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HBO Dominates Emmy Awards

Queen Elizabeth I reigned again Sunday night, as the biopic of the English monarch became the most honored program of the 2005-2006 television season at the 58th Primetime Emmy Awards.

The HBO program earned nine awards combined in ceremonies Aug. 19 and last night, helping the pay network to an Emmy total of 26 awards, the most of any broadcast or cable network. Elizabeth I took home the trophies including best mini-series, best director and for two of its stars, Jeremy Irons and Helen Mirren.

HBO carried four of the top 10 most honored shows. Other multiple winners included the documentary Baghdad ER and Romewith four awards each (bestowed Aug. 19) and The Girl in the Cafe, a made for television movie which mixed the politics of poverty with a tender romance, winning three Emmys in the telecast Sunday.

A big trend this year was nominations for canceled series. FX and Showtime cashed in on two shuttered shows. Andre Braugher was named the outstanding actor in a miniseries or movie for his role in Thief on FX, which became a short-lived series; and Blythe Danner won her second consecutive Emmy as best supporting actress for Showtime's quietly canned Huff.

“I guess I have to thank Showtime, even though they’ve canceled us,” groused Danner as she picked up her award.

But Braugher had nothing but good things to say about his network home backstage. FX supported his show with creative promotions, but the audience “just didn't show up,” he said. Asked what he’d like next, now that he has two Emmys, Braugher said he would ike to head up a hit show.

NBC was the second highest Emmy winner Sunday with 6 statuettes, including best comedy for The Office; followed by Fox with 3, including best drama series 24; CBS and Comedy Central with two (the latter's Emmys were both for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart); and ABC, PBS, FX, Showtime and USA each won one. The latter network's honor was a repeat award for Tony Shaloub as best actor in a comedy.

The tally for both Primetime Emmy awards shows: HBO, 26; NBC, 16; ABC, 11; Fox, 10; CBS, 9; PBS, 8; Cartoon Network, 4; History Channel, 3; Comedy Central, The Disney Channel, FX, Showtime and TNT with two each; and A&E, Discovery Channel, Nickelodeon, Sci-Fi Channel, TCM, USA and the WB each with one award each.

This season, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences introduced nomination by jury for the lead acting and best series awards. Executives will convene in two months to determine whether this year's changes brought about the desired diversity among those nominees, or whether they need to tweak the process further.