With less than 48 hours left before the Academy Awards ceremony, viewers can still catch a non-Oscar ceremony, the kind of competition that forced the once-predominant movie awards show to move up a month.
Tonight, real-life husband and wife team Bradley Whitford ("The West Wing") and Jane Kaczmarek ("Malcolm in the Middle") are hosts of the 56th annual Writers Guild Awards (6 p.m., Encore), honoring the year's best-written film and television scripts. Between the Golden Globes, the Writer's Guild, the Director's Guild, the Screen Actor's Guild and the Critics Choice, you can watch an awards show practically every weekend from the end of the Christmas holidays to the Oscars themselves. And don't miss the Independent Spirit Awards Saturday night.
Viewers can also anticipate the big night by watching previous Oscar-winning films, including "Oliver" (4:30 p.m., Turner Classic Movies); "Platoon" (7 p.m., A&E); "Unforgiven" (7 p.m., Encore); "From Here to Eternity" (7 p.m., Turner Classic Movies) and "West Side Story" (9 p.m., Turner Classic Movies).
- Every TV season features at least one nontalented blond actress who shows up on random sitcoms. A few years back it was Jenny McCarthy, who became a frequent guest after her forgettable NBC series crashed and burned. Pamela Anderson Lee also took time from her busy "VIP" schedule to make frequent cameos. This season's airhead apparent is clearly Paris Hilton. The petulant "Simple Life" star appears on tonight's episode of "George Lopez" (7 p.m., ABC). She portrays a tutor who provides young Max with more distraction than education.
Tonight's other highlights
- After classmates circulate embarrassing photos, Joan feels violated on "Joan of Arcadia" (7 p.m., CBS).
- B-list stars keep their letters straight on the two-hour finale of "The Great American Celebrity Spelling Bee 3" (7 p.m., Fox).
- Bruce Willis stars in the 1998 thriller "Mercury Rising" (7 p.m., UPN). Not to be confused with the 1998 sea-monster movie "Deep Rising" (7 p.m., TBS), starring Treat Williams ("Everwood").
- A traumatized Mac undergoes a personality change on "JAG" (8 p.m., CBS).
Toby Lightman performs on "Late Show with David Letterman" (10:35 p.m., CBS) ... Jay Leno welcomes James Caviezel and Los Lonely Boys on "The Tonight Show" (10:35 p.m., NBC).