A spooky Zen question: if tonight's New Zealand Television Awards never actually screen on television, did they really happen? And if they did happen, did our small-screen luvvies receive their gongs to the sound of one hand clapping?

Whatever the case - apparently the awards aren't screening because of rugby - having cast an eye down the nominations, we at TimeOut are proposing a few telly awards we'd like to see ...

Lifebuoy award for making the soap last: Shortland Street. Ten years old but curiously absent from the nominations for the telly awards. You have to wonder if someone's launched a "Get Shorty" campaign.

Biggest black hole for $4 million of New Zealand On Air money: LoveBites. This "comedy" was based on a Film Commission-funded turkey called Hopeless. How much money do you need to develop one bad idea?

Best mystifying use of a word: Murray Mexted. Again. Having found new uses for "egregious," the Mex rediscovered "crepuscular" during the warm up to an All Black test. Nobody knew what the hell he was talking about. The word means dim.

The Silver Sewer Award for investigative journalism: Unsolved. Apparently the title doesn't refer to the findings of an investigation into how it got on the box.

Best surprise entry for a sword'n'sandals babe in the telly award's comedy category: Xena: Warrior Princess. A joke surely? No, apparently she's funny. That's funny-ha-ha.

The Golden Plunger for best magazine series: Mucking Hot DIY Changing Property Rescue. We never miss it - no matter how badly the television is blocked by the pile of stuff we felt compelled to pick up at the hardware store.

Telly nutter of the year: Tim Balme for his turn on Mercy Peak. Mad as a cut snake and twice as funny. Was there method in his madness or was he just overacting?

Six of the best for misuse of an hour of prime time: Class Reunion. All involved should have been made to stand in a corner until they promised not to do it again.

Best ancient joke uncovered by a comedy (archaeological division): A tie between Willy Nilly and The Life And Times Of Te Tutu.

The life sentence for mistreatment of furniture (sponsored by La-z-boy): The Chair.

The Skellerup rubber glove for best idiot caught in a reality show: After seconds of thought, we decided on the many, many Americans caught with dope at Auckland Airport on Border Patrol. Trade protectionism at its finest.