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From Kansascity.com

Buffy The Vampire Slayer

The Emmy Awards will be shown at 7 p.m. Sunday on Fox.

By Aaron Barnhart

Saturday 20 September 2003, by Webmaster

Emmy’s next travesty won’t be its first `The Wire’ joins long line of worthy efforts Academy ignored. When the Primetime Emmy Awards are handed out Sunday night, the best series of the 2002-03 television season won’t be up for a single trophy.

"The Wire," an intense drama set in the mean streets of Baltimore, had its premiere on HBO in the summer of 2002, qualifying it for this year’s Emmys. Yet when the nominations were announced in July, "The Wire" failed to show up in any category — not for its superb writing, sublime acting or obvious technical excellence (in cinematography and art direction, for instance).

"The Wire" seems to have bumped up against an invisible quota that applies only to HBO programs. A recent report in Variety confirmed as much, reflecting insider wisdom that "The Wire" was burdened with the "added handicap" of competing with two other dramas on its network, "The Sopranos" and "Six Feet Under," that are also critical favorites.

As awards-night travesties go, however, Emmy oversights can’t begin to compare with the head-scratchers perpetrated over the years by the Oscars. For "The Wire," at least, there will be another chance next year. Maybe that’s why no Emmy outrage has ever stirred up the sort of hullabaloo that, say, Spike Lee’s "Do the Right Thing" did in 1990 when it failed to garner a best picture nomination.

That’s not to say the TV academy hasn’t handed out its share of turkeys. And in honor of "The Wire" — and "Gilmore Girls" and "Scrubs" and the other deserving shows that couldn’t beg or buy an Emmy nod this year — here are some lowlights of recent Emmy history:

• "Murphy Brown" wins best comedy, 1992. Smelling blood just weeks before the general election, the Hollywood establishment threw its votes to Candice Bergen for daring to challenge the mighty Dan Quayle. It all started when Bergen’s character gave birth to an out-of-wedlock baby, leading to a rebuke from the vice president of the United States. Murphy ridiculed Quayle in a subsequent episode and defended her right to bring a child husbandless into the world.

Limousine liberals thought justice was served, but fans of an up-and-coming nominee called "Seinfeld" thought otherwise. "Murphy Brown" and Quayle deserved each other — they were both boring overachievers.

• Helen Hunt wins best comedic actress for a third and fourth time, 1998-99. OK, maybe she deserved those trophies in 1996 and 1997 against the likes of Fran Drescher and Cybill Shepherd. But four years in a row? No way. "Home Improvement’s" Patricia Richardson earned at least one of those for her years of making Tim Allen look good. By 1999, when Patricia Heaton and Jenna Elfman were in the mix, the academy’s continuing support of Hunt and her witless comedy, "Mad About You," smacked of laziness.

• "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," 1997-2003. Seven seasons, just a smattering of nominations and a measly two Emmys for makeup and music. As "Gilmore Girls" is finding out, being on the WB network is like landing a plane in Barstow — you’re off the radar in L.A.

• Sela Ward wins best dramatic actress in 2000. There’s always the danger that when two actresses from the same show are nominated, as Lorraine Bracco and Edie Falco were that year for "The Sopranos," they will split the vote. Ward is a fine talent, but "Once and Again" was a lightweight show compared with "The Sopranos."

• Jay Leno defeats David Letterman for best variety show, 1995. I don’t care how many more people watch Jay. This must never happen again.