A Closer Look At Music On Television This Week

Fine Tuning - A weekly column highlighting music-related television programming (for the week of Dec. 1-7, 2003).

No need to worry now that that Thanksgiving meal is finally digested. There's still plenty of holiday stuffing on television to keep you happy this week.

The biggest musical broadcast event is Monday's World AIDS Day MTV2 airing of footage from the 46664 concert, taped Nov. 29 in Cape Town, South Africa. Named for the number worn by Nelson Mandela while he was imprisoned for 27 years, the event was staged to raise awareness of the continuing threat of the AIDS epidemic. Among the performers were Bono, the Eurythmics, Paul Oakenfold, 50 Cent, Anastacia, Beyoncé, Johnny Clegg & Savuka, the Corrs, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Baaba Maal and Queen.

The broadcast will surely provide a rare moment of gravity at the dawn of this festive time, and hopefully raise funds and further awareness of the plight of so many around the world.

Nonetheless, there will be plenty of folks seeking the levity that the season invariably offers, and there's more of it this week, for sure.

Wednesday will bring NBC's sixth-annual "Christmas In Rockefeller Center" broadcast. As one of the world's most famous Christmas trees is lit in New York, the likes of Enrique Iglesias, the Brian Setzer Orchestra, Harry Connick Jr., Ashanti, Kelly Clarkson and Ruben Studdard will be on hand to perform holiday songs in a show hosted by Ann Curry and Al Roker of "Today." Also expected are Martin Sheen, Stockard Channing, Elisabeth Moss, Christopher Meloni, Mariska Hargitay and Tracy Morgan.

New York-area viewers will get an extra hour of entertainment, as the national broadcast starts at 8 p.m. ET, while local flagship affiliate WNBC will cover the show's kick-off at 7 p.m. ET.

On Friday, "A Barry Manilow Christmas" will be the order of the day on A&E's "Live by Request." The veteran performer will belt out holiday favorites on demand with the help of pals Cyndi Lauper and Bette Midler.

Country fans looking to get in the holiday spirit will need to look no further than competing networks CMT and Great American Country. On Friday, the former will present Clint Black's "Christmas in Cowboy Country." While exploring the riches the Rocky Mountains has to offer ? from a parade in Oklahoma City to a dude ranch celebration in Steamboat Springs, Colo., Black's planning to put the "yee-haw" back into the holiday.

On Saturday, look out for "A Great American Country Winterfest Chistmas." Taped at the Louise Mandrell Theater in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., the event will boast performances from the likes of Steve Azar, Lee Ann Womack, Rebecca Lynn Howard and Mandrell herself.

A most delicious celebration can be expected when the Food Network presents "Emeril's Happy Happy Holidays" on Wednesday. In addition to dishing up tasty vittles, the show will serve a substantial offering from the Boys Choir of Harlem, too.

Other special highlights include Barenaked Ladies, Liam Lynch and Triumph the Insult Comic Dog Sunday night on "Comedy Central Presents the Commies"; Chicago, Kiss, 'N Sync and Blu Cantrell cavorting the same night on "Playboy's 50th Anniversary Celebration" on A&E; and DMX, P.O.D., Kelis, Bubba Sparxxx, Andrew W.K. and Lil' Kim flexing their talents on Thursday during "Spike TV's Video Game Awards."

There's also plenty of music on the talkers, too. Look for Tori Amos Monday night on Leno, Murphy Lee Tuesday on Kimmel, LeAnn Rimes Wednesday on Regis & Kelly, Joe Jackson Thursday on Kimmel and Stevie Wonder and Alicia Keys Friday on Leno. To top things off, Pink will perform on the Al Sharpton-hosted "Saturday Night Live."