Sunday, July 15, 2001

Some viewers thank Academy for nothin'

Emmy nominations list same old stars

By John Kiesewetter
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        PASADENA, Calif. — Everybody loves Raymond, and Malcolm is in the middle of contention for a prime-time Emmy Award.

        But why no nomination for Brad Garrett, the older brother on CBS' hilarious Everybody Loves Raymond? The other four stars — Ray Romano, Patricia Heaton, Doris Roberts and Peter Boyle — were nominated Thursday by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

        Why no nomination for Bryan Cranston, the daffy dad on Fox's Malcolm in the Middle? Raymond and Malcolm wouldn't work without these guys.

        And why has Ted Danson's Becker, one of the funniest shows on TV, always been snubbed? Or Buffy the Vampire Slayer? Or the Drew Carey Show?

        Because academy members go for the familiar. You sometimes wonder how much TV they watch. Those of us in the real world would offer a radically different slate of Emmy finalists.

        Up and down the Emmy list are the usual suspects: Kelsey Grammer, Calista Flockhart, John Lithgow, Dennis Franz, Andre Braugher, David Hyde Pierce, Tyne Daly, James Gandolfini, Peter MacNicol, Jennifer Aniston and Lisa Kudrow.

        It's not that Kelsey and Calistaaren't good performers. And most viewers will agree that The Sopranos and The West Wing deserve to lead all shows with 22 and 18 nominations, respectively.

        We're just tired of seeing the same TV stars hog all the hardware. We love Dennis Franz, and know that NYPD Blue couldn't exist without him, but we'd love to have seen Rick Schroder nominated, too.

        It must drive Buffy and Becker fans bonkers that their shows were totally ignored, while Bette, Three Sisters, Norm, Xena, Taxicab Confessions and The E! True Hollywood Story each received one nomination. In fact, the entire WB network was shut out! You'd think the WB would at least get one nomination for outstanding hair styling. All the WB kids have great hair.

        The West Wing viewers must be happy to see Brad Whitford make the cut this year, along with Martin Sheen, Rob Lowe, Richard Schiff, Allison Janney, Stockard Channing (who joins the cast full-time this fall) and John Spencer (who deserves the best supporting actor statue this year). But fans of The Practice must be scratching their heads over the exclusion of Dylan McDermott, Steve Harris, Camryn Manheim and Michael Badalucco. Go figure.

        Once and Again fans who were thrilled to see Sela Ward win last year won't see her deserving co-stars — Billy Campbell, Evan Rachel Wood, Julia Whelan, Susannah Thompson — win anything on Sept. 16.

        A few lucky newcomers penetrated the exclusive Hollywood club this year. Michael J. Fox retired, opening the way for Malcolm's Frankie Muniz as best comedy actor. Juliana Margulies left ER, enabling Marg Helgenberger from CSI: Crime Scene Investigation to slip into the lead drama actress group. ER's Maura Tierney got the nod over Holland Taylor from The Practice.

        Malcolm, in its second season, somehow managed to knock out Friends from the best comedy category. Usually it takes four or five years for academy members to discover a great “new” comedy, like Everybody Loves Raymond.

        Sure, CBS' CSI was a surprise hit. But was Ms. Helgenberger the reason? We would have preferred to see either of the Gilmore Girls, Alexis Bledel or Lauren Graham, be rewarded with a nomination. Or Janel Moloney from The West Wing, or Laura Innes from ER.

        Denis Leary of The Job also got jobbed. So did Tom Cavanagh of Ed and Chi McBride from Boston Public.

        At least TV viewers can take solace in the fact that NBC has canceled John Lithgow's 3rd Rock from the Sun. Maybe Ted Danson, Bryan Cranston, Drew Carey or Denis Leary will have a shot next year.
       TV Critic John Kiesewetter is reporting from the Television Critics Association's summer press tour.


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