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NBC: Emmys Draw 50 Million Viewers

September 15, 1998

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ An estimated 50 million viewers watched all or part of the 50th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, the ceremony’s biggest audience in 12 years, NBC said Monday.

Sunday’s show celebrated a half-century of television history and saw ``Frasier″ make history with an unprecedented fifth victory as best comedy series.

NBC based its audience estimate for the expanded, four-hour ceremony on overnight ratings from Nielsen Media Research’s 40 metered markets, which represent 60 percent of the country.

Final national ratings are scheduled to be released Tuesday.

In 1986, the Emmys attracted an average audience of about 50.5 million, according to Nielsen’s national ratings.

``Frasier,″ which inherits the ``Seinfeld″ Thursday night throne next week, is the first series in the history of the awards _ comedy or drama _ to win five Emmys.

It topped the four best comedy Emmys won by ``Cheers,″ the sitcom on which psychiatrist Frasier Crane was born. ``All in the Family″ and ``The Dick Van Dyke Show″ also won four.

``Frasier″ star Kelsey Grammer received the best comedy actor trophy, while a supporting actor award went to David Hyde Pierce, who plays his brother, Niles.

Another big winner was the made-for-television movie ``George Wallace,″ which captured three awards including one for star Gary Sinise’s portrayal of the flamboyant Southern politician.

Ironically, Wallace died Sunday in a Montgomery, Ala., hospital.

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