In a clear mandate encouraging network originality, TV industry voters today rewarded ABC's quirky, mysterious new soap opera "Twin Peaks" with more nominations than any other show for the 42nd annual Emmy Awards.
"Twin Peaks," set in a logging town in the Northwest and revolving thus far around the murder of a high school homecoming queen, earned 14 nominations, edging out NBC's "L.A. Law" which had 13. NBC's "Cheers" and CBS's "Murphy Brown" each collect 12 nominations.
Tracey Ullman, who recently announced her inventive Fox variety series would not return, combined for 13 nominations. "The Tracey Ullman Show" received nine nominations and "The Best of the Tracey Ullman Show" was recognized four times.
The brooding, Gothic-style "Twin Peaks" was nominated for best drama series. Other "Twin Peaks" nominations went to Kyle MacLachlan, who plays a baby-faced FBI agent with a passion for good coffee and pies; Piper Laurie, whose character is trying to seize control of the local sawmill, and Sherilynn Fenn, a sexy classmate of the murdered girl.
MacLachlan and Laurie were nominated for best actor and actress, respectively, in a drama series. Fenn, whose trademark is her innocent-seeming saddle shoes, was nominated for best supporting actress.
"Twin Peaks" co-creator David Lynch could conceivably win five Emmys--for direction, writing, musical lyrics, co-composing the main title theme and as co-executive producer of the series with Mark Frost.
"We're really thrilled," said "Twin Peaks" co-creator Frost. "This is voted on by people who really work in the industry, and I think it shows that people out there are looking for something original." ABC's executive vice president of prime time, Ted Harbert, added: "It's a clear sign that people are looking for smart, fresh programming."
The timing of the nominations is perfect for "Twin Peaks," which begins its reruns Sunday in hopes of building up its sliding ratings in the new season. The Emmy Awards will be presented on the Fox Broadcasting Co. on Sept. 16 from the Pasadena Civic Auditorium.
While "Twin Peaks" grabbed the lead in the Emmy race, another influential new series, Fox's "The Simpsons," managed five nominations despite being handicapped by the rules of the TV academy. As an animated show, the sardonic, weekly half-hour look at family life could not be nominated for best comedy series.
The actors who do the voices of the characters--Homer, Bart, Marge, Lisa and the others--were eligible for nominations but did not get them. A nomination for Bart could have posed a delicate problem because a woman, Nancy Cartwright, is the voice of the spike-haired brat--so would she have been nominated for best actor or actress?
"The Simpsons," which is going into head-on competition against NBC's ratings champ, "The Cosby Show," starting Aug. 23, was nominated as best animated program of one hour or less. And one of its shows, "The Simpsons Christmas Special," was nominated in the same category.
Voters of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences pointedly snubbed ABC's two major ratings hits, "America's Funniest Home Videos" and "Roseanne," while nodding approvingly toward the network's critically praised series such as "Twin Peaks," "thirtysomething" (11 nominations) and "China Beach" and "The Wonder Years" (seven each).
"America's Funniest Home Videos" was ignored. Voters also turned up their noses for the second consecutive year when it came to "Roseanne"--giving it two nominations, one for John Goodman as best actor in a comedy series as the husband of star Roseanne Barr.
Powered by its big winners, ABC tied for the lead in nominations with NBC, the perennial leader. Each had 95, while CBS had 73--led by 12 nominations for Candice Bergen's "Murphy Brown."
Fox earned 26 nominations, with its 13 for the Ullman programs.
Nominees in major categories:
DRAMA SERIES: "China Beach," ABC; "L.A. Law," NBC; "Quantum Leap," NBC; "thirtysomething," ABC; "Twin Peaks," ABC.
COMEDY SERIES: "Cheers," NBC; "Designing Women," CBS; "The Golden Girls," NBC; "Murphy Brown," CBS; "The Wonder Years," ABC.
MINISERIES: "Blind Faith," NBC; "Drug Wars: The Camarena Story," NBC; "Family of Spies," CBS; "The Kennedys of Massachusetts," ABC; "Small Sacrifices," ABC.
VARIETY, MUSIC OR COMEDY PROGRAM: "The Best of the Tracey Ullman Show," Fox; "Billy Crystal: Midnight Train to Moscow," HBO; "Sammy Davis Jr.'s 60th Anniversary Celebration," ABC; "The 43rd Annual Tony Awards," CBS.
DRAMA-COMEDY SPECIAL: "Caroline?--Hallmark Hall of Fame," CBS; "The Final Days--AT&T Presents," ABC; "The Incident--AT&T Presents," CBS; "A Killing in a Small Town," CBS; "Murder in Mississippi," NBC.
ANIMATED PROGRAM ONE HOUR OR LESS: "Garfield's Feline Fantasies," CBS; "Garfield's Thanksgiving," CBS; "The Simpsons (series)," Fox; "The Simpsons Christmas Special," Fox; "Why, Charlie Brown, Why?" CBS.