With its previous wins, "Candelabra" has a chance to tie HBO's "John Adams" for most Emmys for a movie or miniseries. For the record, going into Sunday's show, HBO's nearest competitor is CBS with 15 wins while NBC has 11. CBS's "Undercover Boss" won best reality show, "South Park" was named best animated show, and "Project Runway's" Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn took the best reality host award. Guest actor/actress categories brought an Emmy to comedy legend Bob Newhart — amazingly his first — for a role on "The Big Bang Theory," and Oscar-winner Melissa Leo won for a turn on "Louie."
Meanwhile, the streaming service Netflix — a non-network — made history when it won two Emmys last week for its highly acclaimed series "House of Cards," including outstanding casting for a drama series and outstanding cinematography for a single camera series. The real question is: Will "House of Cards" make even more history if it takes the best drama statuette or if Kevin Spacey wins as the best actor in a drama? They are both real possibilities.
Another potential breakthrough would be if Kerry Washington wins best actress for "Scandal." Debbie Allen ("Fame") and Regina Taylor ("I'll Fly Away") were nominated in this category, but Washington would be the first African-American actress to win for playing the lead role in an ongoing drama series.
As for the Emmy telecast itself, in a teleconference Wednesday, executive producer Ken Ehrlich and Jack Sussman, head of CBS Specials, were tight-lipped about specifics. They did spend a lot of time defending their already announced selections for the "In Memoriam" segments that will be scattered throughout the show.
Jane Lynch will pay tribute to her "Glee" co-star Cory Monteith, while Edie Falco will remember "Sopranos" co-star James Gandolfini. Michael J. Fox will honor "Family Ties" producer Gary David Goldberg, Rob Reiner his "All in the Family" co-star Jean Stapleton, and Robin Williams will pay homage to his friend and mentor Jonathan Winters ("Mork and Mindy").
Some have wondered about the inclusion of "Glee's" Monteith, who had a relatively brief career, instead of Larry Hagman and Jack Klugman, two deceased longtime TV stars who had multiple hit shows.
"No matter what we do, there will be people who feel we had other options and could have done other things," Ehrlich said. "In all candor, this becomes a producer's option. And in this case, we selected these five knowing certainly others could be treated this way."
The producer admitted that the cultural impact of "Glee" played a part in the selection of Monteith, who died of a drug overdose in July.
"It was a rather personal choice — Cory's appeal is to a different generation," said Ehrlich. "At 31, he passed away under very different circumstances. It was important to be responsible to the younger viewers to whom Cory meant perhaps as much as these other individuals meant to their own generations."
Earlier on Wednesday, Ehrlich and Sussman announced a segment to be presented by Don Cheadle that will mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and television coverage of the event. Because of television, Ehrlich noted, "it was the first time a country mourned collectively for the death of a president." The tribute will also look forward 80 days to the 50th anniversary performance of the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show on Feb.9, 1964. Carrie Underwood will perform songs from the era, and although the producers would not reveal which ones, Sussman acknowledged that there would be Beatle tunes.