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'thirtysomething' and 'Cheers' Win 2 Emmys : Best-Supporting Actor Honors Go to Harrelson, Perlman for Comedy and Mayron for Drama

September 18, 1989|From Times Wire Services

ABC's "thirtysomething" and NBC's "Cheers" each picked up two quick awards as the 41st Annual Primetime Emmy Awards got under way Sunday night.

Woody Harrelson and Rhea Perlman of NBC's "Cheers" were honored as best supporting actor and actress in a comedy.

"thirtysomething," last year's top drama series and nominated for 13 awards this year, won Emmys for best supporting actress in a drama--Melanie Mayron--and writing.

Best supporting actor in a drama went to Larry Drake of NBC's "L.A. Law," which was the top-honored drama series with 17 nominations.

In all, NBC, which has dominated the Emmy nominations for the last six years, led with 103 nominations, trailed by CBS' 95 and ABC' 85.

The ceremonies were televised from the Pasadena Civic Auditorium by Fox Broadcasting Co., Channel 11 locally, in the United States and on a live or taped basis to 21 other countries, reaching a foreign audience of about 300 million.

CBS' Emmy hopes hung on the surprisingly popular "Lonesome Dove," based on Larry McMurtry's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about an aging cowboy. The miniseries earned 18 nominations--including acting honors for stars Robert Duvall, Tommy Lee Jones, Diane Lane and Anjelica Huston.

At the non-televised portion of the awards held Saturday, "Lonesome Dove" earned six craft Emmys, including honors for costumes, makeup, music and sound.

"Murphy Brown," the most-honored new series with 11 nominations, won two of CBS' 21 non-televised awards Saturday. NBC trailed with 13 Emmys and PBS and ABC picked up seven each.

To win best actor in a miniseries or special, Duvall and Jones had to out-duel John Gielgud, nominated for his performance in ABC's "War and Remembrance," which was up for 15 awards. The nod also could go to James Woods for his performance in the "Hallmark Hall of Fame" special "My name is Bill W." about the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous. It was nominated seven times.

Lane and Huston competed against Amy Madigan and Holly Hunter, of "Roe vs. Wade," and Jane Seymour of "War and Remembrance."

ABC's "The Wonder Years," 1988's top comedy and the recipient of 14 nominations this year, was slated to match wits with NBC's "Cheers" and "The Golden Girls" and CBS' "Designing Women" and "Murphy Brown," the most-honored new series with 11 nominations.

ABC's "thirtysomething" defended its 1988 best drama series crown against "L.A. Law," network mate "China Beach," and CBS' "Beauty and the Beast" and "Wiseguy."

The trio of "Golden Girls"--Betty White, Rue McClanahan and last year's Emmy-winner Beatrice Arthur--vied for top comedy actress with Candice Bergen of "Murphy Brown" and Blair Brown of "Days and Nights of Molly Dodd," which was reborn on Lifetime cable after being dropped by NBC.

Hopes for Win

Ted Danson of "Cheers," nominated six times previously without a win, hoped No. 7 would be magic but faced stiff competition from 1988 comedy actor winner Michael J. Fox of "Family Ties" along with "Empty Nest's" Richard Mulligan, "Roseanne's" John Goodman and newcomer Fred Savage of "The Wonder Years."

In the dramatic actor category, Michael Tucker of "L.A. Law" went up against Ron Perlman of "Beauty and the Beast," Edward Woodward of "The Equalizer," Carroll O'Conner of "In the Heat of the Night" and Ken Wahl, "Wiseguy."

"L.A. Law" co-stars Susan Dey and Jill Eikenberry, "Beauty and the Beast's" Linda Hamilton, "China Beach's" Dana Delany and "Murder She Wrote's" Angela Lansbury were up for best actress in a drama series.

The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences planned to hand out 28 primetime awards Sunday for the period June 1, 1988, to May 31, 1989. Presenters included Duvall, Bob Hope, Arsenio Hall, Jimmy Smits, Angela Lansbury and Kermit the Frog.

Hope was to present the prestigious Governor's Award posthumously to comedienne Lucille Ball.

Fifty-four other awards, most for technical achievement, were handed out Saturday at the non-televised portion.

PBS was up for 32 awards, mostly for arts or science programming. Fox Broadcasting received 12 nominations, 10 of them for "The Tracey Ullman Show," including top variety program.

HBO Leads Cable

HBO was tops in the cable categories with eight nominations, trailed by the Disney Channel and MTV with a pair each, and Lifetime, TBS, TNT and USA with one apiece.

Sunday night's televised spectacle marked the end of a 3-year contract between the Television Academy and newcomer Fox.

The 1987 show was a ratings disaster. Last year's Nielsens showed improvement, but still embarrassed academy officials.

"This year should be much better," predicted John Moffit, co-executive producer of the telecast. "Fox has been very strong on Sunday night."

Last week's ratings showed Fox's "Married . . . with Children" in the 17th position and "Totally Hidden Video" in 33rd.

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