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September 21, 1986|Howard Rosenberg

"THE EMMYS," Sunday, 8-11 p.m. (4)(36)(39)--The annual Emmys are nothing if not predictable.

As always, most of the nominations make sense and some are baffling, with a few so inexplicable that they border on absurd. In any event, the winners will be announced at the 38th annual Emmy Awards Sunday night at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium. The ceremonies, on NBC, will be hosted by two NBC stars who are also Emmy nominees this year: David Letterman and Shelley Long (of "Cheers").

Once again, comedy is among the strongest categories, with five worthy sitcom entries. NBC's "The Cosby Show" is the heavy favorite, but my choice is NBC's "Family Ties."

Don't be surprised if CBS' "Cagney & Lacey" wins the drama series Emmy, but ABC's "Moonlighting"--how could anyone vote against it?--is the deserving champ. This is another strong category, although you could certainly question the inclusion of CBS' thin-plotted "Murder, She Wrote," whose appeal rests solely on Angela Lansbury as mystery writer/sleuth Jessica Fletcher.

It was a bad year (nominations run to July 1, 1986) for miniseries. None of the five nominees is particularly distinguished, the best of the lot being the British production of "Lord Mountbatten: The Last Viceroy" presented on public TV's "Masterpiece Theatre." In light of the judges' past affection for bigness, though, the Emmy may go to NBC's beautiful-but-botched "Peter the Great."

If "Late Night With David Letterman" on NBC doesn't win the Emmy in the variety/music/comedy program category, the judges should be required to submit to urine analyses.

There's a much tougher choice in the drama/comedy special field. I'd vote for CBS' "Death of a Salesman" by a hair over the "Hallmark Hall of Fame" production of "Love Is Never Silent" on NBC. Yet be prepared for NBC's AIDS drama, "An Early Frost," to win the Emmy.

But--give us a break--what in heaven's name is that humdrum CBS drama, "Mrs. Delafield Wants to Marry," doing in this category? So what if it starred Katharine Hepburn? How can the judges justify picking this tale over those vastly superior CBS movies "Deadly Business" and "Nobody's Child" and especially ABC's outstanding production of "The Execution of Raymond Graham?"

In the informational special field, here's one vote for ABC's "The Indomitable Teddy Roosevelt" by the thinnest of margins over "The Statue of Liberty," a documentary on PBS. If sentiment wins out, though, the Emmy may go to "We Are the World: A Year of Giving." Yes, another one of those programs.

Meanwhile, did the judges in the individual achievement/informational program category have a wicked sense of humor or what? They proved it by giving an Emmy nomination to that science maven Shawn Weatherly for her breathless contribution--glub, glub--to NBC's fishy "Oceanquest" series.

The only puzzle is why they didn't go all the way and also nominate Geraldo Rivera for "The Mystery of Al Capone's Vaults." So nobody's perfect.

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