The sophomore season seems to be the charm for Academy of Television Arts & Sciences voters, who chose “NYPD Blue” to receive the Primetime Emmy Award as outstanding drama series, leaving “ER” facing the exact situation “Blue” confronted a year ago.
Indeed, the irony was inescapable. In 1994, the Steven Bochco series was the hottest new show on television, won six Emmys and was beaten out for best drama by a second-year series, “Picket Fences.” Over the weekend, “ER” – the hottest new show on television – won eight Emmys but was denied the biggest prize by a second-year series.
Over the last eight years only two freshman dramas – “Picket Fences” (1993) and “thirty-something” (1988) – have been honored in their first season.
Another second-year show, “Frasier,” was a repeat winner in the comedy category, while “ER” still pulled off a historic feat – tying “Hill Street Blues’ ” 14-year-old record for most Emmys (eight) in a single year. With the medical drama leading the way, NBC claimed 28 Emmys in all, believed to be the most for a single network since the Peacock web claimed 34 in 1986 – the year before cable became eligible for Emmy consideration.
By contrast, ratings leader ABC received just six Emmys (half of them for “Blue”), the lowest for one of the Big Three networks in modern Emmy history. HBO tallied 15 Emmys – the second biggest total for the pay service, including its third consecutive win for outstanding movie – while CBS received 19.
Emmy highlights also included the fifth award for lead actress in a comedy series to Candice Bergen for “Murphy Brown,” the most ever won by a performer for a single series.