Bradley Whitford and Allison Janney: Tsuni/Image Direct
Gary Susman
November 07, 2001 AT 05:00 AM EST

THE SEMI-EMMYS Last night’s twice-rescheduled Emmys seemed kind of irrelevant, what with New Yorkers still busy coping with devastation. But it wasn’t just that the Emmys were on CBS opposite the final game of the World Series on Fox, where the Yankees were losing their first fall classic in years. Everything about the awards show seemed devoid of the usual hoopla, from the clothes (a few actresses did flout the officewear dress code and wore designer gowns, but nothing too flashy) to the host (Ellen DeGeneres got in a few pointed remarks at the opening and earned some laughs later by appearing in a knockoff of Björk‘s swan gown from the Oscars, but otherwise hung back on the sidelines), to the drama of who would win the awards.

There were some surprises (”Sex and the City” became the first cable series to win best comedy), but otherwise, the tally was largely a reprise of last year, with ”West Wing” edging out ”The Sopranos” (”West Wing” picked up best drama, best supporting actor and actress for Bradley Whitford and Allison Janney and best directing; ”Sopranos” picked up best lead actor and actress for James Gandolfini and Edie Falco and best writing). Even the acceptance speeches displayed little of the usual endless listing of little-people-without-whom, perhaps because so few of the winners actually showed up. (As a result, the telecast ran only a hair over three hours.)

The biggest surprise of the evening came with the finale, when supposedly absent winner Barbra Streisand (who hadn’t appeared to collect her trophy for best performer in a music special for her ”Timeless” concert) sang a dramatic ”You’ll Never Walk Alone” in front of a wall pasted with names of those lost on Sept. 11. For’s full coverage of the Emmys, click here.

REEL DEALS Nicolas Cage will produce and star in ”The Volunteer.” It’s a sci-fi thriller by ”The Outer Limits” writer Sam Egan about an Iowa state trooper who becomes a pawn in a struggle between two alien races….

He may have just stepped up security on his private plane and in his mailroom, but don’t call John Travolta‘s bravery into question. ”I drive fast cars, I fly fast planes, I will sail a boat, I’ll drive a motorcycle… I will do kind of controlled daredevil things,” he tells TV Guide. What he won’t try is the kind of challenges wife Kelly Preston will face on the upcoming celebrity edition of ”Fear Factor”: ”I wouldn’t dare leave a perfectly good airplane [via parachute]. I wouldn’t dare eat a perfectly good goat’s eye. I wouldn’t allow bugs to crawl up my nostrils when I don’t have to. But my wife is fascinated with that show, as is most of the public.” Travolta wouldn’t say exactly what stunts Preston will have to do, only that ”one is kind of gross and two are kind of daredevil-y. But it wasn’t like the equivalent of eating some animal’s testicles or something.” Guess neither Travolta nor Preston has the cojones for that.

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