Home Box Office didn't quite clean up at the 50th
Annual Primetime Emmy Awards last week the way it did a year ago, and some big cable
networks came away with just a few token awards, or even empty-handed.
HBO took home 14 Emmys this year -- the most of any cable
network, but fewer than the whopping 19 that it won last year. The premium service placed
third in terms of overall awards this year, behind NBC's 18 and ABC's 16, but
ahead of CBS (eight) and Fox (six).
And despite the fears of the broadcast networks, HBO's
From the Earth to the Moon, which was nominated for 17 Emmys, didn't sweep the
awards. Producer Tom Hanks collected an Emmy for best miniseries, but in total, the $68
million epic tale of the U.S. space program only snared three Emmys, with two for crafts.
All in all, cable won 28 primetime Emmys, including The
Learning Channel's Governor's Award, tying last year's record, according to
the National Cable Television Association. Cable dominated the miniseries and movie
categories, winning 15 Emmys out of 22 categories.
The Emmys took on added significance for cable this year
because it is now the medium's primary awards forum, following the dissolution of the
Behind HBO, Turner Network Television scored the
second-most Emmys for a cable network, with five. Three of those were for its George
Wallace miniseries: John Frankenheimer for director, Gary Sinise for actor and Mare
Winningham for supporting actress. The awards were given on the same night that the former
Alabama governor died, Sept. 13.
In terms of other mass-entertainment cable services,
Showtime and USA Network came up short in the Emmy department. Showtime, which had 17
nominations, won only two Emmys, both for 12 Angry Men. USA didn't win a
single Emmy, even though it had high hopes for its Moby Dick miniseries, which was
a ratings blockbuster and a critical success.
Ironically, several niche cable networks fared better than
USA and Showtime. Discovery Channel won an impressive three Emmys. And Disney Channel,
Nickelodeon and TBS Superstation garnered one apiece.
Among its 14 Emmys, HBO for the sixth straight year walked
off with the award for best made-for-TV movie, for Don King: Only in America. The
telefilm's screenplay also won an Emmy.
And Garry Shandling finally got some respect from the
Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He picked up his first Emmy in the year of his
swan song, for his writing on HBO's The Larry Sanders Show. The show's
director, Todd Holland, also nabbed an Emmy.
"We won, thank God," Shandling said, changing his
tune from past years, when he would say that it was an honor just to be nominated, even if
he didn't win.
"Being nominated means nothing," he joked as he
stood on stage to accept his long-awaited award.
Larry Sanders has only received one other Emmy, for Rip
Torn as best supporting actor in a comedy, two years ago.
Last year, HBO infuriated the broadcast networks when it
won more Emmys than every one of them but NBC. As a result, in a move that cable labeled
as sour grapes, the broadcasters unsuccessfully began lobbying to have cable compete in
its own category. The broadcasters have been particularly peeved about the way that HBO
has dominated the made-for-TV movie category.
In fact, the broadcasters and USA asked ATAS to bar HBO
from submitting Earth to theMoonunder the miniseries category, but
ATAS ruled in favor of HBO.