"NYPD Blue" won the most awards at the 46th annual Primetime Emmy Awards but went home the biggest loser as well.

The controversial ABC drama came in with a record 26 nominations and took home six awards, the most of any show but failed to win the Emmy as best drama series - as was expected.That award went instead to CBS' "Picket Fences," which won for the second year in a row, and even presenter John Lithgow sounded rather surprised when he announced "Fences" as the winner.

And that was just one in a series of surprises at the 46th annual Primetime Emmy Awards.

"NYPD Blue" provided one of the other startling winners itself when Dennis Franz upset co-star David Caruso in the best actor in a drama category. (Caruso, who made headlines by quitting the series, sneaked past fans and reporters into Pasadena Civic Auditorium for the ceremonies after earlier announcing he wouldn't attend.)

"I am extremely touched right now," said Franz, who thanked himself for "having the sense to say yes" when the role was offered to him.

"NYPD Blue" also won awards for directing, writing and in three technical categories.

But "Frasier," which won as best comedy series, and "Picket Fences" were right behind with five awards each. "Frasier" won not only for writing and directing, but Kelsey Grammer was named best lead actor in a comedy series.

"And most importantly - Moose, this is for you," Grammer said in concluding his acceptance speech. (Moose is the name of the dog that plays Eddie on the show - a joke that went over the heads of most of those in attendance.)

Last year, both lead actor and lead actress in a drama awards went to "Picket Fences." This year, the two supporting actor awards went to the same show - Fyvush Finkel and Leigh Taylor-Young.

"I've waited 51 years to get on this stage," said septuagenarian Finkel, undoubtedly the most exuberant winner of the evening.

Candice Bergen won the award for best actress in a comedy, and she appeared downright shocked at her forth Emmy for playing feisty newswoman "Murphy Brown."

"I'm grateful. I'm shocked. I thought my hero Helen Hunt would be here," Bergen said.

And Sela Ward ("Sisters") was a surprise winner as best actress in a drama.

"I'm speechless, that's for sure," she said.

(Ward's win meant Angela Lans-bury has yet to capture her first Emmy. The "Murder, She Wrote" star is now the Susan Lucci of prime time - both Lansbury and the "All My Children" star have 14 nominations and no wins.)

Kirstie Alley returned to the winner's circle for the second time in three years. She was named outstanding actress in a miniseries or special for her role as the mother of an autistic teenager in "David's Mother."

And she referred to her acceptance speech of two years ago, when she won for "Cheers" and thanked husband Parker Stevenson for "the big one."

"I also want to thank my husband Parker, who said that he was sick tonight," Alley said Sunday. "I know he's not sick. He thinks I can't embarrass him in front of 30 million people if he's at home"

From the look on his face, Michael Goorjian may have been the most surprised winner. He took home the statuette for best supporting actor in a miniseries or special for his portrayal of the autistic teenager in "David's Mother."

Cicely Tyson won her second Emmy, this time for best supporting actress in a miniseries or special for her role in "Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All" - but her previous Emmy came 20 years ago.

CBS' "Late Show with David Letterman" has been the undisputed winner in the late-night ratings wars since it debuted a year ago, and on Sunday it added yet another victory - the Emmy for outstanding variety, music or comedy series.

"I don't need to tell you folks - there's been a huge mistake," quipped Letterman, who garnered yet another win over Jay Leno's "Tonight Show, which was also nominated in the category.

The comedy series supporting actor and actress awards were both reruns - Michael Richards ("Seinfeld") and Laurie Metcalf ("Roseanne") each won for the second year in a row.

"I'm getting spoiled," said Richards. "I didn't expect to come through the second round like this and I have no acceptance speech."

And he didn't.

The best miniseries Emmy went to PBS' "Prime Suspect 3," following on the heels of "Prime Suspect 2," which won last year.

Bette Midler opened the show with a rousing rendition of "Rose's Turn" from her TV movie "Gypsy," for which for she and the teleflick had received Emmy nominations. And Jason Alexander, who didn't win an Emmy for his role on "Seinfeld," did get a big round of applause for headlining a medley of TV theme songs.

Other entertainment segments included a look at standup comedians who've gone on to star in sitcoms, DeGeneres doing various comedy bits, and clips from the past television scene. (In which someone had the poor taste to insert Bobcat Goldthwaite committing a crime - setting fire to a chair on "The Tonight Show.")

And John Lithgow presented a tribute to Emmy winner Jessica Tandy, who died early Sunday.

"Your friends in television say goodbye to you tonight," Lithgow said. "We will all miss you very, very much."

Tandy was actually nominated for an award for her role in the CBS movie "To Dance With the White Dog," and her husband was named best actor in a miniseries or special for his role in the same movie.

Other winners in major categories included HBO's "And the Band Played On" as best made-for-TV movie; "The Kennedy Center Honors" as best variety, music or comedy special; and Tracey Ullman for best individual performance in a variety or music program.

In the network race, CBS was the runaway winner with a total of 26 Emmys. NBC trailed with 14, ABC won 13, HBO won eight, PBS won five and Fox won two.

*****

Additional Information

The 1994 Emmy winners:

Drama series: "Picket Fences," CBS

Actor, drama series: Dennis Franz, "NYPD Blue," ABC

Actress, drama series: Sela Ward, "Sisters," NBC

Supporting actor, drama series: Fyvush Finkel, "Picket Fences," CBS

Supporting actress, drama series: Leigh Taylor-Young, "Picket Fences," CBS Guest actor, drama series: Richard Kiley, "Picket Fences," CBS

Guest actress, drama series: Faye Dunaway, "Columbo," ABC

Directing, drama series: Daniel Sackheim, "NYPD Blue," ABC

Writing, drama series: "NYPD Blue," ABC.

Comedy series: "Frasier," NBC

Actor, comedy series: Kelsey Grammer, "Frasier," NBC

Actress, comedy series: Candice Bergen, "Murphy Brown," CBS

Supporting actor, comedy series: Michael Richards, "Seinfeld," NBC

Supporting actress, comedy series: Laurie Metcalf, "Roseanne," ABC

Guest actor, comedy series: Martin Sheen, "Murphy Brown," CBS

Guest actress, comedy series: Eileen Heckart, "Love & War," CBS

Directing, comedy series: James Burrows, "Frasier," NBC

Writing, comedy series: David Angell, Peter Casey, David Lee, "Frasier," NBC

Miniseries: "Mystery: Prime Suspect 3," PBS

Made-for-TV movie: "And the Band Played On," HBO

Actor, miniseries or special: Hume Cronyn, "To Dance With the White Dog," CBS

Actress, miniseries or special: Kirstie Alley, "David's Mother," CBS

Supporting actor, miniseries or special: Michael Goorjian, "David's Mother," CBS

Supporting actress, miniseries or special: Cicely Tyson, "Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All," CBS

Directing, miniseries or special: John Frankenheimer, "Against the Wall," HBO

Writing, miniseries or special: "David's Mother," CBS

Variety, music or comedy series: "Late Show with David Letterman," CBS

Variety, music or comedy special: "The Kennedy Center Honors," CBS

Directing, variety or music program: Walter C. Miller, "The Tony Awards," CBS

Individual performance, variety or music program: Tracey Ullman, "Tracey Ullman - Takes on New York," HBO

Informational programming: "Cats & Dogs: Dogs Segment," TBS; "George Stevens: D-Day to Berlin," Disney; "Reflections on Elephants," PBS; "The Legend of Billy the Kid," Disney; "The Untold West: The Black West," TBS.

Informational series: "Later with Bob Costas," NBC

Children's program: "Kids Killing Kids-Kids Saving Kids," CBS and Fox

Animated program: "The Roman City," PBS