Sunday, September 15, 2002

Delayed season eliminates shot at Emmy award

By John Kiesewetter,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        James Gandolfini's streak winning the Emmy for best drama actor will end at two.

        The Sopranos star can't win this year, because the show wasn't eligible for the 54th annual Primetime Emmy Awards next Sunday. No new episodes have aired in the past year. (HBO telecast the last original 16 months ago, in May 2001.)

        HBO executives delayed The Sopranos until September to keep Sex and the City at 9 p.m. Sunday in the summer.

        The decision was fine with David Chase, The Sopranos creator and executive producer, because it gave him more time to make the 13-episode fourth season.

        “I personally, and I guess everyone, welcomed the down time. But it was mostly HBO's desire not to shift the schedule around. They have a really good thing going with Sex and the City in the summertime,” Mr. Chase said.

        “The wait was a risk we took . . . because we really believe in the show,” said Carolyn Strauss, HBO senior vice president for original programming.

        Already HBO's gamble has paid off. Even without The Sopranos, HBO led all networks with 93 Emmy nominations. HBO's Six Feet Under topped the list with 23 nominations, while Band of Brothers drew 19 and Sex and the City had 10. (Last year, The Sopranos led all shows with 22 nominations.)

        Conan O'Brien hosts the Primetime Emmy Awards next Sunday on NBC (8 p.m., Channels 5, 22).



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