NBC has once again dominated the nighttime Emmy Award nominations, collecting more than ABC and CBS combined, but ABC's sassy "Moonlighting," which often pokes fun at television, walked off with the most citations Thursday, collecting 16.
Two NBC comedies, the top-rated "The Cosby Show" and the popular first-year entry "The Golden Girls," received 15 nominations each, while "St. Elsewhere," an NBC medical drama, and "An Early Frost," an NBC movie about AIDS, got 14 each.
"Moonlighting," a romantic detective series that debuted in March, 1985, and drew praise from critics for its rapid-fire dialogue and tongue-in-cheek humor, won nominations as best dramatic series, for writing and directing and for its stars, Cybill Shepherd and Bruce Willis.
Its competition for best series will come from CBS' "Cagney & Lacey," last year's winner; NBC's "Hill Street Blues," which won the four years before that; CBS' "Murder, She Wrote" and NBC's "St. Elsewhere."
Winners of the 38th annual nighttime Emmy Awards will be announced Sept. 21 in ceremonies at Pasadena Civic Auditorium that will be broadcast nationally by NBC, with David Letterman as host. There also will be a non-televised event Sept. 6 to disclose winners in the craft categories.
NBC, as it has for the last few years, captured the bulk of the 324 nominations announced by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, garnering 148--including four of the five nominations for best comedy series, four of the five nominations for best miniseries and three of the five nominations for best variety or music special.
CBS, unseated by NBC last season as the prime-time ratings champion, also finished second in the Emmy nominations, collecting 90. ABC got 51, PBS received 31 and syndicated programs got 4.
Nominated as best comedy series were "The Cosby Show," which won last year, "Cheers," which won in in 1983 and 1984, "Family Ties" and "The Golden Girls," all on NBC, and CBS' "Kate & Allie."
"An Early Frost," which dealt with a family's reaction to the news that a son had contracted the fatal AIDS disease, was nominated as best drama or comedy special and also collected nominations for Ben Gazzara and Gena Rowlands as the parents, Aidan Quinn as the son, Sylvia Sidney as the grandmother and John Glover as another AIDS victim.
Also nominated as best drama or comedy special were two CBS movies, "Amos" and "Mrs. Delafield Wants to Marry," CBS' adaptation of the Broadway play "Death of a Salesman," and a "Hallmark Hall of Fame" presentation on NBC, "Love Is Never Silent."
The biggest network undertaking of the season, ABC's 24-hour Civil War saga, "North and South," did not get nominated as best miniseries. Nominated instead were PBS' "Lord Mountbatten: The Last Viceroy" and NBC's "Peter the Great," "On Wings of Eagles," "Dress Gray" and "The Long Hot Summer."
All three stars of "The Golden Girls"--Beatrice Arthur, Rue McClanahan and Betty White--were nominated as best actress in a comedy, and Estelle Getty, who plays Arthur's mother on the first-year show, was nominated as best supporting actress.
Four members of the cast of "The Cosby Show" were nominated, but not star Bill Cosby. For the second year in a row, he requested that his name not be placed on the nominating ballot, saying he does not believe in such competition.
But Phylicia Rashad, who plays Cosby's wife on the series, Malcolm Jamal Warner, who plays his son, and Lisa Bonet and Keshia Knight Pulliam, who play two of his daughters, did receive nominations.
Many of last year's winning actors were nominated again, including William Daniels of "St. Elsewhere," Tyne Daly of "Cagney & Lacey" (her third in a row), John Larroquette of "Night Court," Edward James Olmos of "Miami Vice," Betty Thomas of "Hill Street Blues" and Rhea Perlman of "Cheers" (her second in a row).
In addition, the TV specials based on the Garfield cartoon strip were assured of winning a second consecutive Emmy, since the only two nominees for best animated program were Garfield programs on CBS.
Daniels was nominated as best lead actor in a drama series, along with one of his "St. Elsewhere" co-stars, Ed Flanders, and Tom Selleck of "Magnum, P.I.," Edward Woodward of "The Equalizer" and Willis of "Moonlighting."
Sharon Gless, Daly's co-star on "Cagney & Lacey," also was nominated as best actress in a drama series, along with Angela Lansbury of "Murder, She Wrote," Alfre Woodard of "St. Elsewhere" and Shepherd of "Moonlighting."
Three Academy Award winners were nominated for Emmys: Dustin Hoffman for "Death of a Salesman," Katharine Hepburn for "Mrs. Delafield Wants to Marry" and Vanessa Redgrave, who was nominated in separate categories for both "Second Serve" and "Peter the Great."