THE PEOPLE'S Choice Awards have made their choice - the show will go on without writers.

The ceremony, which typically airs live, will be taped for a Jan. 8 telecast on CBS, a spokeswoman said. Queen Latifah, who was to host, will still be part of the new format.

The Writers Guild of America, which has been on strike for seven weeks, already had flexed its muscle by refusing to participate in the Academy Awards and Golden Globes, the ceremonies that represent Hollywood's biggest promotional showcases.

"We realize there are pressing issues facing the entertainment industry, including the WGA strike, and out of respect for everyone involved this provided an opportunity to pilot a new format this year," spokeswoman Jeannie Tharrington told the Associated Press.

The show will include pre-taped acceptance speeches, as well as responses to questions sent in by fans, according to a People's Choice statement.

Snore.

Putting lipstick on a pig, awards president Fred Nelson said, The "new approach will give fans a more personal glimpse into the lives of their favorite actors and musicians."

Yes, what we need is more of a look into stars' personal lives.

But what choice do they have? With the Screen Actors Guild preparing for its own negotiations with producers next year and stars showing firm support for striking writers, the question has been whether presenters - or even nominees - would show up for an awards show boycotted by writers.

The WGA's action is an attempt to bring the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers back to the table and reach a favorable deal on issues that include compensation for digital media, labor experts said.

* The SAG Awards, airing Jan. 27 on

TNT and TBS, will not have the same problem as the People's Choice Awards.

SAG President

Alan Rosenberg said his union has reached an interim agreement with the striking WGA so the awards show will not be impacted by a lack of writers.

"I know there will be a lot of talk about the strike at the awards show, on the red carpet, and I'm sure during the ceremony," he said. "But I don't think it puts a shadow over it at all. I think it's a chance to celebrate great acting, great writing and great performances."

(For more on the

SAG Awards, see

Page 82.)

* Leaders for stri-

king TV writers plan to meet today with David Letterman's production company to reach a separate deal that could make the "Late Show" the only late-night TV program on the air with a writing staff (and guests who aren't crossing picket lines).

Jay Leno, Conan O'Brien and Jimmy Kimmel have all said they would resume their programs on Jan. 2 without their writing staffs.

Letterman is also aiming for a Jan. 2 return.

"With the WGA now embracing a strategy of offering interim agreements to individual companies, it is inconceivable to us that there is any producing entity more deserving than Worldwide Pants, which has been and continues to be a staunch supporter of the Writer's Guild and its positions," said Rob Burnett, the company's president, in a statement.

Kelly makes it to court

R. Kelly avoided arrest yesterday by showing up in a Chicago court, but the judge presiding over his child pornography case said he'll consider revoking the singer's bond despite his excuse: that police made him late.

Judge Vincent Gaughan said he was "very disappointed" that Kelly, in the midst of a concert tour, failed to show up for a scheduled Wednesday appearance.

Kelly attorney Ed Genson said his client was tardy because police who pulled over his bus in Utah found the rig's log book didn't document enough rest for the driver and ordered it stopped for eight hours.

'Savages' has local tie

Tamara Jenkins, the writer/director of "The Savages" (review Page 61), was in town a few weeks back to talk about her very good movie, rail against producers refusing to negotiate with TV and movie writers and discuss how Philadelphia helped launch her career as a filmmaker, even though she got her start with a theater company in the Boston area for which she wrote a piece based on her family.

"I used photographs from my father's nightclubs in Philadelphia on 15th and Latimer," she said, seated on a couch at the Ritz-Carlton. "This was in the '40s and '50s. There was this tiny little spot my father had, and it would be either a supper club or a nightclub or a strip- club. He would be doing well - he had a compulsive gambling problem - and then he would get in trouble and blow it all and it would get shut down. Then after a while he'd scrounge up the money and rebuild it and reinvent it, and it would be something else. It had about seven identities.

"It was the Black Cat. It was the Bali Hai. The Glass Door. The Mayfair House. At the Black Cat, Blaze Starr used to strip and [Frank] Rizzo was the police captain who used to raid my father's club.

"This was all before my time, and my family was very fractured, but I came across all these beautiful black- and-white photographs, many of them 8 x 10 flash photographs of nightclubs, strippers and my mother, so I did this performance piece where I made slides of all these things and they looked like Ouija photographs. They were gorgeous. And I told this story of my family, this stripclub owner and this hat-check girl . . .

"[My mother] would always say, 'Tammy, I was not a hat check girl, I was a seating hostess. Big difference.' She gets very upset about it. She was a seating hostess at daddy's club and that's how she met my father." *

Daily News wire services contributed to this report.

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