspect. And as the trial unfolds, even the defense attorney (Regina King) develops doubts about her innocence. The new made-for-cable movie also stars Susan Walters. Matlin is also the subject of Monday's 3 p.m. "Intimate Portrait" profile.
"Panic," 9:30 p.m., HBO. Successful people, including Kim Basinger, talk about their struggles with the poorly understood medical condition known as panic disorder.
"Pecker," 10:10 p.m., Starz. Not John Waters' best -- or most outrageous -- film, perhaps, but this one has its moments. As usual, there's no lack of goofy irreverence, and Baltimore is affectionately depicted as a place that's just a little different from anywhere else. The 1998 movie stars Edward Furlong and Christina Ricci.
"Bach in Auschwitz," 6:30 p.m., Cinemax. This new "Reel Life" documentary tells the stories of 12 women who survived the Auschwitz concentration camp because they were chosen for an orchestra whose music was intended to make unsuspecting new arrivals more docile as they were led to the gas chambers.
"The Sissy Duckling," 7:15 p.m., HBO. Shunned for his lack of athleticism, Elmer Duckling runs away -- but eventually proves he has what it takes to be a hero. The new animated family special was written by Harvey Fierstein and features the voices of many familiar actors, including Dan Butler and Estelle Getty.
"The Life of Birds by David Attenborough," 8 p.m., Channel 17. In tonight's episode, "The Demands of the Egg," we learn that the hard work of protecting eggs is part of the price that birds pay for being able to fly. If they produced live young, as mammals do, they'd gain too much weight.
"Hollywood Behind the Badge: A Century of Cinema Cops and Detectives," 8 p.m., AMC. From Charlie Chan to the "Die Hard" series, crime stories have been crowd-pleasers. This new documentary looks at the genre, with vintage clips and scenes from classics such as "Touch of Evil" and "The French Connection."
"An American Love Story," 9 p.m., Channel 17. Filmmaker Jennifer Fox tells the story of Karen Wilson and Bill Sims, an interracial couple, and their two daughters. They live in the Queens section of New York City and have been together for 30 years, often facing racial intolerance along with the everyday challenges of a middle-class family. Continues at same time Wednesday and Thursday.
"Behind Closed Doors With Joan Lunden," 10 p.m., Channel 7. The usually very private life of auto racing superstar Jeff Gordon comes into focus when Lunden spends a week with Gordon and his wife, Brooke.
"24-Hour Tribute: Esther Williams," 6 a.m., TCM. This elaborate salute includes 12 films shown in chronological order, starting with "Bathing Beauty" (1944). Featured along with Williams are many other tops stars of her era, including Red Skelton, Van Johnson, Howard Keel and Vivian Blaine, so nostalgia buffs may want to be sure they have plenty of blank tapes on hand.
"The Pelican Brief," 8 p.m., Channel 4. A law student's theory about an assassination cover-up puts her in jeopardy, and she turns to a Washington investigative reporter for help. The 1993 film is based on a John Grisham novel and stars Julia Roberts, Denzel Washington and Sam Shepard.
"Law & Order," 10 p.m., Channel 2. Many season finales are being repeated this week, apparently in the hope of increasing viewer anticipation of the more-or-less-official start of the new season next week. With "Law & Order," there's an added element: The spinoff "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" will debut on Monday.
"Ally Sheedy: Celebrity Profile," 10 p.m., E! Early fame -- remember "The Breakfast Club"? -- was fleeting, and Sheedy has been through tough times in battling addiction and eating disorders, and in overcoming career missteps. But her performance in the 1998 film "High Art" marked the beginning of a comeback.
"Up Close & Personal ... The Search for Miss America 2000," 9 p.m., Channel 7. Here's a chance to meet all 51 contestants before Saturday's pageant in Atlantic City. The hosts will be the current Miss America, Nicole Johnson, and Hollywood reporter Nancy O'Dell.
"Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel," 10 p.m., HBO. Segments on tonight's new edition include "Baseball and Minorities," a report by Larry Merchant in which Joe Morgan criticizes Major League Baseball. Morgan, a Hall of Famer and respected broadcaster, tells Merchant that baseball is not doing enough to increase minority hirings in management or to seek out minority prospects in the United States. Other topics on tonight's show include New York Jets coach Bill Parcells, the Brigham Young University athletic program, and coaches who molest their young players.
"Crash Course," 1:05 a.m., TBS. Unruly teens are tested by a tough driving instructor in this 1988 made-for-TV movie comedy that stars a young Alyssa Milano in her "Who's the Boss?" days, along with Brian Bloom, Harvey Korman and Rob Stone.
"Cliffhanger," 8 p.m., Channel 29. Stunts in dangerous mountain terrain highlight this 1993 action movie set in the Rockies and starring Sylvester Stallone. With Janine Turner as Stallone's girlfriend, and John Lithgow as the leading bad guy, who's after $100 million lost in the mountains.
"The Seven Samurai," 8 p.m., TCM. Akira Kurosawa, TCM's "Director of the Month," released this highly influential Japanese film in 1954; among other things, it led to the American version called "The Magnificent Seven" (1960). Followed at 11:30 by Kurosawa's "Throne of Blood" (1957). Kurosawa died last year at age 88.
"Biography," 8 p.m., A&E. Brian Epstein, the fabled "fifth Beatle" who managed the group during its rise to worldwide acclaim, is tonight's subject; Paul McCartney is among those interviewed. Epstein's death in 1967 was ruled a suicide.
"The Chris Rock Show," 11:30 p.m., HBO. Rock returns for a fourth season of comedy blended with music and talk; additional new episodes will follow at this time on subsequent Fridays.
"The Miss America Pageant," 8 p.m., Channel 7. The 79th annual event in Atlantic City, N.J., will have new hosts this year -- longtime entertainers Donny and Marie Osmond, currently reunited on their own talk show. Receiving the Woman of Achievement award will be Gloria Loring, who stars in "Days of Our Lives" and has been a leader in raising money for diabetes research. And of course, last year's winner, Nicole Johnson of Virginia, will be on hand to crown her successor.
"There's Something About Mary," 8 p.m., HBO. "Gross but funny" would sum up the reaction to this 1998 movie in which Cameron Diaz stars as a woman pursued by both an old suitor (Ben Stiller) and the sleazy detective (Matt Dillon) he hires to track her down. (Rated R)
"Wild Discovery," 8 p.m., Discovery. The plains zebra of Africa is said to be one of the most adaptable and successful of the grazing species. Though they may all look alike to the casual observer, plains zebras live in a well-defined social order, with males fighting off each other to build harems of up to six females.
"AFI's 100 Years ... 100 Stars," 10 p.m., Fox Family Channel. Here's another chance to catch this American Film Institute special in which 50 current stars pay tribute to 50 screen legends -- 25 men and 25 women -- of the past.
"Saturday Night Live," 11:30 p.m., Channel 2. Ricky Martin is the musical guest in this rebroadcast that also features host Cuba Gooding Jr.