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The 50th Annual Emmy Awards

Jane Leeves and Anthony Edwards announce the 1998 Emmy nominees

Windows Media: 28k or 56k
Real: 28k or 56k

Networks trump cable in Emmys bids

Web posted on: Thursday, July 23, 1998 10:33:41 AM EDT

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- Cable may be infringing on the major networks in ratings, but its Emmy power is still not as strong. NBC led the way on Thursday with 86 nominations from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for the 50th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards. HBO was second with 72 nods, pushed along by its controversial miniseries "From the Earth to the Moon."

ABC followed with 54 nominations and CBS was next with 36.

The nominations were announced this morning from Los Angeles.

While "The X-Files" and "E.R." tied for the most nominations to a dramatic series with 16 each, the miniseries "From the Earth to the Moon," HBO's sweeping chronicle of America's space program, received a leading 17 nominations.

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The cable docudrama about the NASA moonshots of the late 1960s and early 1970s had been the focus of a protest by broadcast networks, who felt the 12-part program produced by Tom Hanks was too lengthy to be considered as a miniseries.

Competing with Hank's space miniseries and the NBC miniseries "Merlin," which received 15 nods, were Showtime's "Armistead Maupin's More Tales of the City," TNT's "George Wallace" and USA's "Moby Dick."

'Ally McBeal' enters comedy fray

Among the nods for the best comedy series were "Seinfeld," which had one of the highest rated finales in television history when it went off the air in May. Other nominees for best comedy series: "Ally McBeal," "Frasier," "The Larry Sanders Show," and "3rd Rock From the Sun." "Frasier" is going for an Emmy record five wins in a row, something no show -- comedy or drama -- has ever accomplished.

"And that includes shows like 'Hill Street Blues,' which was an Emmy favorite for years and years," says David Hiltbrand of TV Guide. "And on the comedy side, 'The Dick Van Dyke Show,' 'All in the Family,' 'Cheers.' None of them ever won five times. 'Frazier' could do it and do it in its fifth season, which is incredible."

"Ally McBeal," meanwhile, was going for its first win. A newcomer to the competitive comedy series category and the only hour-long comedy series entry, the offbeat Fox series about young lawyers received a total of 10 bids.

COMEDY SERIES NOMINEES

"Ally McBeal"
Clip: 1.3Mb QuickTime

"Frasier"
Clip: 1.1Mb QuickTime

"The Larry Sanders Show"
Clip: 940k QuickTime

"Seinfeld"
Clip: 1.1Mb QuickTime

"3rd Rock From the Sun"
Clip: 1.4Mb QuickTime

In the best actress in a comedy series category, Ellen Degeneres of "Ellen," Jenna Elfman of "Dharma and Greg," Calista Flockhart of "Ally McBeal," Helen Hunt of "Mad About You," Kirstie Alley of "Veronica's Closet," and Patricia Richardson of "Home Improvement" were honored.

And in the best actor in a comedy series category, "Frasier"'s Kelsey Grammer, John Lithgow of "3rd Rock From the Sun," Paul Reiser of "Mad About You," Michael J. Fox from "Spin City," and Garry Shandling from "The Larry Sanders Show," which came to an end in May after six seasons on the air, were tapped.

Drama series nominees

Best drama series nominees included "E.R.," "Law & Order," "NYPD Blue," "The Practice" and "The X-Files." Both Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny of "The X-Files" series were nominated for their respective categories, as were Anthony Edwards and Julianna Margulies of "E.R."

Two of the lead actors in "NYPD Blue," Jimmy Smits and Dennis Franz, were also nominated for the lead actor in a drama series, along with their show. Rounding out the best actor nominees for the category was Andre Braugher of "Homicide: Life On the Street."

"I think that this is 'The X-Files' year," Hiltbrand predicts. "I really do think that with the movie coming out, it had a very strong season, this could be the (show's) year to win best drama."

DRAMA SERIES NOMINEES

"E.R."
Clip: 870k QuickTime

"Law & Order"
Clip: 1.3Mb QuickTime

"NYPD Blue"
Clip: 1.2Mb QuickTime

"The Practice"
Clip: 1.2Mb QuickTime

"The X-Files"
Clip: 1.1Mb QuickTime

Two of the lead actors in "NYPD Blue," Jimmy Smits and Dennis Franz, were also nominated for the lead actor in a drama series, along with their show. Rounding out the best actor nominees for the category was Andre Braugher of "Homicide: Life On the Street."

Jane Seymour of "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman," which was cancelled two months ago by CBS, was nominated for best actress in a drama series, as were Roma Downey of "Touched By an Angel" and Christine Lahti of "Chicago Hope."

The four-hour 50th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards ceremony will be held on September 13, airing live on NBC.

New venue, several hosts

In the past, prominent faces like CBS "Public Eye" anchor Bryant Gumbel and "Mad About You" star Paul Reiser have hosted the Emmy awards ceremony. But this year, producer Don Mischer announced earlier this week, the 50th anniversary Emmy Awards will not be hosted by just one person. Instead, veteran actors and fresh faces are to take turns playing host during the awards, Mischer said.

"We want it to feel like the entire television industry has come together for this night," Mischer told the Television Critics Association on Monday.

In another shift from tradition, the Emmy awards ceremony is moving to the Shrine Auditorium after years in the Pasadena Civic Auditorium.

The Shrine can accommodate a bigger audience and offers a larger stage. For the first time, a limited number of seats will be available to the public, although details on ticket distribution have yet to be announced.

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