A Star-Studded Television Night

Sep 4, 2006  •  Post A Comment

Considering the early airdate, the telecast of the “58th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards” Sunday didn’t perform as poorly in the ratings as some industry insiders were expecting.

The “58th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards” on Aug. 27 scored a 5.2 rating in the adults 18 to 49 demographic, a number that includes live viewing and same-day viewing via digital video recorders, according to Nielsen Media Research. That was the second-lowest-rated Emmy telecast performance in history and marked a 15 percent drop in ratings from the 2005 ceremony. The award ceremony is usually broadcast from Los Angeles in September, but with NBC adding NFL football to its schedule on Sundays for fall 2005, there was no place to run the Emmycast on Sundays, and a deal to air the awards on another night couldn’t be worked out.

Still, Emmy watchers were girding for an even lower number, considering the summer telecast, which usually means lower viewership levels overall. For NBC, the Emmys was a win, giving the network a 126 percent increase in adults 18 to 49 in the time period so far this summer (5.2 versus 2.3) and its best Sunday night in the demo since the network broadcast the Winter Olympics in February. The awards also got the highest-rated adults 18 to 49 number for any of the networks since the June 20 telecast of the NBA finals (6.5).

NBC got more than just a boost in its summer ratings, since it also took home the outstanding comedy series statuette for its quirky comedy “The Office.” Fox’s thriller drama “24” walked away with the outstanding drama Emmy.

The ceremony closed an Emmy season in which many industry insiders criticized the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ recently altered nomination process in key series categories. Despite the changes, the Emmys honored veteran winners in the lead comedy acting categories.

HBO took home the most Emmy gold with 10 category wins. NBC was second with seven wins, followed by Fox with four and ABC, Comedy Central and CBS with two wins each.

The HBO miniseries “Elizabeth I,” with four wins, took home the most awards Aug. 27. Added to the technical Emmys “Elizabeth” won at a separate ceremony Aug. 19, the miniseries won a total of nine awards. Fox’s “24” was second with a total of five awards, two of which it received at the prime-time awards ceremony.

Aside from best drama, “24” also scored a win with Kiefer Sutherland’s performance in the outstanding actor in a drama series category. Mariska Hargitay took home the Emmy statuette in the outstanding actress in a drama category for her work on “Law & Order: SVU.”

“It’s a good night,” Ms. Hargitay said backstage, adding that the first thing that went through her mind was how happy her father would have been.

“I’m winning an Emmy in my eighth season,” Ms. Hargitay said backstage. “Who wins in police procedurals? I do!”

In the comedy categories, “Seinfeld” Emmy winner Julia Louis-Dreyfus took home an outstanding actress statuette for her first season of work in the midseason sitcom “The New Adventures of Old Christine.” Tony Shalhoub, who scored actor in a comedy series statuettes in 2003 and 2005, once again won for his role as the neurotic detective in USA’s “Monk.”

Megan Mullally, who previously won an Emmy for her role in “Will & Grace,” took home her second supporting actress in a comedy series statuette for the last season of the NBC sitcom. Jeremy Piven grabbed his first Emmy, for his supporting actor role as agent Ari Gold in the HBO Hollywood comedy “Entourage.”

Blythe Danner won her second consecutive Emmy in the best supporting actress in a drama category for the canceled Showtime series “Huff.” Alan Alda, who took acting, directing and writing Emmys in the 1970s sitcom “M*A*S*H,” won his first drama series statuette for his role in NBC’s “The West Wing.”

While “West Wing” was shut out of other categoriesit won in the past, Mr. Alda’s win makes the NBC series one of the biggest Emmy drama winners in history, tying NBC’s “Hill Street Blues.”

Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” won for outstanding variety, music or comedy series, while HBO’s “The Girl in the Cafe” won for best television movie.