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HBO, ABC Lead Creative Arts Emmys

Aug 19, 2006  •  Post A Comment

HBO and ABC made a strong showing at the 58th Annual Creative Arts Emmy Awards on Saturday night, setting the stage for Sunday’s prime-time main event.

The premium cable venue received 17 awards in technical, production and guest talent categories, while the broadcast network won 10. NBC received eight and CBS, Fox and PBS tied with seven.

Among programs, the three most-honored titles were all in the HBO tent: The miniseries “Elizabeth I” led with five wins; and the documentary “Baghdad ER” and the historical drama “Rome” took four each.

The 78th Annual Academy Awards, which tied the likes of “Lost” and “Six Feet Under” with nine nominations, took three trophies.

The network totals roughly synchronized with the number of creative and prime-time nominations they received-HBO has 95 nominations this year, followed by ABC (63), CBS and NBC (47 each) and Fox (41).

But among programs, there was a bit of shakeup in the horse race. TNT’s “Into the West” received the most nominations with 16 nods, mostly in creative arts categories, but won only two. “24” was nominated for 12 awards and won two. “Grey’s Anatomy” had 11 nominations and received none (though many “Grey’s” nods are in acting categories that will be presented in the prime-time program).

Among the winners, Cloris Leachman earned her ninth Emmy, for outstanding guest actress in a comedy series, for her appearance on “Malcolm in the Middle.” Ms. Leachman has now won more Emmy Awards than any other actress and may increase her lead after next week’s prime-time event, as she’s also nominated for outstanding supporting actress in a miniseries or movie.

“If your heart doesn’t stop beating and you stay with it, look what can happen,” Ms. Leachman, 80, said backstage after receiving the award. “I won’t want to lose next week. Winning feels good.”

Outstanding guest actor in a comedy went to Leslie Jordan in “Will & Grace.” “I loved working on ‘Will & Grace’; they trotted my out like an aging show pony,” Mr. Jordan said. “I’ve always thought there were two ways to combat homophobia. One is humor … the other is to put a face on it.”

For guest actors on drama series, Christian Clemenson won for his part on “Boston Legal” and Patricia Clarkson won for her stint on “Six Feet Under.”

The most buzzed-about creative arts category was outstanding animated program, where “South Park” was nominated for “Trapped in the Closet,” an episode that so successfully skewered Scientology and Tom Cruise that Comedy Central temporarily pulled the episode from rotation. Emmy voters gave the award to “The Simpsons” instead.

“Well, I guess this is what happens when you don’t mock Scientology,” quipped “Simpsons” co-executive producer Al Jean.

Another key category, outstanding reality program, went to “Extreme Makeover Home Edition.” “There are not a lot of times in our career when we can say we are proud to work in reality television. This is one of them,” said executive producer Tom Forman. “I look forward to a day when everybody who needs a house gets one, and you don’t need a reality show to do it.”

The Governors Award, which is presented to a person or program that champions important social issues, was given to mtvU’s Sudan campaign. The two-year campaign promoted awareness about the genocide in Sudan’s Darfur region to the network’s 750 college and universities.

The Creative Arts Emmys had a modest dose of star power, with presenters including Jennifer Garner, Christina Ricci, Melina Kanakaredes, Neil Patrick Harris, and Bradley Whitford and his wife, Jane Kaczmarek.

Penn & Teller hosted and added some stage magic theatrics, including Penn sawing Teller in half. But the typically outspoken Penn, presenters and Emmy winners avoided mention of this year’s “blue ribbon panel” nomination process, which has caused a controversial batch of nominations this year.

The rest of the winners of the 58th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards will be honored Sunday Aug. 27. Conan O’ Brien will host. For a complete list of winners, go to www.emmys.com.