Pilots steer on course to victories

'24,' 'Bernie Mac' among initial outing winners

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The first time’s the best time for Emmy voters.

Pilot episodes performed particularly well at Sunday’s kudocasts, continuing a recent trend of voters favoring efforts associated with premiere episodes.

The pilot of “Six Feet Under” snagged a statuette for Alan Ball (who already has an Oscar for “American Beauty.”)

And TV vets Robert Cochran and Joel Surnow earned a win for their work on the pilot of Fox’s “24,” while even Larry Wilmore seemed surprised at his comedy writing win for “The Bernie Mac Show’s” initial outing.

“This isn’t supposed to happen for first-year shows,” he said.

But actually, pilots have a pretty good track record at the Emmys.

Classic shows like “ER,” “The Practice,” “Cheers” and “Hill Street Blues” are among the more famous examples of first-year shows scoring wins with their pilot segs.

One main reason pilots do so well is that they generally cost more (leading to better production values). In addition, because first segs often are months in the making, scribes and helmers have much more time than usual to get things right.

The trend was also evident in last week’s Creative Arts Emmys, where “Enterprise,” “Alias” and “Smallville” all got lucky by winning statuettes for their pilots.

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