Last year's Emmys were the
Emmys that almost weren't-the always enthralling TV back-pat
was postponed twice after Sept. 11, and many nominees skipped
the stripped-down L.A. jamboree altogether.
This year, however, the television
community is hoping to attend en masse and give lonely ol' Emmy
a much-needed cuddle. They have a date (Sept. 22), a location
(Shrine Auditorium), and now they have themselves a strapping
new host, NBC's Conan O'Brien.
There were few surprises in
this year's nominees. Six Feet Under, its candidacy boosted
by the absence of the gone-fishin'-for-18-months Sopranos
, received a whopping 23 nominations, which must make the two
or three unnominated members of the cast and crew feel like
real shirkers. The West Wing received 21 nominations,
which means there are 21 "Aaron Sorkin, you're a genius!" acceptance
speeches in the works. Aging Friend Jennifer Aniston
is considered a "sentimental choice" for Outstanding Actress
in a Comedy. Yaww-n.
If there's going to be a strange
winner in this year's Emmy presentation, it's probably going
to be an Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series entry that
wasn't musical or comedic at all. David Letterman's CBS Late
Show, which is nominated in three other categories as
well, has submitted the program's Sept. 17 episode for Outstanding
V.M.C. consideration, a source close to the show said.
The Sept. 17 Late Show
was Mr. Letterman's first after the Sept. 11 attacks on New
York and Washington. In it, the host opened by making a brief,
emotional speech from behind his desk and then segued to guest
Dan Rather, who at one point held Mr. Letterman's hand as he
choked back tears.
Not exactly Richard Simmons
and Stupid Pet Tricks, the Sept. 17 Late Show was widely
praised for its raw honesty and appropriate sense of tone, and
will be remembered as one of the most famous moments of Mr.
Letterman's career, alongside his 2000 return after heart surgery.
But the Sept. 17 show was hardly funny. The only light moments
in the show came toward the end, when Mr. Letterman gingerly
cracked jokes with his second guest, Regis Philbin.
Mr. Letterman's show has won
the Outstanding Variety, Music, Comedy award every year since
1998, and the Sept. 17 episode may be hard for Emmy to resist.
The Late Show is going up against The Tonight Show
with Jay Leno, Saturday Night Live, The Daily
Show with Jon Stewart and the canceled dark horse, Bill
Maher's Politically Incorrect. (Yup-no Conan).
Mr. Letterman's show is also
nominated for Outstanding Directing for a Variety, Music or
Comedy Program; Outstanding Technical Direction, Camerawork
or Video for a Series; and Outstanding Writing for a Variety,
Music or Comedy Program.
Is Dave a lock? Who knows?
At least the LateShow crew should be in town. Though
Mr. Letterman steers clear of the broadcast itself, he has in
the past hosted a party for staff and friends of the show in
L.A. following the Emmy fest. Last year, however, the Late
Show's staff remained in New York, like many of their nominated
Tonight on the Late Show
with David Letterman, Dana Carvey and some guy with an animal.
[WCBS, 2, 11:35 p.m.]
Thursday, July 25
with Conan O'Brien hosting the Emmys, considering the hardest-working
redhead in show business has been repeatedly and scandalously
snubbed by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in
the Outstanding Variety, Musical or Comedy Series category?
(The Conan team is nominated for writing this year.)
Is there any irony in Mr.
O'Brien serving as ringmaster for a contest that hasn't shown
him much respect? "No, not really," said Conan writer and executive
producerJeff Ross. "I don't think about it in those terms. That
is stuff you have no control over."
Still, Mr. Ross acknowledged
he wouldn't mind a little ATAS hardware at some point. "If you're
asking me would I rather have it than not have it, I'd rather
have it," Mr. Ross said. But, he added, "at the end of the day,
we have done this pushing 10 years. So if you give me the choice
of an Emmy nomination or another couple of years, I'll take
the extra couple of years."
Tonight on Late Night
with Conan O'Brien, Los Lobos and El Martin Lawrence.
[WNBC, 4, 12:35 a.m.]
Friday, July 26
In yet another piece of Emmy
news-hey, give us a break, it's July; what do you want, Meet
My Folks updates?-those smartypants at The Daily Show
will finally be able to see what the inside of the Shrine
Auditorium looks like.
Last year, the D-Show
was the Cinderella that missed the ball, skipping the Emmy ceremony
in the wake of Sept. 11, and not really getting to celebrate
its win for outstanding writing.
This year, the gang at West
54th is fired up to go to L.A. "As long as there isn't some
horrific event of overwhelming sadness, we will probably make
it," said D-Show supervising producer Ben Karlin. As
for a party in L.A., he said, "I'm sure we'll do something."
Mr. Karlin said that the past
year had been particularly challenging for The Daily Show,
especially compared to the previous year, when the program was
acclaimed for its Presidential-election satire.
"This year was incredibly
difficult for us to have fun and do a comedy show, while at
the same time staying tethered to what was happening in the
world outside," Mr. Karlin said.
Meanwhile, the D-Show
staff is getting ready to chip in for the show's recently announced
partnership with CNN International. Mr. Karlin and his writers
will write "wraparounds" for Daily Show compilations
that will be shown abroad on CNN's overseas outlets.
"It's a great and exciting
opportunity for the Viacom–Time Warner family," Mr. Karlin
said, full of vigor. "And let me tell you: the checks, when
they start coming in for that-hoo-hah!"
Tonight on Comedy Central,
the perennially Emmy-, Oscar-, Peabody-, Tony- and Nobel-snubbed
Jim Breuer in Jim Breuer: Hardcore. [COM, 45,
Saturday July 27
Tonight, Saturday Night
Live does alum Mike Myers a nice slurpy, synergistic
favor by doing a "Best of Mike Myers" one day into the debut
of Goldmember. Anyone besides us bored of the Mini-Me
jokes? Guy's small. Ha-ha. Enough already. [WNBC, 4, 11:35