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Firing Line Debate (PBS, 9-11 p.m.): As if the contentious subject of the religious right needed more stirring up, it is now the focus of this volatile and rhetorically entertaining debate, which provides more fun than many of the seasons' new network sitcoms.

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The topic is ``Resolved: We Need Not Fear the Religious Right,'' with William F. Buckley Jr. acting as host and captain of a team arguing - guess which way - in favor of the trouble-making resolution. Heading the opposing group is Ira Glasser, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union. The moderator is Michael Kinsley of The New Republic magazine. * SUNDAY

The Emmys (ABC, 8 p.m.- conclusion, E.T.): The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (ATAS) will hand out its prime-time prizes in a splashy display of stars, acts, and winners' speeches, aired live from the Pasadena Civic Auditorium. Behind the scenes, things aren't all that cheery and collegial this year: CBS, NBC, and Fox are unhappy over an exclusive four-year deal ATAS has negotiated with ABC to broadcast a ceremony that has usually alternated among the networks. At press time the slighted networks hadn't bought tickets for the ceremony or taken out ads in ATAS's Emmy magazine.

But even if the officials don't show, the people who really count as far as viewers are concerned - the stars - will be there in numbers far too great to recite here. The host for this 45th edition of the annual event is Angela Lansbury, star of the series ``Murder, She Wrote'' and herself a 13-time Emmy nominee. Among the features is a look back at notable moments on TV over the years. And Paula Poundstone ``covers'' the Emmy telecast itself backstage, using the same comic approach seen in her behind-the-scenes presence at last year's political conventions.

Booknotes (C-Span, 8-9 p.m., E.T.): The guest is Madeline Cartwright, author of ``For the Children: Lessons From a Visionary Principal; How We Can Save Our Schools''

Please check local listings for these programs.

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