'3rd Rock From the Sun' kicks off Emmys with a win
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LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- It was just a typical California afternoon Sunday -- gloriously sunny, not too hot. Typical, that is, for all but the hundreds of stars streaming into the Shrine Auditorium, their hopes and expectations for the 51st Annual Primetime Emmy Awards were as sunny as the weather.
And the first to have her high expectations fulfilled was Kristen Johnston, who took away the first win of the night for her outstanding work in a supporting role work on "3rd Rock From the Sun." This was Johnston's third nomination and second win.
Shortly after opening the evening, Emmy show host, David Hyde Pierce -- on his sixth consecutive nomination and third win -- took outstanding supporting actor in a comedy series for his work on "Frasier."
Going into the awards show with the most nominations for a drama and a comedy, respectively, "The Sopranos" and "Ally McBeal" were expected to be the night's big winners. "The Sopranos" drew 16 nominations, the most of any show; stars James Gandolfini, Lorraine Bracco, and Edie Falco were all up for outstanding-actor and outstanding-actress statuettes.
Broadcast live by FOX starting at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT -- and simultaneously Webcast on the official Emmys Web site -- the Emmys ceremony was hosted by David Hyde Pierce and Jenna Elfman, both nominees themselves, and boasted a presenters list including luminaries like Brandy, Robert Guillaume, Jay Mohr and Garry Shandling.
'McBeal' and others
The "Ally" side, with stars Calista Flockhart, Peter MacNicol and Lucy Liu up for wins, is made doubly interesting by the fact that its creator-director, David E. Kelley, stands to see both "Ally" and his drama "The Practice" win an Emmy Sunday night.
On the comedy side, "Everybody Loves Raymond" star Ray Romano competes for lead actor in a comedy series with some of the usual contenders: "3rd Rock From the Sun" actor John Lithgow; Michael J. Fox of "Spin City"; "Frasier" star Kelsey Grammer; and Paul Reiser for his just-ended show, "Mad About You."
Reiser has had five nominations for an Emmy for the show, but has never won. Meanwhile, Grammer's had five nominations during his stint on the "Cheers" spinoff "Frasier," winning three times.
For lead actress in a comedy, the field is also familiar: Helen Hunt for "Mad About You"; Flockhart for "Ally McBeal"; Jenna Elfman (who also happens to be hosting this year's awards) for "Dharma & Greg"; "Everybody Loves Raymond" co-star Patricia Heaton; and a newcomer, Sarah Jessica Parker from HBO's "Sex and the City."
"The Sopranos" star Gandolfini leads the list of nominated actors in a drama series, competing with Dennis Franz and Jimmy Smits from "NYPD Blue," Dylan McDermott in "The Practice," and Sam Waterston in "Law & Order."
Competing with Bracco and Falco for outstanding actress in a drama were Gillian Anderson, up again for "The X-Files," Christine Lahti for "Chicago Hope" and Julianna Margulies for "ER."
Sunday's show was expected to be seen in about 90 countries, the academy said.
Emmys 1999: About the ceremony
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