'Raymond', 'Lost', Score at Emmys

At Sunday night's Emmy awards, the retired sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond won for best comedy series and new hit Lost won for best drama.

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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

Now the 57th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards took place last night in Los Angeles. The retired sitcom "Everybody Loves Raymond" won for best comedy series and the new hit, "Lost" won for best drama. But the Emmys were not all about celebration, as NPR's Nova Safa reports.

NOVA SAFA reporting:

For comedian Ellen DeGeneres, it was the second time hosting the Emmys, and just like the first she was doing so after a major trauma in the national psyche. In 2001, it was after September 11. This time around, DeGeneres, spoke of the Gulf Coast disaster.

(Soundbite of 57th Primetime Emmy Awards)

Ms. ELLEN DeGENERES: You'll notice that some of us are wearing magnolias for support of the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

(Soundbite of clapping)

Ms. DeGENERES: New Orleans is my hometown and I have family in Mississippi. Our thoughts and our prayers go out to everyone affected.

(Soundbite of clapping)

SAFO: With that, the Emmys dove right into the show and what viewers saw was a revamped telecast. The Emmys saw its ratings drop 27 percent over the past five years, so CBS brought in producer Ken Ehrlich who has kept up the ratings for the Grammy Awards. His changes ranged from a brisk pace to several performances of favorite TV themes. This one from "The Jeffersons," sung by R&B artist Macy Gray and actor Gary Dourdan.

(Soundbite of "The Jeffersons")

Ms. MACY GRAY and Mr. GARY DOURDAN: (Singing in unison) Now we're up in the big leagues, taking our turn at bat. Now that we're here, it's you and me baby. Ain't nothing wrong with that.

SAFO: As for the awards themselves, several previous Emmy winners won again, including Tony Shalhoub, who won best comedic actor for his work in "Monk," James Spader of ABC's "Boston Legal" won for best dramatic actor. The primetime soap "Desperate Housewives" went in with 15 nominations and left the telecast with two wins. Three of its stars competed against each other for best actress. Felicity Huffman won.

(Soundbite of 57th Primetime Emmy Awards)

Ms. FELICITY HUFFMAN: I'd like to thank David Mamet for putting me in his plays. I would like to thank Aaron Sorkin for watching those plays and casting me on "Sports Night."

(Soundbite of clapping)

Ms. HUFFMAN: And I would like to thank the stellar Marc Cherry from whom all good things come.

SAFO: It was Huffman's first Emmy win. The same was true for Patricia Arquette, who won for her starring role in the "Medium." On stage she saluted the volunteers aiding victims of the Katrina disaster. Backstage she admitted she had some reservations about the relevance of the Emmys.

(Soundbite of 57th Primetime Emmy Awards)

Ms. PATRICIA ARQUETTE: I don't know, it was a real conflict. People are saying no, people want to get distracted and they want to see glamour, but I don't want to be garish because this is a time of--you know, people are in real need and that's all that is really important right now.

SAFO: The show's producers were aware of that challenge and mentions of Katrina were heard throughout the program. The most direct comments came from comedian Jon Stewart, who was asked by the producers to do something, as he put it, topical and edgy. Stewart focused some of his attacks on the former FEMA director Michael Brown. Stewart's segment was pretaped, complete with deliberately comedic fake censorship.

(Soundbite of 57th Primetime Emmy Awards)

Mr. JON STEWART (Comedian): He didn't know people were stranded at the Convention Center. Turn on the television and watch...

Unidentified Man: "Two and a Half Men" every Monday on CBS.

SAFO: John Stewart was on stage two other times. His program "The Daily Show" was given awards for writing and outstanding variety, music or comedy series. Nova Safo, NPR News, Los Angeles.

INSKEEP: This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

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