August 27, 2006

“Monk” star wins Emmy for best comedy actor

By Steve Gorman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - "Monk" star Tony Shalhoub claimed
his third prize as best actor in a television comedy for
playing an obsessive-compulsive detective while other veteran
performers edged out newcomers in the early going at the Emmy
Awards on Sunday.

Shalhoub's latest victory for his title role on the
second-tier cable channel USA Network was a major upset over
presumed front-runner Steve Carell, who was widely expected to
win for his role as the clueless boss on NBC's popular
workplace satire "The Office."

All four awards in the supporting acting categories went to
performers with established careers, three of them past winners
and co-stars of shows that have already gone off the air.

Veteran Alan Alda, who sprang to fame as Hawkeye Pierce on
the long-running TV classic "M*A*S*H," was named best
supporting actor in a drama for his role as a Republican
senator running for president on the final season of "The West
Wing." The celebrated NBC political drama ended its seven-year
NBC run in May.

Alda's victory, the sixth Emmy award of his career, pushed
"West Wing" into a tie with the landmark cop show "Hill Street
Blues" for the most prime-time Emmys overall, 26, ever amassed
by a single drama during its run.

Blythe Danner was named best supporting actress in a drama
for her work as the mother on the now-canceled Showtime cable
series "Huff." And Megan Mullally clinched the supporting
comedic actress prize for playing the boozy, tart-tongued Karen
Walker on "Will & Grace," which bowed off NBC in May after
eight years on the air. It was the second Emmy win for both

Jeremy Piven, who got his big break playing Ellen
DeGeneres' brother on "Ellen," was named best supporting actor
for his role as a shark-like Hollywood agent on the HBO satire


In an emotional highlight of Sunday's awards, carried live
on NBC from the Shrine Auditorium, the once seemingly ageless
host of "American Bandstand," Dick Clark, 76, was welcomed to
the stage with a standing ovation for a special musical tribute
performed by Barry Manilow.

Clark was forced by a stroke in December 2004 to sit out
his annual New Year's Eve broadcast from Times Square for the
first time since 1972 but returned to preside over the holiday
special this past year.

"Before I had my stroke, I was thinking about all of the
things I've become involved with over my life -- music, comedy,
game and talk shows, even reality TV," Clark said a slightly
halting voice. "I never realized I had accomplished my dream,
to be involved in show business. Everybody should have their
dreams come true."

The Emmy audience later broke into cheers when the original
cast of "Charlie's Angels" -- Farrah Fawcett, Kate Jackson and
Jaclyn Smith, took the stage in a tribute to the late TV
producer Aaron Spelling.

The industry is closely watching this year's Emmys a test
of new voting rules designed to give newcomers, smaller
networks and low-rated but worthy shows a better chance.

In the biggest race of the night, medical melodrama "Grey's
Anatomy," heading into its third season as ABC's newest
breakout hit, was favored to prevail over some perennial Emmy
favorites to clinch the coveted prize for best drama series.


"Grey's" faces stiff competition from the Fox espionage
thriller "24," a five-time nominee in the category, and from
the acclaimed NBC political saga "The West Wing," making its
bid for a record fifth term as best drama.

If "West Wing" manages an upset, it would be the first time
in Emmy history that a show has been named best drama after
ending its network run.

Another past winner, HBO gangster tale "The Sopranos," was
trying to muscle its way back but is considered a long shot
this year, along with the Fox hospital drama "House."

In the contest for best comedy series, the heavy favorite
is "The Office" in competition against recently canceled Fox
comedy "Arrested Development," a past winner, as well as HBO's
"Curb Your Enthusiasm," NBC hospital sitcom "Scrubs" and bawdy
CBS hit "Two and a Half Men."