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Monday, September 13, 1999 Published at 07:27 GMT 08:27 UK


Legal shows scoop top Emmys

"Ally" and The Practice's Dylan McDermott with David E Kelly (centre)

Shows about the bedroom and courtroom capers of lawyers, The Practice and Ally McBeal, have scooped two top honours in the Emmy awards in the US, confirming producer David Kelley's position as one of Hollywood's hottest TV show creators.

The Practice's award for best dramatic series edged out cable TV network HBO's top-nominated drama series, The Sopranos, which received 16 Emmy nominations.

[ image: No award for Soprano's star James Gandolfini]
No award for Soprano's star James Gandolfini
The mafia drama, which won the hearts of the critics in its first season, took only two awards - best actress in a dramatic role, which went to Edie Falco, and an award for best screenwriting.

Many industry watchers had predicted a sweeping victory for the series about a mob family headed by a don who reveals all his worries to a therapist.

Even Kelley, a former lawyer married to actress Michelle Pfeiffer, confessed to an element of surprise with the triumph of The Practice.

"I think you can see for the looks on our faces, we're a little surprised, but we'll take it," he said.

The producer's other triumph of the ceremony, best comedy series Ally McBeal beat Frasier, which appeared to be on target for a record-breaking sixth consecutive Emmy.

[ image: Treble: 3rd Rock star Lithgow's third emmy]
Treble: 3rd Rock star Lithgow's third emmy
One repeat performance came from Dennis Franz, who won his fourth Emmy for the portrayal of Andy Sipowicz in the long-running cop series NYPD Blue.

And John Lithgow received his third Emmy for his role in the comedy series 3rd Rock from the Sun.

He joked: "I really don't know why I have won this. As far as I can tell every actor in this town thinks what I do on '3rd Rock' is completely disgraceful. I'm embarrassed myself."

Hollywood veterans Anne Bancroft and Peter O'Toole won awards for best supporting actress and actor in a mini-series or made-for-TV movie. Bancroft was honoured for her role in Deep in My Heart, and O'Toole for Joan of Arc.

TV's highest honours

Best actress in that category went to British actress Helen Mirren for her portrayal as right-wing writer Ayn Rand in The Passion of Ayn Rand.

[ image: Mirren adds another Emmy to her collection]
Mirren adds another Emmy to her collection
In the comedy category, Oscar-winner Helen Hunt took her fourth consecutive Emmy as best actress for her role in the seven-year series Mad about you.

Britain's Tracey Ullman added to the Ally McBeal Emmy success story with the trophy for best guest actress in a comedy series.

ITV co-production Horatio Hornblower, starring Welsh actor Ioan Gruffud, was named best mini-series.

The awards, given out each year by the 9,500-member Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, are considered US TV's highest honours.

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