Pasadena, Calif. Reality television, the most-watched programming genre of the past couple of TV seasons, finally got some Primetime Emmy Award recognition over the weekend.
The big winner was CBS's "Survivor," which was named best reality program involving competition ("American High" won for best reality show without competition).
This should have made CBS, which is airing this year's Primetime Emmy Awards, very happy indeed. Except that the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, which bestows the awards, had decided to hand out the trophies for best reality programming during past Saturday's so-called creative arts ceremony, honoring technical achievement, because God forbid the academy should do anything to actually get more people to watch Sunday's Emmy show. The Emmy show focuses on the "glamour" categories including best drama, sitcom, best miniseries and best acting and, of course, that riveting seven minutes each year when the president of the academy stands in front of the camera and explains once again to all us little people around America how important television is in our humdrum lives.
This year, Saturday's "tech night," as it's commonly called in the biz, was scheduled to be telecast on the cable network E! Entertainment, where it was sure to be seen by dozens.
The audience also got to see trophies handed out for best guest acting in drama and comedy series. Though these derbies often include the most distinguished actors to grace the small screen each year like Sir Derek Jacobi, who on Saturday was named best guest actor in a comedy for his appearance last season on NBC's "Frasier" the academy has decided they aren't glamorous enough to put on the "big" night.
The academy shrewdly saved the race for best guest actress in a drama series for Saturday's awards; no doubt in case Sally Field, she of the memorable acceptance speech, won that competition (for "ER").
And she did.
"Wow, oh my God! I love being an actor and I'm so ... grateful I still get to work!" the 54-year-old Field gushed, according to the academy's account of the evening's doings.
Another Very Special Moment had to have been when Arturo Sandoval accepted the Emmy for writing the musical score for HBO's "For Love or Country: The Arturo Sandoval Story." And if you're trying to decide whether to watch the Emmy show this weekend, be advised that it looks to be shaping up like a rerun of last year. After tech night, NBC's "West Wing" had racked up the most wins four while "The Sopranos" was snubbed with just one.
The winningest sitcom at the close of Saturday's ceremony was NBC's "Frasier," with three Emmys.
The peacock network collected 11 Emmys, tied for the most with Fox, which has finally figured out that the way to snag more Emmys is to air programming that appeals not to its core young male viewer, but to old women. Three of its Saturday wins were for the concert special "Barbra Streisand: Timeless."
And, as of Saturday night, ABC's "Life With Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows" had collected the most wins, three, of any TV movie or miniseries.
Meanwhile, "National Geographic Explorer" won five trophies the most of any program at the 22nd annual News and Documentary Emmy Awards, handed out last week in New York.
CBS bagged the most News and Documentary Emmys of any network, with eight; four of them were won by "60 Minutes," including the best-interview trophy, which went to Ed Bradley for his talk with Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.
"Explorer" accounted for all of CNBC's five trophies, making it the winningest of all the NBC networks. NBC snagged four two for "Dateline" and one apiece for "Nightly News" and "Weekend Today." MSNBC took home two, for "The News with Brian Williams."
PBS won seven news and docu Emmys, including two for its "Nature" series for programming produced by National Geographic, which brought Nat Geo TV's tally to seven.
ABC's haul was three, with "World News Tonight" accounting for two.
CNN won two Emmys, including a shared win for best investigative journalism program with Cinemax's show "Cinemax Reel Life."
"60 Minutes" tied "60 Minutes II" for best investigative segment honors. Discovery Channel nabbed two trophies, and the Learning Channel scored one for a documentary on the Kent State shootings of 1970.
HBO collected one award for its "One Day in September" documentary about the 1972 Munich Olympics murders.