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'3rd Rock,' 'Seinfeld' Stars Win Emmys

TV: Director David Lee is honored for work on the comedy 'Frasier.'

September 15, 1997|From Reuters

Michael Richards, who plays the kooky, frizzy-haired neighbor Kramer in "Seinfeld," and Kristen Johnston, who plays an alien on another NBC show, "3rd Rock From the Sun," won the first Emmys on Sunday for supporting roles in a comedy.

It was the third time in five nominations that Richards has won the Emmy, again prevailing over fellow cast member Jason Alexander, who plays the insecure, neurotic George Costanza on the hit show and who has never won the Emmy despite seven nominations.

At the ceremonies in Pasadena, Richards paid tribute to his colleagues "Jason, Jerry [Seinfeld] and Julia [Louis-Dreyfus]."

"What a pleasure it is to work with such a sound ensemble," he said.

Louis-Dreyfus, who won the best supporting actress in a comedy last year, was beaten this year by newcomer Johnston, who plays an Amazonian space alien in human form in NBC's "3rd Rock From the Sun."

David Lee won the Emmy for best director of a comedy for his work on NBC's "Frasier." It was Lee's sixth Emmy and the third for NBC of the first three announced.

When the Emmy nominations were disclosed in July, HBO led the field with 90, one ahead of NBC. But the broadcast network was later nominated for three more technical awards, giving it a total of 92.

NBC was well in the lead in actual Emmys won after the technical awards were handed out Saturday. NBC took 15 Emmys, with CBS and HBO tied with 10 each.

The tremendous inroads made in recent years by the critically acclaimed cable networks has irked the traditional broadcast networks, which had previously dominated the Emmys. In fact, Home Box Office's good showing this year prompted the networks to lobby the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences to differentiate in the future between cable productions and over-the-air shows.

With more than 100 Hollywood and TV celebrities attending the show, just two weeks after the death of Princess Diana, security was tight.

Organizers said beforehand that they were carrying out special background checks on all photographers accredited to the event to weed out any so-called paparazzi. Such aggressive photographers have been blamed by some for causing the Aug. 31 accident that killed the princess.


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