NBC was a big winner and an even bigger loser at last night's 50th annual Emmy Awards.
Andre Braugher, of the NBC drama "Homicide: Life on the Street," and stars in three of the network's key sitcoms won the major acting awards last night.
But the network was also saddled with the longest and one of the least memorable Emmy telecasts ever -- four hours of flat clip packages, tedious standing features and a couple of lame musical numbers.
The win for Braugher and "Homicide," produced in Baltimore, was especially sweet after six years of the show's being shortchanged by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences because it's made outside Hollywood.
After thanking executive producers Tom Fontana and Barry Levinson, among others, Braugher said: "This is for all the people in Baltimore. This is a town I love. We finally made it."
Braugher left the series at the end of last season. This year's nomination was his third.
"I've been at it for four years, and thought I might win before, but didn't. So, what can I say, I was very prepared not to win," Braugher said in a post-show interview, adding that the statue will stand on the television in his family's new home in New Jersey.
Other big winners in the comedy series categories for NBC were Helen Hunt of "Mad About You," who won as outstanding actress, and Kelsey Grammer of "Frasier," who won as outstanding actor. David Hyde Pierce, also of "Frasier," won as best supporting actor in a comedy, while Lisa Kudrow, of "Friends," won as best supporting actress. "Frasier" also won as outstanding comedy series for a record fifth consecutive time.
The success of all three sitcoms is crucial to NBC maintaining its ratings lead, with "Frasier" moving to Thursdays to replace the departed "Seinfeld" and "Mad About You" expected to hold down the fort on Tuesdays.
ABC enjoyed some success last night with David E. Kelley's "The Practice" winning as best drama and Steven Bochco's "NYPD Blue" taking home several key Emmys. "NYPD Blue" won for best supporting actor (Gordon Clapp), best writing in a drama series (David Milch) and best directing in a drama series (Paris Barclay). Even Bochco's failed "Brooklyn South" won a major Emmy, as Mark Tinker tied Barclay for best direction in a drama series for the "Brooklyn South" pilot last year.
The made-for-TV movie honors were dominated by cable channel TNT's "Wallace" and HBO's "Don King: Only in America." "Wallace" won for best director (John Frankenheimer), best lead actor (Gary Sinise) and best supporting actress (Mare Winningham). "Don King" won for best writing (Kario Salem) and as best TV movie.
In addition to "Don King," HBO won two Emmys for "The Larry Sanders Show" and one for "Dennis Miller Live." Garry Shandling's Emmy for writing on "Larry Sanders" was his first. HBO's "From the Earth to the Moon," which was produced by Tom Hanks, won as outstanding miniseries.
The biggest losers were "Ally McBeal," the most popular new series of the year, and "Seinfeld," which ended its run in May. Neither won a major Emmy.
In four hours, there was no shortage of best and worst moments -- mainly worsts.
The best acceptance speeches: "I also want to thank the people of Baltimore, because I once worked there, too," Grammer said, mimicking Braugher. Camryn Manheim of "The Practice," who won for outstanding supporting actress in a drama series, said, "This is for all the fat girls." Louis V. Horvitz, who won for best direction in a variety or music special, was directing last night's Emmy telecast and, sitting in his director's chair, called camera shots and cued music as he delivered his own acceptance speech. A clever bit of on-stage/backstage deconstruction.
The funniest video clip: In a night of mainly tedious clips, a five-second snippet of a monkey washing a cat took the honors. It came from "The Late Show With David Letterman," which won as outstanding variety, music or comedy series. Dave sent the monkey clip in lieu of the requisite head shots of him and the other writers nominated for writing for a variety or music program.
Most self-important windbag speech: NBC anchor Tom Brokaw saying, "We're not perfect, those of us who bring you the world through that electronic window." Did he actually call television his "yellow brick road"? Yes, he did.
Worst standing feature: The quiz segments that were sometimes used as the telecast went to commercials.
Worst montage in a night of endless packages of montage tributes to television's 50 years: The cut that took us from the body of a slain Bobby Kennedy to Sally Field as the Flying Nun. Sorry, hard as I try to be postmodern, the logic of that one escapes me.
50th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards
Winners of the 1998 Primetime Emmy Awards:
Drama series: "The Practice," ABC
Comedy series: "Frasier," NBC
Miniseries: "From the Earth to the Moon," HBO
Actress, drama series: Christine Lahti, "Chicago Hope," CBS
Actor, drama series: Andre Braugher, "Homicide: Life on the Street," NBC
Actress, comedy series: Helen Hunt, "Mad About You," NBC
Actor, comedy series: Kelsey Grammer, "Frasier," NBC
Actress, miniseries or movie: Ellen Barkin, "Before Women Had Wings (Oprah Winfrey Presents)," ABC
Actor, miniseries or movie: Gary Sinise, "George Wallace," TNT
Supporting actor, drama series: Gordon Clapp, "NYPD Blue," ABC
Supporting actor, comedy series: David Hyde Pierce, "Frasier," NBC
Supporting actress, comedy series: Lisa Kudrow, "Friends," NBC
Supporting actress, drama series: Camryn Manheim, "The Practice," ABC
Supporting actor, miniseries or movie: George C. Scott, "12 Angry Men," Showtime
Supporting actress, miniseries or movie: Mare Winningham, "George Wallace," TNT Guest actor in a comedy series: Mel Brooks, "Mad About You," NBC
Guest actor in a drama series: John Larroquette, "The Practice"
Guest actress in a comedy series: Emma Thompson, "Ellen," ABC
Guest actress in a drama series: Cloris Leachman, "Promised Land," CBS
Made for television movie: "Don King: Only in America," HBO
Variety, music or comedy series: "Late Show with David Letterman," CBS
Variety, music or comedy special: "The 1997 Tony Awards," CBS
Classical music-dance program: "Yo-Yo Ma: Inspired by Bach," PBS
Children's program: "Muppets Tonight," Disney Channel, and "Nick News Special Edition: What Are You Staring At?" Nickelodeon
Non-fiction special: "Discovery Sunday -- Vietnam POWs: Stories of Survival," Discovery Channel Non-fiction series: "The American Experience," PBS
Animated program (for programming one hour or less): "The Simpsons," Fox
Voiceover performance: Hank Azaria as Apu, "The Simpsons," Fox
Individual achievement in animation: "Spawn," HBO
Directing for a comedy series: Todd Holland, "The Larry Sanders Show," HBO
Directing for a drama series: Mark Tinker, "Brooklyn South," CBS, and Paris Barclay, "NYPD Blue," ABC (tie)
Directing for a variety or music program: Louis J. Horvitz, "The 70th Annual Academy Awards," ABC
Directing for a miniseries or a movie: John Frankenheimer, "George Wallace," TNT
Writing for a comedy series: Peter Tolan and Garry Shandling, "The Larry Sanders Show," HBO
Writing for a drama series: Bill Clark, Nicholas Wootton, David Milch, "NYPD Blue," ABC
Writing for a variety or music program: "Dennis Miller Live," HBO
Writing for a miniseries or a movie: Kario Salem, "Don King: Only in America," HBO
Art direction for a series: "The X-Files," Fox
Art direction for a miniseries or a movie: "Merlin, Part I," NBC
Art direction for a variety or music program: "Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella (The Wonderful World of Disney)," ABC
Casting for a series: Lou DiGiaimo, Pat Moran, Brett Goldstein, "Homicide: Life on the Street," NBC
Casting for a miniseries or a movie: "From the Earth to the Moon," HBO
Choreography: "Fame L.A.," syndicated
Cinematography for a series: Constantine Makris, "Law & Order," NBC
Cinematography for a miniseries or a movie: "What the Deaf Man Heard," CBS
Commercial: Apple Computer, "Think Different"
Costuming for a series: "NewsRadio," NBC
Costuming for a miniseries, movie or a special: "The Pentagon Wars," HBO
Costume design for a series: "The Magnificent Seven," CBS
Costume design for a miniseries or a movie: "Merlin," NBC
Costume design for a variety or music program: "Tracey Takes On...," HBO
Single-camera picture editing for a series: "The X-Files, Kill Switch," Fox
Single-camera picture editing for a miniseries or a movie: "Gia," HBO
Multi-camera picture editing for a series: "Frasier: Room Service," NBC
Multi-camera picture editing for a miniseries, movie or a special: "Stomp Out Loud," HBO
Hairstyling for a series: "Tracey Takes On ...: Smoking," HBO
Hairstyling for a miniseries, movie or a special: "From The Earth to The Moon," HBO
Lighting direction (electronic) for a comedy series: "Home Improvement: A Night to Dismember," ABC
Lighting direction (electronic) for a drama series, variety series, miniseries, movie or a special: "The 70th Annual Academy Awards," ABC
Main title design: "The Wonderful World of Disney," ABC
Makeup for a series: "Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Surprise/Innocence," WB
Makeup for a miniseries, movie or a special: "Merlin," NBC
Music composition for a series (dramatic underscore): "Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Becoming, Part 1," WB
Music composition for a miniseries or a movie (dramatic underscore): "Glory & Honor," TNT
Music direction: "The 70th Annual Academy Awards," ABC
Music and lyrics: "The Simpsons," Fox, song title: "You're Checkin' In (A Musical Tribute to the Betty Ford Center)"
Main title theme music: "Fame L.A.," syndicated
Special visual effects for a series: "Yo-Yo Ma: Inspired By Bach: The Sound of the Carceri," PBS
Special visual effects for a miniseries or movie: "Merlin: Part 1," NBC
Cinematography, nonfiction programming: "National Geographic Special: America's Endangered Species: Don't Say Good-bye," NBC
Pub Date: 9/14/98