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IN THE SPOTLIGHT

September 20, 1987|Howard Rosenberg

The annual Emmy Awards telecast has always been synonymous with ABC, CBS and NBC. But the young Fox Broadcasting Network gets its first crack at hosting the event this year. The program airs Sunday at 8 p.m. on KTTV Channel 11 (also on XETV Channel 6 in San Diego and KEYT Channel 3 in Santa Barbara), with executive producer Don Ohlmeyer putting the emphasis on comedy. The intended kind, one hopes.

Lead Actor/Miniseries or Special. Contenders: Alan Arkin of "Escape From Sobibor," Lou Gossett Jr. of "A Gathering of Old Men" and James Garner and James Woods of "Promise," all on CBS; Randy Quaid of "LBJ: The Early Years" on NBC.

Pick: Woods, although Quaid was a rip-roaring LBJ.

Meanwhile, there are awards to be handed out. Here, in selected categories, are this critic's picks.

Comedy Series. Contenders: "Cheers," "The Cosby Show," "Family Ties," "The Golden Girls" and "Night Court," all on NBC.

Pick: "Family Ties," acknowledging that one viewer's comedy is another's tragedy.

Drama Series. Contenders: "Cagney & Lacey" and "Murder, She Wrote" on CBS, "L.A. Law" and "St. Elsewhere" on NBC and "Moonlighting" on ABC.

Pick: "L.A. Law" over a generally strong field, including a production-battered, inconsistent "Moonlighting" that still soared on occasion.

Miniseries. Contenders: "Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna," "Nutcracker: Money, Madness and Murder," "The Two Mrs. Grenvilles" and "A Year in the Life" on NBC, and "Out on a Limb" on ABC.

Pick: "Nutcracker: Money, Madness and Murder."

Variety, Music or Comedy Program. Contenders: "Late Night With David Letterman" and "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" on NBC, "Liberty Weekend--Closing Ceremonies" on ABC, "The 1987 Tony Awards" on CBS and "The Tracey Ullman Show" on Fox.

Pick: "Late Night With David Letterman," but keep an eye on Tracey Ullman, the most invigorating new talent in American TV.

Drama/Comedy Special. Contenders: "Escape From Sobibor," "Pack of Lies" and "Promise" on CBS, and "LBJ: The Early Years" and "Unnatural Causes" on NBC.

Pick: "Promise."

Lead Actor/Comedy Series. Contenders: Harry Anderson of "Night Court," Ted Danson of "Cheers," Michael J. Fox of "Family Ties" on NBC, Bob Newhart of "Newhart" on CBS and Bronson Pinchot of "Perfect Strangers" on ABC.

Pick: Fox, a perfect match of actor and writing.

Lead Actor/Drama Series. Contenders: Corbin Bernsen of "L.A. Law" and William Daniels and Ed Flanders of "St. Elsewhere" on NBC; Bruce Willis of "Moonlighting" on ABC and Edward Woodward of "The Equalizer" on CBS.

Pick: Daniels and Flanders in a tie.

Lead Actress/Comedy Series. Contenders: Blair Brown of "The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd," and Bea Arthur, Rue McClanahan and Betty White of "The Golden Girls," all on NBC; Jane Curtin of "Kate & Allie" on CBS.

Pick: Brown, playing a fascinating woman in a fascinating new series scheduled to return at mid-season.

Lead Actress/Drama Series. Contenders: Tyne Daly and Sharon Gless of "Cagney & Lacey" and Angela Lansbury of "Murder, She Wrote" on CBS, and Susan Dey and Jill Eikenberry of "L.A. Law" on NBC.

Pick: Gless, edging a strong field.

Lead Actress/Miniseries or Special. Contenders: Ellyn Burstyn of "Pack of Lies" on CBS; Ann-Margret of "The Two Mrs. Grenvilles," Lee Remick of "Nutcracker: Money, Madness and Murder" and Alfre Woodard of "Unnatural Causes" on NBC, and Gena Rowlands of "The Betty Ford Story" on ABC.

Pick: Remick over another top group.

Supporting Actor/Comedy Series. Contenders: Woody Harrelson and George Wendt of "Cheers" and John Larroquette of "Night Court" on NBC, and Tom Poston and Peter Scolari of "Newhart" on CBS.

Pick: Scolari.

Supporting Actor/Drama Series. Contenders: Ed Begley Jr. of "St. Elsewhere," and Jimmy Smits and Michael Tucker of "L.A. Law," all on NBC, and John Hillerman of "Magnum, P.I." and John Karlen of "Cagney & Lacey" on CBS.

Pick: Tucker.

Supporting Actor/Miniseries or Special. Contenders: Dabney Coleman of "Sworn to Silence" on ABC; Stephen Collins of "The Two Mrs. Grenvilles" and John Glover of "Nutcracker: Money, Madness and Murder" on NBC; Laurence Olivier of "Lost Empires" on PBS and Eli Wallach of "Something in Common" on CBS.

Pick: Glover, overwhelmingly.

Supporting Actress/Comedy Series. Contenders: Justine Bateman of "Family Ties," Estelle Getty of "The Golden Girls," Jackee Harry of "227" and Rhea Perlman of "Cheers," all on NBC, and Julia Duffy of "Newhart" on CBS.

Pick: Harry.

Supporting Actress/Drama Series. Contenders: Bonnie Bartlett and Christina Pickles of "St. Elsewhere," Susan Ruttan of "L.A. Law" and Betty Thomas of "Hill Street Blues," all on NBC, and Allyce Beasley of "Moonlighting" on ABC.

Pick: Bartlett.

Supporting Actress/Miniseries or Special. Contenders: Claudette Colbert of "The Two Mrs. Grenvilles," Olivia De Havilland of "Anastasia: "The Mystery of Anna" and Elizabeth Wilson of "Nutcracker: Money, Madness and Murder" on NBC; Christine Lahti of "Amerika" on ABC, and Piper Laurie of "Promise" on CBS.

Pick: Lahti, with Laurie and Wilson also deserving strong support.

Guest/Comedy Series. Contenders: Art Carney of "The Cavanaughs" on CBS and John Cleese of "Cheers" and Herb Edelman, Lois Nettleton and Nancy Walker of "The Golden Girls," all on NBC.

Pick: Carney.

Guest/Drama Series. Contenders: Jayne Meadows Allen, Steve Allen and Edward Herrmann of "St. Elsewhere" and Jeanne Cooper and Alfre Woodard of "L.A. Law," all on NBC.

Pick: Woodard. A gorgeous performance in the pilot.

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