Grand Old Emmy Party For 'Reagans,' 'Angels'
For drama, the lead actress nominees were last year's winner Edie Falco of "The Sopranos," Jennifer Garner of ABC's "Alias," Mariska Hargitay of NBC's "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," Allison Janney of "The West Wing" and Amber Tamblyn of "Joan."
Last year's lead actor winner, James Gandolfini of "The Sopranos," faces competition this year from Anthony LaPaglia of CBS's "Without a Trace," Martin Sheen of "The West Wing," James Spader of ABC's canceled "The Practice" and Kiefer Sutherland of Fox's "24."
Joining "The Reagans" in the TV movie competition are "And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself," "Something the Lord Made," "Ike: Countdown to D-Day" and "The Lion in Winter."
Competing with "Angels in America" for best miniseries are "American Family: Journey of Dreams," "Horatio Hornblower," "Prime Suspect 6: The Last Witness" and "Traffic: The Miniseries."
And on Sept. 19, America will find out whether the Donald's NBC reality series "The Apprentice" will dethrone CBS's "Amazing Race," which last year was named best reality series. Or whether academy members will instead determine NBC's "Last Comic Standing," CBS's "Survivor" or Fox's "American Idol" to be the best of the unscripted bunch.
Mike "the Little Pirate" Darnell literally came out swinging this afternoon in response to charges he has pirated reality series from other broadcast networks.
"I found out the other day Jeff Zucker is my daddy -- you know, you can't choose your parents," the Fox reality programming guru said after making his Loretta Young entrance at Summer TV Press Tour 2004, bouncing around the stage in black satin boxing shorts, red boxing gloves and a silver robe with his fighting name printed on the back.
Five days earlier, NBC Universal Television Group President Zucker had accused Darnell of stealing NBC's reality boxing series concept, and he also told critics that Darnell was developing a reality series called "Who's My Daddy," in which a young woman tries to figure out which of a group of men is her real father.
"They're scared -- they know we're going to beat them," Darnell told the surprised crowd of critics who have now been holed up in the bowels of the Westin Century Plaza Hotel in West Los Angeles for a solid week.
Earlier in the day, Fox Entertainment President Gail Berman said NBC concocted the piracy charges to distract critics from asking questions about how NBC finished the television season just one-tenth of a rating point ahead of Fox among young viewers.
"We believe the fact that our competitors are generating this controversy is directly related to the fact that we are closer to Number 1 than ever and closer than our rivals would have ever thought possible," Berman said.
"There's no need to defend ourselves. The baseless allegations of theft and extortion are outrageous and unacceptable."
Television is inherently a business of overly precise tribute, she explained.
"There are two boxing shows," she acknowledged, adding: "There were three Amy Fisher movies; there were two Diana movies. This is the way the business works. There's nothing new about it."
Although a script is a "copyrightable entity," a TV show idea is not, she noted.
"Just like scripted programming, the unscripted world has reached a point where multiple projects with similar themes are being pitched simultaneously. . . . In the creative world, ideas must be fluid, and no one can claim sole ownership of an entire arena."
Two days after Zucker appeared before TV critics, ABC Entertainment President Steve McPherson accused Fox of lifting its concept for its fall reality series "Wife Swap." Fox's "Trading Spouses: Meet Your New Mommy" is scheduled to open before ABC's series, which was announced last fall.
Joining Darnell onstage, reality series producer Arthur Smith, whose credits include Fox's plastic surgery beauty pageant series, "The Swan," said such "spontaneous combustion" happens all the time in the world of unscripted TV series. "We're all influenced by the same things," he said.
Both Berman and Darnell said the only reason Fox's mom-swap series is debuting before ABC's wife-swap show is because ABC's show, which was originally slated to debut last spring, got put off twice. As for the boxing series, Berman told critics that Fox was among the networks that made a bid for Mark Burnett's "The Contender" before it was sold to NBC, after which Fox bought one of five other boxing series pitches, from reality production company Endemol.
When one critic asked Berman about Zucker's comment that Fox "used to be innovators and now they're imitators," she shot back, "That's coming to you from the instigator."
© 2004 The Washington Post Company