THE EMMYS ARE COMING THIS SUNDAY

THE EMMYS ARE COMING! SUNDAY, SEPT. 16 ON FOX.
AT THE EMMY AWARDS, WILL THE CRITICS’ CHOICE BE THE BIG WINNERS? TV WRITERS HAVE ALREADY HONORED THE SOPRANOS, HEROES, THE OFFICE AND ALEC BALDWIN

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The Sopranos’ star Lorraine Bracco and creator David Chase

Badda Bing! No doubt one of the highlights of this year’s Emmy Awards will be a special musical salute to The Sopranos, featuring the talented cast of Broadway’s “Jersey Boys” singing the praises of the uber-Jersey boy Tony Soprano (aka Emmy-nominated James Gandolfini).

The Sopranos is nominated for 15 Emmy Awards, more than any other series this year. And whether the HBO drama wins any or all of them on Sunday, the show has already collected two trophies from the Television Critics Association.

The creator-producer of The Sopranos, David Chase was on hand at the 23rd annual TCA Awards, along with members of his production-writing team and stars Edie Falco and Lorraine Bracco. They all took the stage at the Beverly Hilton Hotel when the mob series was honored as Best Drama, and also received the TCA’s Heritage Award, which recognizes long standing programs that have a lasting impact.

During his acceptance, Chase took the opportunity to “sort of” talk about what he had in mind with the abrupt end of the series. Viewers have been upset since the final scene, which went black just as everyone was anticipating that someone was going to get whacked.

Chase explained that for anyone who has walked into a New Jersey diner, you know it is not so unusual for everything to come to a halt. He also mentioned that he had seen the Planet of the Apes as a kid, and his reaction to the final scene of that movie was “Oh, so they had a Statue of Liberty, too. So that’s what you’re dealing with.” Oh yeah, that explains it?

Also picking up awards at the TCA ceremony was NBC’s super fantasy-drama Heroes, named program of the year. It is competing with The Sopranos for a best drama Emmy, so good luck to the rookie show.

The Office won the TCA’s best comedy honor, and is up for an Emmy in that category. And the TCA winner for individual achievement in comedy was Alec Baldwin, who has a chance to take home an Emmy for his work on the SNL-styled sitcom 30 Rock.

Admitting he’s a big fan of Chase and his work, Baldwin gushed out a personal story about how he was disappointed about The Sopranos ending its run without having an opportunity to make a guest appearance. Baldwin revealed he even changed agents in hopes of getting a meeting with Chase that could have lead to a chance to work on the show– but it never happened.

When he did finally meet Chase, Baldwin described that it was like a scene out of a sitcom.

Baldwin said he was in New York on a hot summer day, and he was late for a meeting because he went to the wrong place. He arrived at the Four Seasons Restaurant soaked with sweat, so he went into the men’s room, took off his shirt and tried to dry it. Guess who walked in at that moment? David Chase, who recognized the man airing his shirt in front of the hand dryer.

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30 Rock’s Alec Baldwin

Chase recalled, “I remember thinking, that’s Alec Baldwin, the famous movie star. I didn’t even notice he didn’t have his shirt on.”

At the TV event, they both had a good laugh recalling the embarrassing incident in front of all the critics.

The other shows in the spotlight at the TCA Awards were NBC’s acclaimed football drama Friday Night Lights; Kyle XY, a winner in the children’s programming category; and the fantastic Planet Earth, which won two awards for news and miniseries. The Discovery Channel epic is nominated in the Nonfiction Series Emmy category.

John Oliver, the British correspondent for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (nominated for six Emmys), kicked off the evening with a comedy routine that focused on major events, such as President Bush being sedated during a routine medical check up, and Dick Cheney briefly taking power, officially anyway.
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Frank Barron is the former editor of The Hollywood Reporter, having served twice in that capacity. In between, he was West Coast news director for Billboard Publications, supervising their five magazines.
Barron also created the western TV series “The Man From Blackhawk” for the ABC network.
For more than three decades he and writer-wife Margie Barron have covered Hollywood for Production Update magazine, and they currently contribute to numerous publications.
Frank started in showbiz as publicity director for the KHJ radio and television station. Before moving to California, he was a sports editor in New Jersey.

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