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With 'ER,' 'Frasier,' the NBC peacock rules Emmy roost A cut above at Emmys

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Pasadena, Calif. -- "ER" didn't win Emmy awards in the major categories last night, but the NBC medical drama won enough Emmys to tie records set in 1981 by "Hill Street Blues" for most wins by a series in one year and by a new series.

"ER" picked up three trophies at the 47th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards ceremony broadcast on Fox TV -- for directing, writing and supporting actress -- giving the series a total of eight; it picked up five during non-televised awards Saturday.

This year's Emmy Awards ceremony proved bountiful for NBC, which won 28 of the awards overall. NBC's "Frasier" dominated the comedy series category, winning as best comedy, with Kelsey Grammer and David Hyde Pierce taking best actor and supporting actor honors. "Frasier" also won for best comedy directing and writing.

NBC also dominated the prestigious made-for-television movie/mini-series category, with three Emmys for "Serving in Silence: The Margarethe Cammermeyer Story" -- best actress for Glenn Close, best supporting actress for Judy Davis and best writing for Alison Cross.

"Our differences and our diversity have always been one of the God-given strengths of this country," Close said in accepting her award. One of NBC's sweetest awards, though, had to be a surprise Emmy for "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" in the Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series category. Leno beat out "The Late Show With David Letterman."

"As my dad would say, 'fight the good fight,' " Leno said in his acceptance speech.

NBC headed into the awards with an edge as the leader in nominations and preliminary trophies given in weekend ceremonies.

NBC had a total of 96 Emmy nominations, including 23 for "ER," followed by CBS with 91 and cable's Home Box Office with 50. ABC had 42 bids, while Fox Broadcasting Co. had 19.

CBS' star was Candice Bergen, who broke an Emmy record last night when she repeated as best lead actress in a comedy series for her depiction of a hard-driving journalist-mom in "Murphy Brown." She won the same award in 1994, 1992, 1990 and 1989, becoming the winningest performer in a lead series role.

Other CBS winners were Kathy Baker, from "Picket Fences" as best actress in a drama series, and Mandy Patinkin as best actor in a drama series, for his role in "Chicago Hope."

Barbra Streisand made HBO a winner, grabbing two Emmys for "Barbra Streisand: The Concert."

In her acceptance speech, Streisand noted that it had been 30 years since her last Emmy. But this one, she said, was more significant because of "so many doubts that I had over so many years of not performing. You know, would I, I mean could I do it? Would my voice be there? Would the people still pay to see me?"

ABC's biggest moment came in the finale when "NYPD Blue" won as best dramatic series.

The telecast itself was fast and flat. It clipped along nicely, but there were no memorable moments. Cybill Shepherd and Jason Alexander served as co-hosts, and they were mismatched in terms of more than height.

From the first moment they came on stage as dance partners and Shepherd pulled Alexander's head into her breasts, you knew it was going to be Shepherd at her obnoxious worst. Her very worst moment was during a segment outside the hall when her microphone failed and she seemed even sillier than usual in her exaggerated mugging.

Alexander lacked sparkle, but was at least competent. Twice he found himself in the audience trying to kill time. On his second try, he had co-star Julia Louis-Dreyfus stand and show off her revealing black Gianni Versace dress -- "dispelling the I'm-just-one-of-the-guys image," in Alexander's words. It wasn't a great moment in the history of improvisation, but at least Alexander was reacting onstage to what many viewers were surely talking about in their homes.

This was Don Mischer's second year as executive producer, and he managed to ruin one of the most powerful musical moments in the history of Broadway when he failed to provide proper audio for the foot stomping on "Berta, Berta" from "The Piano Lesson," which was performed last night by cast members including Baltimore's Charles Dutton.

PRIME CHOICES

Here is a selective list of winners of the 47th Annual Primetime Emmy awards:

Drama series: "NYPD Blue," ABC.

Comedy series: "Frasier," NBC.

Lead actor, drama series: Mandy Patinkin, "Chicago Hope," CBS.

Lead actress, drama series: Kathy Baker, "Picket Fences," CBS.

Guest actor, drama series: Paul Winfield, "Picket Fences: Enemy Lines," CBS.

Supporting actor, drama series: Ray Walston, "Picket Fences," CBS.

Guest actress, drama series: Shirley Knight, "NYPD Blue: Large Mouth Bass," ABC.

Supporting actress, drama series: Julianna Margulies, "ER," NBC.

Lead actor, comedy series: Kelsey Grammer, "Frasier," NBC.

Lead actress, comedy series: Candice Bergen, "Murphy Brown," CBS.

Guest actor, comedy series: Carl Reiner, as Alan Brady, "Mad About You: The Alan Brady Show," NBC.

Supporting actor, comedy series: David Hyde Pierce, "Frasier," NBC.

Guest actress, comedy series: Cyndi Lauper, "Mad About You: Money Changes Everything," NBC.

Supporting actress, comedy series: Christine Baranski, "Cybill," CBS.

Mini series: "Joseph," TNT.

Television movie: "Indictment: The McMartin Trial," HBO.

Lead actor, miniseries or special: Raul Julia, "The Burning Season," HBO.

Supporting actor, miniseries or a special: Donald Sutherland, "Citizen X," HBO.

Lead actress, miniseries or a special: Glenn Close, "Serving in Silence: The Margarethe Cammermeyer Story," NBC.

Supporting actress, miniseries or special: (tie) Judy Davis, "Serving in Silence: The Margarethe Cammermeyer Story," NBC. Shirley Knight, "Indictment: The McMartin Trial," HBO.

Individual performance, variety or music program: Barbra Streisand, "Barbra Streisand: The Concert," HBO.

Variety, music or comedy series: "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," NBC.

Variety, music or comedy special: "Barbra Streisand: The Concert," HBO.

Directing in a comedy series: "Frasier: The Matchmaker," NBC.

Directing in a drama series: Mimi Leder, "ER," NBC.

Directing in a variety or music program: "The 67th Annual Academy Awards," ABC.

Directing for a miniseries or a special: "The Burning Season," HBO.

Music composition for a series: "SeaQuest DSV," NBC.

Music composition for a miniseries or a special: "Young Indiana Jones and the Hollywood Follies," The Family Channel.

Music direction: "Barbra Streisand: The Concert," HBO.

Music and lyrics: "Barbra Streisand: The Concert," HBO.

Main title theme music: "Star Trek: Voyager," UPN.

Writing, comedy series: "Frasier," NBC.

Writing, drama series: "ER: Love's Labor Lost," NBC.

Writing, variety or music program: "Dennis Miller Live," HBO.

Writing, miniseries or special: "Serving in Silence: The Margarethe Cammermeyer Story," NBC.

Cultural program (individual achievement): "Two by Dove (Great Performances -- Dance In America)," PBS.

Cultural program: "Verdi's 'La Traviata' " with the New York City Opera (Live from Lincoln Center)," PBS.

Children's program: "The World Wildlife Fund Presents 'Going, Going, Almost Gone! Animals in Danger,' " HBO.

Informational special: "Taxicab Confessions," HBO; "The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Presents: One Survivor Remembers," HBO.

Informational series: "Baseball," PBS; "TV Nation," NBC.

Animated program: "The Simpsons," Fox.

Art direction for a series: "Cybill: Virgin, Mother, Crone," CBS.

Art direction for a miniseries or a special: "Scarlett, Episode 1," CBS.

Art direction for a variety or music program: "Late Show with David Letterman: Show No. 379," CBS.

Cinematography for a series: "Chicago Hope: Over the Rainbow," CBS.

Cinematography for a miniseries or a special: "My Antonia," USA.

Costume design for a series: "Avonlea: Strictly Melodrama," The Disney Channel.

Costume design for a miniseries or special: "A Woman of Independent Means" (Part 1), NBC.

Costume design for a variety or music program: "Men, Movies and Carol," CBS.

Special visual effects: "Earth 2," NBC. "Star Trek: Voyager," UPN.

Governors Award: The Public Broadcasting System.

Syd Cassyd Founders Award: Larry Stewart for service to the academy.

Charles F. Jenkins Lifetime Achievement Award: Julius Barnathan for contributions to TV production and distribution.

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