NBC, the No. 1 network in ratings, dominated the competition last night at the 48th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards.
It was a clean sweep in comedy for the Peacock Network, with Julia Louis-Dreyfus winning the first major honor as best supporting actress for "Seinfeld" and setting a pattern that held straight through for Helen Hunt as best actress in "Mad About You," John Lithgow as best actor in "Third Rock from the Sun" and "Frasier" as best comedy series.
NBC also won the top honor in drama with its hit medical show, "ER," named best drama series.
ABC managed to take home one of the top Emmys with Dennis Franz's victory as outstanding actor in a drama series for "NYPD Blue." CBS highest honor went to Kathy Baker as best actress in a drama series for "Picket Fences," a series that the network has canceled.
The acceptance speeches from NBC generally sounded the sophisticated tone of the network's hit comedies, as when "Frasier" producer Peter Casey accepted the award by saying, "Our show sends a message to the pompous, long-winded and incessantly fussy of America: There is a place for you."
Lithgow, holding his Emmy upside down, quoted his character, saying, "God bless television."
Louis-Dreyfus accepted by saying, "A lot of people say that our show is about nothing, but of course it's been about plenty of something for me." It was her first Emmy after failing with four previous nominations for her work on "Seinfeld." She was wearing a mint dress far more conservative than the wide-open number she donned at last year's Emmy telecast.
ABC and NBC led going into Sunday's program, with each having won 11 statuettes in creative art categories awarded in a non-televised prelude Saturday. HBO was next with eight trophies, followed by CBS with five. Fox Broadcasting's "The X-Files" was the leading show, with four Emmys in the non-televised creative arts awards Saturday night.
NBC's "Homicide," which managed only three nominations overall, lost in two of the categories Saturday. Lily Tomlin, who appeared in a "Homicide" episode titled "The Hat," lost to Amanda Plummer for her appearance on "The Outer Limits," while Pat Moran and Lou DiGiaimo lost to Debi Manwiller in the category of outstanding individual achievement in casting for a series.
Besides Plummer, guest actor awards on Saturday went to Peter Boyle, Tim Conway and Betty White for guest appearances on "The X-Files," "Coach" and "the John Larroquette Show," respectively.
The third "Homicide" nominee -- star Andre Braugher -- went into last night's competition with two nominations, one as best actor in a drama series for "Homicide" and the other as best supporting actor in a miniseries for his performance in HBO's "Tuskegee Airmen." The Emmy as best supporting actor in a minseries went to Tom Hulce for his performance in TNT's "The Heidi Chronicles," while Franz topped Braugher as best actor.
The closest competition for NBC came from HBO and CBS. HBO was led by two awards each for "Dennis Miller Live" and "Rasputin." Alan Rickman and Greta Scacchi won as best actor and best actress in "Rasputin," a made-for-TV movie.
CBS won two awards for "The Kennedy Center Honors" -- one for best variety, music or comedy special, the other for directing. Tyne Daly of "Christy" and Ray Walston of "Picket Fences" also won as best suuporting actress and actor in a drama series. Like "Picket Fences," "Christy" has also been canceled.
Amid growing concern about sex and violence on TV, a new President's Award was given for programs with a social conscience. It went to "Blacklist: Hollywood On Trial" from cable channel AMC.
There was more honor for NBC in the telecast itself, with Paul Reiser, star of NBC's "Mad About You," as host.
In an interview before the telecast, Reiser said his main goal was to keep the show moving at a brisk pace. "You know what this show is really all about? You got a room full of antsy people going, 'Just keep it moving and get to my category, please.' " But Reiser also acknowledged the audience beyond the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in front of their television sets, saying, "In that regard, it can be a thankless job, because everybody's got an opinion the next morning about how you did."
Reiser did all right. He kept his opening monologue short, but warmed the house with crisp and timely jokes.
"There's a lot of talk about politics this year with the family hour and such. I don't know about politics -- I'm just an actor," he said. "I mean, I don't know if it takes a village to raise a child, but I know it takes a village to get cable."
The theme of the telecast was TV honoring its past as the academy celebrated its 50th anniversary. None of the montages of old clips were knockout, but they were brief and tightly edited enough that it didn't matter.
Reiser received comedy help from a variety of places ranging from Milton Berle's schtick to Garry Shandling's topical humor.
Shandling prefaced his material by saying, "I want you to know I ran all my jokes by Dick Morris' hooker, and she thought they were hilarious," refrring to the president's adviser who resigned in late August when it was revealed that he read President Clinton's and Vice President's Gore's speeches to her before they delivered them.
The Emmy winners
Here are the rest of the winners of the 1996 Primetime Emmy Awards, announced last night and Saturday by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences:
Directing in a comedy series: "Friends: The One After the Superbowl," NBC.
Directing in a drama series: "Chicago Hope: Leave of Absence," CBS.
Directing in a variety or music program: "The Kennedy Center Honors," CBS.
Directing for a miniseries or a special: "Andersonville," TNT. Editing for a series -- Single camera production: "JAG: Pilot," NBC.
Editing for a miniseries or a special -- Single camera production: "Tuskegee Airmen," HBO.
Editing for series -- Multi-camera production: "Frasier: The Show Where Diane Comes Back," NBC.
Editing for a miniseries or a special, multi-camera production: "20 Years of Comedy on HBO," HBO.
Graphic design and title sequences: "Caroline in the City," NBC.
Lighting direction (electronic) for a comedy series: "Home Improvement: Room Without a View," ABC.
Lighting direction for a drama series, variety series, miniseries or special: "The 68th Annual Academy Awards," ABC.
Music composition for a series: "Picture Windows: Language of the Heart," Showtime.
Music composition for a miniseries or special: "The Canterville Ghost," ABC.
Music direction: "Sinatra: 80 Years My Way," ABC.
Music and lyrics: "Bye Bye Birdie: Let's Settle Down," ABC.
Main title theme music: "Murder One," ABC.
Guest actor, comedy series: Tim Conway, "Coach: The Gardener," ABC.
Guest actor, drama series: Peter Boyle, "The X-Files: Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose," Fox.
L Actor, miniseries or special: Alan Rickman, "Rasputin," HBO.
Guest actress, comedy series: Betty White, "The John Larroquette Show: Here We Go Again," NBC.
Guest actress, drama series: Amanda Plummer, "The Outer Limits," Showtime.
Actress, miniseries or special: Helen Mirren, "Prime Suspect: Scent of Darkness," PBS.
Supporting actor, comedy series: Rip Torn, "The Larry Sanders Show," HBO.
Supporting actor, drama series: Ray Walston, "Picket Fences," CBS.
Supporting actor, miniseries or special: Tom Hulce, "The Heidi Chronicles," TNT.
Supporting actress, comedy series: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, "Seinfeld," NBC.
L Supporting actress, drama series: Tyne Daly, "Christy," CBS.
Supporting actress, miniseries or special: Greta Scacchi, "Rasputin," HBO.
Individual performance, variety or music program: Tony Bennett, Tony Bennett Live By Request: A Valentine Special," A&E.;
President's Award: "Blacklist: Hollywood on Trial," AMC.
Miniseries: "Gulliver's Travels," NBC.
Television movie: "Truman," HBO.
Variety, music or comedy series: "Dennis Miller Live," HBO.
Variety, music or comedy special: "The Kennedy Center Honors," CBS.
Cultural program: "Itzhak Perlman: In The Fielder's House (Great Performances)," PBS.
Children's program: "Peter and the Wolf," ABC.
Informational special: "Survivors Of The Holocaust," TBS.
L Informational series: "Time Life's Lost Civilizations," NBC.
Animated program (For programming one hour or less): "A Pinky & the Brain Christmas Special," WB.
Special visual effects, series or special: "Gulliver's Travels," NBC special.
Writing, comedy series: "Frasier: Moon Dance," NBC.
Writing, drama series: "The X-Files: Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose," Fox.
Writing, variety or music program: "Dennis Miller Live," HBO.
Writing, miniseries or special: "Gulliver's Travels," NBC.
Informational programming: (tie): "The Private Life of Plants," TBS; "Survivors of the Holocaust," TBS.
Animation: "Shakespeare: The Animated Tales: The Winter's Tale," HBO.
Governors Award: TBS Inc.'s "The Native Americans: Behind the Legends, Beyond the Myths" and USA Network's "Erase The Hate" campaign.
Art direction for a series: "Murder One: Chapter One," ABC.
Art direction for a miniseries or a special: "Gulliver's Travels: Part One," NBC.
Art direction for a variety or music program: "Muppets Tonight: With Special Guest Star Tony Bennett," ABC.
Hairstyling for a series: "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman: When a Child is Born," CBS.
Hairstyling for a miniseries or a special: "Gulliver's Travels: Part 1," NBC.
Makeup for a series: "Star Trek: Voyager: Threshold," UPN.
Makeup for a miniseries or a special: "Kissinger and Nixon," TNT.
Sound editing for a series: "The X-Files: Nisei," Fox.
Sound editing, miniseries or a special: "Tuskegee Airmen," HBO.
Sound mixing, comedy series or a special: "Frasier: Kisses Sweeter Than Wine," NBC.
Sound mixing, variety or music series or a special: "Music for the Movies: The Hollywood Sound," PBS.
Sound mixing, drama series: "The X-Files: Nisei," Fox.
Sound mixing, drama miniseries or special: "Harvest of Fire (Hallmark Hall of Fame Presentation)," CBS.
Technical directioncameravideo, series: "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno, No. 914," NBC.
Technical directioncameravideo, miniseries or special: "Sinatra: 80 Years My Way," ABC.
Casting for a series: "Chicago Hope," CBS.
Casting for a miniseries or special: (tie) "Truman," HBO; "Tuskegee Airmen," HBO.
Choreography: "1995 Miss America Pageant," NBC.
Cinematography for a series: "The X-Files: Grotesque," Fox.
Cinematography for a miniseries or a special: "Rasputin," HBO.
Costuming for a series: "Cybill: Where's Zoey?," CBS.
Costuming for a miniseries or a special: "The Christmas Box," CBS.
Costume design for a series: "Remember WENN: Hillary Booth Registered Nurse," AMC.
Costume design for a miniseries or a special: "Pride & Prejudice: Part 1," A&E.;
Costume design for a variety or music program: "The Best of Tracey Takes On...," HBO.
The Top Six
Here are the key awards from last night's Emmy's ceremony:
Drama series: "ER," NBC
Comedy Series: "Frasier." NBC.
Actor, drama series: Dennis Franz, "NYPD Blue," ABC.
Actress, drama series: "Kathy Baker, "Picket Fences," CBS.
Actor, comedy series: John Lithgow, "3rd Rock From the Sun," NBC.
Actress, comedy series: Helen Hunt, "Mad About You," NBC.
Pub Date: 9/09/96