TV Showdown: Jacko vs. Joe Millionaire

Tonight's viewing quandary comes down to this: Michael .. Jackson vs. Michael Jackson vs. Joe Millionaire -- with a little Everybody Loves Raymond thrown in.

It is the most jam-packed night of TV watching in recent memory.

What's fan to do? How can you get to see it all?

Well, you can't. But with at least one extra VCR in another room, here's a plan of attack that might get you through this.

Here's the problem:

On NBC, you have a special two-hour edition of Dateline -- Michael Jackson Unmasked -- detailing the many ways in which the singer has surgically rearranged his face. This airs from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m.

On ABC, there's a repeat airing of Living with Michael Jackson, the now-infamous, two-hour interview imported from England which first aired on ABC Feb. 6. That's also on from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. Rounding out an entire night of Jacko-mania on ABC is a new edition of Primetime from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m., recapping all the recent Jackson hoopla.

On Fox, you have the two-hour finale of Joe Millionaire from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Here's what to do:

If you're setting priorities, then Joe Millionaire has to be top of the list.

If you've been following the show, of course you have to find out how it ends. And even if you haven't been a devotee for the last six weeks, this is the show everyone will be talking about tomorrow morning, so you have to be on board.

Now -- of the two Michael Jackson specials, at least NBC's is new. ABC's lineup can be pretty much discounted because (a) Primetime doesn't contain much new information, and (b) most of us have already seen Living with Michael Jackson.

And even if you missed it earlier this month on ABC, you can catch it this Thursday night at 10 on VH1, right after Jackson's rebuttal special airs on Fox (from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.).

As for Michael Jackson Unmasked on NBC, I suggest forgetting the first hour to see Joe Millionaire and then tuning in for the second hour of Unmasked at 10. How much of Jacko's plastic surgery do you need to see anyway? One hour should be plenty.

That leaves CBS, which, ironically has dominated Monday nights in the ratings all season long.

Since it's the sweeps, the CBS lineup is all-new tonight, so if you simply must see them, here's where that extra VCR would come in handy.

If not, these episodes will be repeated more than once before next September so you can save yourself the trouble of taping.

Gee, that wasn't so hard, was it?