David Caruso's snub and voters' tame tastes may mar this year's awards

By Ken Tucker
Updated September 09, 1994 at 04:00 AM EDT

A spectre haunts this week’s Emmy Awards broadcast (ABC, Sept. 11, 8-11 p.m.), a pale pink, freckled spectre, a presence that is there and yet not there. Aw, David Caruso, why the heck did you have to go and quit NYPD Blue, the year’s most-nominated (26) series? It’s been reported that Caruso, so anxious to shed his TV image and have us think of him as a movie stahhh, won’t even deign to show up for the Emmys. Hope Dennis Franz wins—he’s earned it, and it’d serve Caruso right, wouldn’t it?

As for the rest of the Emmys: On paper, it looks like the usual shoulder- shrug. It will be interesting to see Home Improvement‘s Patricia Richardson and Ellen‘s Ellen DeGeneres host the show; each possesses a tart, dry sense of humor that will undoubtedly come in handy. When it comes to the presenters, I’m putting a blank cassette in the VCR for the award presentations by Frasier’s Kelsey Grammer and David Hyde Pierce, because I assume they’ll be the funniest guys there, and for Melrose Place’s Heather Locklear, because I’m a red-blooded American male.

A few quick picks:
* Best Comedy Series: For once, all the nominees deserve to be there: Frasier, Home Improvement, The Larry Sanders Show, Mad About You, and Seinfeld. (I’d have replaced Mad with Roseanne, but the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences has never known how to handle Roseanne’s stubborn genius.) Larry Sanders, brilliant and prickly, deserves the statue and won’t get it (because too many Academy voters don’t get it). I’m confident the Emmy will go to Frasier, which is certainly well-deserved.
* Best Drama Series: Forget Northern Exposure and Law & Order—their award- winning days are past. Forget Picket Fences-—it won last year. And forget Star Trek: The Next Generation—it’s nice the Academy recognized a show in syndication, but no way are the fogy voters going to give an Emmy to a sci-fi show. So NYPD Blue wins, easily.
* Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy: Doesn’t matter who else is nominated; if David Hyde Pierce doesn’t win, I’m moving to Canada.

The only other category that intrigues me is Best Informational Series, which puts poor Julia Child up against Cops, pits Bob Costas’ good old version of Later against the foolishly revamped Entertainment Tonight, and dangles Siskel & Ebert as a sort of booby prize. I like Costas, but I’m rooting for Julia.