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The 50th Annual Emmy Awards
David Hyde Pierce shows off his Emmy award backstage
The biggest night on TV

'Friends,' 'Frasier' stars add to NBC's Emmys wins

Web posted on: Sunday, September 13, 1998 9:15:55 PM

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- The first award of the 50th Primetime Emmy Awards went to Lisa Kudrow of "Friends," who took home her first Emmy for outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series, while David Hyde Pierce won for outstanding supporting actor in a comedy for his role as Kelsey Grammer's younger brother on "Frasier."

It was Kudrow's third nomination.

Pierce had faced competition including "NewsRadio"'s Phil Hartman, who was killed this past summer.

Pierce was a gracious winner, and had a special message for his fellow nominees. "I just want to congratulate you on some of the greatest performances on some of the greatest shows on TV in history," he said.

Peter Tolan (left) and Garry Shandling

'This is for all the fat girls!'

Camryn Manheim of ABC's "The Practice" scored a victory in the category of outstanding supporting actress in a drama series. It was her first Emmy nomination, and she was bursting with excitement.

"This is amazing!" she shouted. "I brought my autograph book, I hope you all will sign it, especially the four women in my category. This is for all the fat girls!"

Gordon Clapp of ABC's "NYPD Blue" won for outstanding supporting actor in a drama series.

"Someone just asked me what my favorite television moment was, and I think it just changed," Clapp said upon accepting the award.

George C. Scott won the award for outstanding supporting actor in a miniseries or movie for his role in "12 Angry Men," the Showtime remake of the classic.


WINNERS:

List updated throughout ceremony

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Who do you think should win the major Emmy nominations this year?


HBO's "The Larry Sanders Show," which aired its finale this past season, captured two awards early. Garry Shandling, the show's creator, and Peter Tolan took home an Emmy for outstanding writing for a comedy series; Todd Holland took home television's top prize for outstanding director of a comedy series.

Several awards were handed out for variety/music programs. HBO's "Dennis Miller" team won outstanding writing for a variety or music program, the fourth writing Emmy for the show.

Billy Crystal won an Emmy for outstanding performance in a variety or music program for his work hosting the 70th Annual Academy Awards.

"No one should complain that the Oscars are the longest show on television ever again," Crystal joked, referring to the planned four-hour Emmy broadcast.

"Mr. Television" Milton Berle and legend Sid Caesar joke around backstage after receiving a standing ovation with Bob Hope

A look back at TV history

Meanwhile, the biggest night on television celebrated its 50th year on Sunday with a ceremony propelled by nostalgia and star power.

The awards got underway before a star-studded Shrine Auditorium, and the show was headed to a four-hour celebration of the highlights of television history, with clips being shown from Emmys and TV shows past.

The pre-show, hosted by Bob Costas, set the tone for the show that will take a look back at 50 years of television.

For instance, the first standing ovation of the night went to a triumvirate of comedy television pioneers -- Milton Berle, Bob Hope, and Sid Caesar. A stage curtain opened to reveal the three, to heavy applause from the crowd. Hope, whose health has declined in recent years, sat in a director's chair.

The show also featured the top 10 television milestones, as voted by a panel of television critics. Several celebrities recalled their favorite television memories.

Lisa Kudrow won an Emmy for best supporting actress for her work on the NBC sitcom "Friends"

Advantage NBC

NBC headed into Sunday's 50th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards with a clear edge over other networks, holding the most nominations and 12 trophies presented previously for creative arts honors.

Emmys in 27 categories were to be presented by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

NBC's "ER" and Fox's "The X-Files" were among the leading series nominees with 16 bids each. NBC's "Frasier" was the top comedy nominee with 11 nods, while Fox's "Ally McBeal" had 10 nominations.

The creator-producer of "Ally McBeal," David Kelley, took the unusual step of entering the hour-long show about a young attorney in a category that traditionally honors half-hour comedies.

"From the Earth to the Moon," HBO's 12-part, Tom Hanks-produced epic tale of the space program, was the most-nominated entry overall with 17 bids.

"Merlin," the special effects-laden NBC miniseries about the legendary magician who helped King Arthur rule, had 15 bids. It topped the list of programs honored at the earlier ceremony, winning four creative arts trophies.

Emmys move to new home

NBC was the most-nominated network with 86, followed by HBO with 72. ABC had 54 bids, CBS received 36 and Fox had 35.

The Emmy ceremony swapped its home of two decades, the Pasadena Civic Auditorium, for the roomier Shrine this year. Audience capacity was doubled to about 6,000, making more tickets available to industry members and, for the first time, to the public.

Sunday's show had audiences in 92 foreign countries. Last year, the academy estimated a half-billion viewers in 90 countries.

In a non-televised ceremony on August 29, awards in categories including outstanding choreography, editing and makeup were announced.

Besides the 12 trophies presented before the ceremony to NBC, eight early awards each went to ABC and HBO. Fox won five and CBS won four.

Four acting awards for guest roles also were presented early. They went to Mel Brooks for "Mad About You," Emma Thompson for "Ellen," Cloris Leachman for "Promised Land" and John Larroquette for "The Practice."

In the second year of the Emmy award for best commercial, Apple Computer Inc. received the trophy for its "Think Different" entry.

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