News

Sex Is a Winner for Cable

11/05/2001 4:51 AM Eastern

Cable broke through a glass ceiling of sorts at the 53rd Annual
Primetime Emmy Awards Sunday, as Home Box Office's Sex and the City won
the award for best comedy series.

It's the first time a cable show has won in either the coveted best comedy or
best drama categories.

'Before, there's always been an assumption that you couldn't win [as a cable
series]. This proves you can,' Sex producer Darren Star said
backstage.

The series' writing team attributed the win to their attempt to be darker and
more complicated in tone this year.

The Sopranos stars Edie Falco and James Gandolfini won in acting
categories, but their show was beaten again as best drama by NBC's The West
Wing
.

Gandolfini's win was considered a bit of an upset backstage. People who
viewed his nomination tape -- an episode in which his character beats his
mistress -- called the submission weak compared with the episode submitted on
behalf of Martin Sheen.

Bradley Whitford of West Wing said he was surprised that the HBO show
didn't win best drama this year.

'The Sopranos is a great show, and they didn't win last year, and
there seems to be affection for both shows,' he said. 'Most of our cast and crew
watch and enjoy The Sopranos.'

Bryce Zabel, president and CEO of the Academy of Television Arts &
Sciences, said the organization decided to go ahead with a third attempt at an
Emmy telecast Nov. 4 after they found that statistically, only one in six World
Series go to a seventh game.

They lost their gamble, leaving the awards show in a viewership struggle with
the baseball contest.

Zabel expressed annoyance that Fox Broadcasting Co. announced Emmy winners
during the game. That informed East Coast viewers, who could have watched either
the Emmys or the series live, but it could have cost the ceremony viewers on the
West Coast, where the Emmy show aired on a tape-delayed basis after the
ballgame.

Overall, HBO won 16 Emmys during the two ceremonies (Sunday and Sept. 8's
creative-arts awards), finishing in a tie with NBC.

Other statues were awarded to productions on Bravo (three for
Dralion); Discovery Channel (three); Sci Fi Channel (two); Turner Network
Television (two); and A&E Network, American Movie Classics, Comedy Central
and Nickelodeon (one each).

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