Oh, all right, we're not that cynical about the 48th annual Emmy presentations, airing Sunday night on ABC at 8:00 P.M ET and PT. Sure, the series with the most nominations--ER, (17); Chicago Hope, (15); The Larry Sanders Show, (12); and Frasier, NYPD Blue and Seinfeld with 11 each--are exactly the same as the top group for the 47th annual Emmys. But they're all deserving productions that manage to keep quality high, some of them for years on end. Seinfeld (founded 1990), everybody agrees, really recharged this past season, with the "Soup Nazi" and all.
That said, there's still plenty to track, for those of you who like to watch with a checklist in one hand and a bowl of trail mix in the other. In fact, if you've got another hand free you can watch the TV Academy's Webcast, with live, backstage interactivity, hosted by Florence Henderson, who played mom Carol on The Brady Bunch, asking "tough questions" of the celebrities, the Academy promises, if you can believe such a thing.
For instance, how will HBO's Larry Sanders make out? It racked up more nominations than any network comedy show, a first for cable. In fact, it's won 30 nominations in its four-year run--and never won a single award.
Talk about tough competition, look at the best dramatic actor slot. Andre Braugher broke into the nominees' club, the first nod ever for NBC's Homicide: Life on the Street. But Dennis Franz is the man to beat, for his gripping season-ender as a bereaved father on ABC's NYPD Blue. The other contenders: George Clooney and Anthony Edwards of NBC's ER and Jimmy Smits of NYPD.
And will the much-nominated, never-elected Angela Lansbury get an Emmy on sentimental grounds as best dramatic actress, now that CBS' Murder She Wrote has run out of residents of Cabot Cove to off? Probably not. Gillian Anderson of Fox's The X-Files, Kathy Baker of CBS' Picket Fences, Christine Lahti of CBS' Chicago Hope and Sherry Stringield of ER comprise a strong field.
On the comedy side, will John Lithgow grab the best-actor statuette in his first season on NBC's Third Rock from the Sun? On one hand, the Academy doesn't favor newcomers; on the other hand, it loves movie actors who switch to the tube. Lithgow will have to best some very funny men in the persons of Kelsey Grammer (NBC's Frasier), Paul Reiser (NBC's Mad About You)--hey, did we mention he hosts the Emmy show this year?--NBC's Jerry Seinfeld and Garry Shandling (The Larry Sanders Show).
Best shows? You want predictions? Give us a break. On the drama side, ER got a pile of nominations on its first outing last year but lost out on best series--and some think the Academy likes to wait till the second year at least before shining on a show. But NYPD looked awfully good and Chicago Hope, NBC's Law & Order and The X-Files are no slouches. For comedy, maybe the fact that the Friends cast got no nods is a bad sign, or maybe not. The other guys: Frasier, Larry Sanders, Mad About You and Seinfeld.