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WORTH NOTING ON TV

WEDNESDAY

The American Teacher Awards (The Disney Channel, 7 p.m. to conclusion): There's nothing wrong with actors or athletes being showcased by awards shows on TV, but it's nice to see other professions take a bow once in a while, especially ones not used to the spotlight. Filling that gap is the chief virtue of this celebrity-laden event, carried live from Washington's historic Warner Theatre and timed to air during American Education Week.

The show honors 36 teachers from across the country in12 categories like ``English,'' ``athletic coach,'' and ``general elementary.'' Viewers see the now-familiar production device of video profiles of each honoree and such famous presenters as Alan Alda, Tony Danza, and Mark Harmon.

American Playhouse (PBS, 9-11 p.m.): The deservedly long-running drama series opens its 14th season with a dramatization of ``Ethan Frome,'' Edith Wharton's powerful, haunting story about a romance between a married man and a younger woman, with its famous sled ride at the end.

Liam Neeson (``Schindler's List'') plays Ethan, a poor farmer in 19th-century Massachusetts. His unpleasant wife is portrayed by Joan Allen (``Searching for Bobby Fisher''); Patricia Arquette (``True Romance'') is the orphaned cousin who comes to help and ends up falling in love with Ethan.

Help Not Wanted: An MTV News Report (MTV, 10-10:30 p.m.): It's a bleak job market out there, at least according to the young people who took part in a poll recently conducted by MTV in connection with this program. The results - if it's any news - show that the young feel the timing is wrong and that they're overeducated for what's available.

This documentary profiles several young people - among them college students and a dissatisfied temporary worker - to get a feel for the economic realities they face. The show visits Chicago's ``Hamburger University,'' where McDonald's management trainees prepare for service-industry jobs, and Labor Secretary Robert Reich is interviewed.

Please check local listings for these programs.

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