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48th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards

48th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards (Sun. (8), 8-11 p.m., ABC) Broadcast live from the Pasadena Auditorium by Dick Clark Prods., in association with ABC Entertainment Inc. Producer, Al Schwartz; coordinating producer, Michael B. Seligman; director, Louis J. Horvitz; writers, Barry Adelman, Carol Leifer, Jon Macks, Kevin Rooney, Bruce Vilanch; production designer, Bob Keene; musical director, Tom Scott; production supervisor, John M. Best. Host: Paul Reiser. No medium celebrates itself as relentlessly and repeatedly as television, from the milestones to the minutiae, from the seasonal reruns to the endless revisits with everyone from Rod Serling to Archie Bunker to Kunta Kinte to J.R. Ewing. So perhaps it was to be expected that in jumping the gun on itself by celebrating half a century of prize-winning TV two years early, the 48th annual Primetime Emmy Awards seemed a double stretch: Several endless hours of been there, done that, on the one hand; and the truly scary thought of what the advertised 600 million viewers worldwide will do for the next two years. Given the theme a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the creation of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences it was perhaps preordained that we'd see any number of clips drawn from the shows available in whole on any given afternoon or latenight. Thank goodness, then for Dennis Miller, who gets the Ray Walston Second Chance Award with two wins and who thus got to express his appreciation to Michael Fuchs twice for bringing him back "from the scrap heap." Thank goodness, too, for Tyne Daly, who injected some mystery into the proceedings: Accepting her Emmy for supporting actress in a drama series for "Christy," an obviously nervous Daly thanked producer Barney Rosenzweig, "for giving me a graceful and honorable way to work myself out of a very bad situation." Well, that kept the folks guessing all night during an evening in which no amount of graceful pacing (kudos to director and Emmy winner Louis Horvitz) could make up for the dearth of surprises or the lameness of the material provided by a platoon of writers for host Paul Reiser. The "Mad About You" star was offering his regrets less than five minutes into the 180-minute ABC broadcast, and he never recovered. Even the "NYPD Blue" duo of Dennis Franz a second-time winner and Jimmy Smits seemed embarrassed by their lines. The acceptances, limited to 30 seconds, still overflowed with more laundry lists than anyone will care to remember. "I say this is the golden age" of television, said Academy president Richard Frank, celebrating programming diversity and "a new sense of social awareness" since the days of Edgar Bergen (Frank's first forebear in the position) before announcing the first president's award, a citation that really ought to have been an honor, not a competition, no matter how worthy the nominees. A very glamorous-looking Oprah Winfrey turned on the great TV blender, with a montage of clips, and so "I Love Lucy," the Beatles on Ed Sullivan, "Roots," "War and Remembrance" and the final episode of "MASH" all came out in the frozen margarita of our collective memory and maybe they do. But even Mr. Television himself, Milton Berle, was uncharacteristically stolid. A little of the old anarchy would have been welcome. So it was refreshing to hear "Chicago Hope's" Christine Lahti mispronounce winner Greta Scacchi's name and co-presenter John Lithgow, of "3rd Rock from the Sun" confidently mispronounce it a different way. "Sometimes that light coming from the television acts as a beacon," Oprah intoned. Then again, sometimes it's just a really annoying light.

48th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards (Sun. (8), 8-11 p.m., ABC) Broadcast live from the Pasadena Auditorium by Dick Clark Prods., in association with ABC Entertainment Inc. Producer, Al Schwartz; coordinating producer, Michael B. Seligman; director, Louis J. Horvitz; writers, Barry Adelman, Carol Leifer, Jon Macks, Kevin Rooney, Bruce Vilanch; production designer, Bob Keene; musical director, Tom Scott; production supervisor, John M. Best. Host: Paul Reiser. No medium celebrates itself as relentlessly and repeatedly as television, from the milestones to the minutiae, from the seasonal reruns to the endless revisits with everyone from Rod Serling to Archie Bunker to Kunta Kinte to J.R. Ewing. So perhaps it was to be expected that in jumping the gun on itself by celebrating half a century of prize-winning TV two years early, the 48th annual Primetime Emmy Awards seemed a double stretch: Several endless hours of been there, done that, on the one hand; and the truly scary thought of what the advertised 600 million viewers worldwide will do for the next two years. Given the theme a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the creation of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences it was perhaps preordained that we’d see any number of clips drawn from the shows available in whole on any given afternoon or latenight. Thank goodness, then for Dennis Miller, who gets the Ray Walston Second Chance Award with two wins and who thus got to express his appreciation to Michael Fuchs twice for bringing him back “from the scrap heap.” Thank goodness, too, for Tyne Daly, who injected some mystery into the proceedings: Accepting her Emmy for supporting actress in a drama series for “Christy,” an obviously nervous Daly thanked producer Barney Rosenzweig, “for giving me a graceful and honorable way to work myself out of a very bad situation.” Well, that kept the folks guessing all night during an evening in which no amount of graceful pacing (kudos to director and Emmy winner Louis Horvitz) could make up for the dearth of surprises or the lameness of the material provided by a platoon of writers for host Paul Reiser. The “Mad About You” star was offering his regrets less than five minutes into the 180-minute ABC broadcast, and he never recovered. Even the “NYPD Blue” duo of Dennis Franz a second-time winner and Jimmy Smits seemed embarrassed by their lines. The acceptances, limited to 30 seconds, still overflowed with more laundry lists than anyone will care to remember. “I say this is the golden age” of television, said Academy president Richard Frank, celebrating programming diversity and “a new sense of social awareness” since the days of Edgar Bergen (Frank’s first forebear in the position) before announcing the first president’s award, a citation that really ought to have been an honor, not a competition, no matter how worthy the nominees. A very glamorous-looking Oprah Winfrey turned on the great TV blender, with a montage of clips, and so “I Love Lucy,” the Beatles on Ed Sullivan, “Roots,” “War and Remembrance” and the final episode of “MASH” all came out in the frozen margarita of our collective memory and maybe they do. But even Mr. Television himself, Milton Berle, was uncharacteristically stolid. A little of the old anarchy would have been welcome. So it was refreshing to hear “Chicago Hope’s” Christine Lahti mispronounce winner Greta Scacchi’s name and co-presenter John Lithgow, of “3rd Rock from the Sun” confidently mispronounce it a different way. “Sometimes that light coming from the television acts as a beacon,” Oprah intoned. Then again, sometimes it’s just a really annoying light.

48th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards

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