NBC is broadcasting the 50th annual prime-time Emmy Awards ceremonies on Sunday (6 p.m., Ch. 5), and to celebrate, the network will devote almost five minutes of air time for each of those 50 years.
The broadcast is scheduled to run for a whopping four hours. On purpose.Do we really need a four-hour awards show of any kind? Of course not.
But that's what we're saddled with, so TV-addicts will have to make the best of it. At least there are the awards, which provide some small degree of suspense.
In an effort to kill that suspense, here's who you can expect to see win in some of the major categories, as well as who ought to win.
DRAMA SERIES: "ER," "Law & Order," "NYPD Blue," "The Practice" and "The X-Files."
Will win: "The Practice," because the voters love David E. Kelley.
Should win: "The Practice," because it's a great show.
Long shot: "ER"
COMEDY SERIES: "Ally McBeal," "Frasier," "The Larry Sanders Show," "Seinfeld" and "3rd Rock From the Sun."
Will win: Could be a farewell present to the departed "Sein-feld."
Should win: "Frasier" is still the best comedy on TV. "Ally McBeal" is a great show, but it doesn't really fit the category. (Of course, it doesn't fit as a drama, either.)
Long shot: "Larry Sanders"
MINISERIES: "Armistead Maupin's More Tales of the City" (Showtime), "From the Earth to the Moon" (HBO), "George Wallace" (TNT), "Merlin" (NBC) and "Moby Dick" (USA).
Will win: "From the Earth to the Moon." What, you think the Academy will overlook something that Tom Hanks was involved with?
Should win: "From the Earth to the Moon"
Long shot: "Merlin"
ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES: Andre Braugher ("Homicide: Life on the Street"), David Duchovny ("X-Files"), Anthony Edwards ("ER"), Dennis Franz ("NYPD Blue") and Jimmy Smits ("NYPD Blue").
Will win: Smits just might pick one up after watching his co-star, Franz, win three of the last four.
Should win: Braugher - and the Emmys ought to be sued for ignoring him.
ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES: Gillian Anderson ("The X-Files"), Roma Downey ("Touched by an Angel"), Christine Lahti ("Chicago Hope"), Julianna Margulies ("ER") and Jane Seymour ("Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman").
Will win: Yikes. There's no clear favorite. This might be Lahti's year.
Should win: Margulies, although she'd have a better chance if she had nominated herself in the supporting actress category. (Under the Emmy rules, they all nominate themselves.)
Long shot: Anderson
ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES: Michael J. Fox ("Spin City"), Kelsey Grammer ("Frasier"), John Lithgow ("3rd Rock From the Sun"), Paul Reiser ("Mad About You") and Garry Shandling ("The Larry Sanders Show").
Will win: The voters are inexplicably enchanted with Lithgow's over-the-top overacting, so he'll (cringe) win his third in a row.
Should win: Grammer, who's great on TV's best comedy.
Long shot: Garry Shandling
ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES: Kirstie Alley ("Veronica's Closet"), Ellen DeGeneres ("Ellen"), Jenna Elfman ("Dharma & Greg"), Calista Flockheart ("Ally McBeal"), Helen Hunt ("Mad About You") and Patricia Richardson ("Home Improvement").
Will win: Flockhart, who's great as Ally. (And voters will want to reward the show somehow.)
Should win: Flockhart would be a good choice, but so would Elfman or Richardson.
Longshot: Hunt, who didn't have a great year on a fading "Mad About You," but Emmy voters love Oscar winners.