Emmy NotebookOld favorites among early Emmy winners"West Wing" and NBC's "Will & Grace" take the first two awards. Jeremy Piven also honored
By Susan King Los Angeles Times
Staff Writer August 27, 2006
Two of television's longest-running shows, NBC's political drama "The West Wing" and the network's comedy "Will & Grace" took the first two Emmys tonight for supporting actor and actress.
Megan Mullally won her second Emmy as the spoiled Karen Walker, while Alan Alda picked up his sixth Emmy (he's received 32 nominations) for his role as the unsuccessful Republican presidential candidate on "The West Wing." Both shows ended their multi-season runs in May.
Blythe Danner won her second consecutive supporting actress in a drama series for Showtime's "Huff," which was canceled after its second season ended this year.
The only new face in the mix so far is Jeremy Piven, who received his first Emmy for outstanding actor in a comedy series as the pushy Hollywood agent Ari Gold in HBO's "Entourage."
Scottish actress Kelly Macdonald received best supporting actress in a movie or miniseries for her role as a young activist in the HBO movie "The Girl in the Cafe." That category was somewhat shadowed by controversy over the nomination of Ellen Burstyn for her 14-second appearance in "Mrs. Harris," also on HBO. Some critics had used it as an example of the problems with the Emmy's new nominating rules this year.
The NBC show, which is being telecast live to the East Coast and tape delayed for airing here in Los Angeles, got off to a satirical start, with host Conan O'Brien invading the sets of many popular television series on his way to the Shrine Auditorium, including "Lost," "The Office," "24" and "House." He also performed a song-and-dance spoof set to the tune of "Trouble" from "The Music Man," reflecting NBC's rating woes.
O'Brien's song and early jokes hit some of television's challenges head on, as he talked about the growing nervousness over the Internet, TiVo and controversy around this year's Emmy voting rules.
ABC's Grey's Anatomy" and NBC's "The Office" are among the leading contenders for the 58th annual Emmy Awards, which begins from Los Angeles' Shrine Auditorium at 5 p.m.
However, since the nominations were announced in July, the Emmys have been shrouded in controversy. New rules were put into place to help newer shows and performers have a better chance of being nominated. Television critics have complained that the nominations had grown staid over the years, with the same faces and shows dominating the proceedings.
But the new rules by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences seemed to have backfired with last year's top drama "Lost" failing to receive a nomination and last year's multi-winner comedy "Desperate Housewives" and its high-profiled stars also coming up empty. Other veteran winners such as James Gandolfini and Edie Falco of HBO's "The Sopranos" also were shut out of the lead actor and lead actress categories.
Unlike past years, where the academy members chose the nominees, a selected group of panelists chose the five nominees in the top categories, including best drama, comedy and acting. And because many TV fans' favorites are missing in action this year, there's some fear that viewership for the Emmy awards will suffer. In fact, ABC is airing "Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl" opposite NBC's Emmy telecast.
Also, HBO is airing finales for two of its acclaimed shows: "Deadwood" and "Entourage."
It could be a sentimental night for NBC's "The West Wing," which bid its farewell in May after seven seasons and 25 Emmy wins - just one award short of a record in the drama series category. Vying for best drama series along with "West Wing" and "Grey's Anatomy" are Fox's terrorist thriller "24," "The Sopranos," and Fox's top-rated medical series "House."
In the best comedy category, the canceled Fox series "Arrested Development" will face off against HBO's "Curb Your Enthusiasm," NBC's "The Office" and "Scrubs," and CBS' ribald "Two and a Half Men."
The evening also will include a sentimental tribute to the legendary producer and "American Bandstand" host Dick Clark, who suffered a stroke in late 2004, by "American Idol's" Simon Cowell, along with a performance of the "Bandstand" theme song by Barry Manilow. Manilow was scheduled for hip surgery but during an interview on the red carpet he told NBC that he postponed the procedure so he could perform for his longtime friend.
The academy will also pay respects to the late TV producer Aaron Spelling, the mogul behind "Dynasty," "Charlie's Angels" and "The Mod Squad."
The bulk of the 2006 Emmys were awarded at the Creative Arts ceremony, also at the Shrine, on Aug. 19. HBO topped the list of winners, with 17 - five of them went to the miniseries "Elizabeth I."
ABC led the broadcast networks with 10, followed by NBC with eight, CBS, Fox and PBS with seven each and Cartoon Network with four.
Among the awards handed out were Cloris Leachman, for outstanding guest actor in a comedy series for Fox's "Malcolm in the Middle" - her eighth Emmy win, making her the winningest female performer in Emmy history. She's also nominated tonight for supporting actress in a movie or mini-series for "Mrs. Harris."
Leslie Jordan won for guest actor in a comedy series for NBC's "Will & Grace."http://theenvelope.latimes.com/award...home-headlines