‘Merlin’ casts spell

Mini's four creative Emmys put Peacock in lead

NBC and its big bucks miniseries “Merlin” conjured up Emmy magic Saturday night, with the Peacock web coming out far ahead of its rivals in the creative arts portion of the 50th annual Primetime Emmy Awards.

“Merlin,” the Robert Halmi-produced multi-parter that scored big Nielsens for NBC last May, landed four trophies, including kudos for costume design and visual effects.

NBC, which leads the web field with a total of 86 Emmy bids, bagged 12 wins in the 52 creative arts categories awarded Saturday at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium. The remaining awards in top program and performer categories will be handed out Sept. 13 in a four-hour kudocast carried live on NBC. The creative arts awards ceremony will be telecast for the first time ever Sept. 11 on the TV Land cabler.

So far, ABC and HBO, with eight wins apiece, trail NBC. Among individual programs, “The 70th annual Academy Awards” and “The Simpsons” each picked up three trophies Saturday to rank second to “Merlin.” “The Simpsons” snared its fifth statuette for best animated series.

In the kidvid arena, the Disney Channel’s “Muppets Tonight” and Nickelodeon’s “Nick News Special Edition: What are You Staring At?” shared the honor for children’s program.

Emmy voters favored Oscar-winner Emma Thompson for guest actress in a comedy series for her perf on ABC’s now-canceled “Ellen.” At the other end of the thesp spectrum, the nod for guest comedy actor went to Mel Brooks for his memorable turn as Uncle Phil on NBC’s “Mad About You.”

Dramatically speaking, John Larroquette added another Emmy to his collection for his guest shot on ABC’s “The Practice.” Cloris Leachman, no stranger to Emmy herself, won as guest actress in a drama for her perf on CBS’ “Promised Land.”

And Emmy’s nod for best blurb went to the thinkers behind Apple Computer’s ubiquitous “Think Different” campaign, designed by ad agency TBWA Chiat/Day.

A complete list of Saturday’s Emmy winners is available here.

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