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The Marvin Kitman Awards Special

January 14, 1995


And The Marvy Goes To....

by Marvin Kitman

THE BIGGEST question as the envelopes start opening at the Emmy show on Fox Sunday night at 8 is: Who won the Marvys?

The Marvys, as everybody in Queens and Long Island knows, are the prestigious and unknown (in L.A.) awards that will replace the Emmys someday. They are a serious experiment in reforming the Emmy voting process, which has led such TV scholars as Pat Grant of Flushing to say, "A pox on the Emmys and their ancestors."

"For years, I've questioned the judgment of `the powers that be' who select the Emmy nominees," explained Janet D'Airo of West Islip. " It's about time someone asked the average Long Islander about the shows he or she preferred," noted above-average Marvy voter Dorothy Smith of Bayport.

The Marvys, launched here on Aug. 13, is a different TV poll. It is not like the People's Choice Awards, which has the audacity to call itself the people's choice, as if it were really the people's choice. I have not met a single person who ever voted for his or her choice for favorite shows or stars. As Kathleen Baruch of Centereach argued, "Where were the ballots? Telephoning a few people from millions of TV viewers is not representative of me or most. Nobody chooses my food or clothing. Don't choose your favorite actor or show as mine."

Peer groups vote for the Emmys. The Marvy voting is done by the real peer group, TV viewers, the ones who really watch TV. How much TV do the Emmy peer groups watch? A lot less than you. "Only the Marvys, " as Robert A. Knorr of Massapequa observed, "dare to look the couch potato in the eye(s)." The Marvy voters have no special interest, like Emmy voters whose livelihoods depend on who wins. The Marvys is a poll without axioms to grind, the only one that gives the little people a chance to have their say.

The other major reform is the fact that the Marvys have made voting logical. The new shows and actors compete against their own kind, i.e., other new shows and actors. The old shows already have their prizes, having won the industry's highest accolades, the Nielsens. That's why they are old.

In order to take heavy decision-making away from Orange and L.A. Counties, where they are too concerned about getting the right celery juice to drink or ashram to attend, the Marvys voting is limited to people from Nassau and Suffolk Counties. To make sure it would be a well-rounded poll, we added Queens. Nielsen families and anybody else who has ever been asked their opinion about TV were specifically excluded from voting. Since this barred only about three families, it was most democratic.

The other qualification is owning a TV set. "I have two more sets. Can I vote two more times?" asked lawyer Haig Chekenian of Smithtown. No.

Seven-hundred and sixty-eight serious TV viewers participated in the first Marvys, a group that someday may go down in history with the people on The Mayflower. The polls closed on Aug. 27. The accounting firm of Craig Sernotti of Teaneck, N.J., did the counting and certified the accuracy of the results.

More people proportionately may be waiting for the Marvys than the Sunday-night Emmys, which experts say could achieve the lowest ratings in Emmys in centuries. Hey, this is starting to sound like the Emmys already. Without further ado, the envelopes, please. The first Marvy in history, for the Best New Drama of 1995, goes to "E R" (NBC).

First Honorable Mention: "Chicago Hope" (CBS).
Second Honorable Mention: "Under Suspicion (CBS).
The Best Old Drama, according to Marvy voters, was "NYPD Blue" (ABC).
Honorable mention: "The X-Files" (Fox). There are more X-heads than you ever imagined.
The Best New Comedy in a very limited field this year was "Friends" (NBC). Inevitable, but not without dissent. "It's pretentious and ridiculous," explained naysayer Susan Morley of East Meadow. " Did you ever see a group of friends, all of whom are good-looking? Do they ever talk about each other behind their backs? Totally unreal." She voted for none of the above: "They all stink."
The Best Old Comedy: "Seinfeld" (NBC). Big Massapequa vote.
Honorable mention: "Frasier" (NBC), but "The Nanny" (CBS) was gaining as the polls closed.
The winner of the Marvy for Best Actor, New Drama is Anthony Edwards of "E R."
Honorable mention: Mandy Patinkin, "Chicago Hope" (CBS).
The Best Actor, Old Drama: Dennis Franz of "NYPD Blue," despite his prostate exam. In the most exciting race for second place, Andre Braugher of "Homicide" (NBC) (142 votes) nipped David Duchovny of "The X-Files" (132). Neither of them was even nominated by the Emmy people, which shows you where their heads were at.
The Marvy for Best Actor, New Comedy, went to David Schwimmer of "Friends." Significantly, Matthew Perry got almost three times as many votes as his good buddy Matt LeBlanc, which says something, what I' m not sure.
The biggest and most wonderful surprise winner was David Hyde Pierce of "Frasier" in the category of Best Actor, Old Comedy. Niles Crane finally beat his brother at something.
Honorable mention: Paul Reiser of "Mad About You" (NBC). Interestingly, Jerry Seinfeld trailed Jason Alexander and was hard-pressed to stay ahead of Jerry Stiller, who makes such a strong impression even in a limited role.
The Best Actress, New Drama, Marvy goes to Sherry Stringfield of "E R." Karen Sillas of "Under Suspicion" and Wading River won honorable mention.
Best Actress, Old Drama: Sharon Lawrence of "NYPD Blue." Gillian Anderson of "The X-Files," conspiracyologists will note, was second.
Best Actress, New Comedy, was Lisa Kudrow of "Friends" with 234 votes. As much as I like her massage technique, I disagree totally here. Cybill Shepherd, whose 216 votes gave her second prize, is still the best. If you added in the write-in votes for her sidekick in "Cybill, " Christine Baranski (22), together this team would have won. They are inseparable friends on the show, which is well on its way to being the "AbFab" of commercial TV sitcom in consumption of alcohol.
Best Actress, Old Comedy, and no doubt about this: Helen Hunt of "Mad About You."
Honorable mention: Fran Drescher of "The Nanny."
The Marvy for the best "Friends"-type show went to "Friends, " beating out the founding friends show, "Seinfeld."
Looking back, I want to compliment the 768 voters on their wise choices. "It was not an easy vote," explained Doris Rubinstein of Howard Beach, "since under most categories, I really liked 2 (or 3) actors or shows equally."
I can't argue with any of the selections, except for "Friends" as best new comedy. My vote went to "The Critic" (ABC), which has gone to the place in the sky where it will always be a hit. I am a little disappointed that "Law & Order" (NBC) was totally shut out. "If they spent one-tenth the time promoting the cast of `L&O' that they do with `Friends,' Chris Noth would have a mantel full of Emmys and Marvys, " explained Gina McGovern of Bethpage, a big booster of Chris Noth for Best Actor, Old Drama.
I know that the Marvys are arriving as an institution in this its first year by the fact that already there are Marvy-bashers. " How could you have left off Julia Louis-Dreyfus (`Seinfeld') in Best Actress, Old Comedy?" complained Owen Panettieri of Oakdale. "Julia is ten times the actress and comedian of Fran Drescher."
I also want to apologize for omitting Tim Allen from Best Actor, Old Comedy, in "Home Improvement" (ABC). But he's used to that.
Next year, the way the Marvys are going, there could be an awards show, even televised on a rival network. "Maybe I could hand out the awards," volunteered Jennifer Dalton of North Babylon. "Like they have Miss Golden Globes, I can be Miss Marvy." You've got a date, Miss Marvy.
And now bring on the Emmys. I can hardly wait to see how the powers-that-be in LaLa Land voted in their unfair, loaded elections.

"ER" (310); "Chicago Hope" (123); "Under Suspicion" (112); "My So- Called Life" (99); "Party of Five" (63); "Cracker" (25); "Star Trek: Voyager" (34); "Under One Roof" (18). Others: "Due South" (3); "Anna Lee" (2); "VR.5."

"Friends" (467); "Cybill" (166); "The Critic" (60); "The Martin Short Show" (18); "Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist" (7). Others: "Ellen" (4); "Me and the Boys" (3); "NewsRadio" (2); "TV Nation"; OJ Trial; "Rush Limbaugh."

"NYPD Blue" (222); "The X-Files" (138); "Homicide" (114); "Law & Order" (101); "Sisters" (95); "Picket Fences" (85). Others: "Lois & Clark" (8); "Melrose Place" (6); "Northern Exposure" (4); "Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman" (3).

"Seinfeld" (222); "Frasier" (188); "The Nanny" (158); "John Larroquette Show" (57); "Roseanne" (56); "The Larry Sanders Show" (33); "Absolutely Fabulous" (22). Others: "Mad About You" (18); "Home Improvement" (11); "Simpsons" (7); "Wings" (6); "Grace Under Fire" (6); "Married . . . With Children" (3); "Dream On" (3); "Meet the Press."

Anthony Edwards, "ER" (204); Mandy Patinkin, "Chicago Hope" (199); George Clooney, "ER" (173); James Earl Jones, "Under One Roof" (64); Adam Arkin, "Chicago Hope" (55); Robbie Coltrane, "Cracker" (36). Others: Noah Wyle (7); Matthew Fox, "Party of Five" (6); Scott Wolf, "POF" (5); Jared Leto, "My So-Called Life" (4); Devon Gummersall, "MS-CL"; Newt Gingrich.

Dennis Franz, "NYPD Blue" (225); Andre Braugher, "Homicide" (142); David Duchovny, "The X-Files" (132); Fyvush Finkel, "Picket Fences" (103); Chris Noth, "Law & Order" (86); Kyle Secor, Ned Beatty, Richard Belzer and Dan Baldwin, "Homicide" (42). Others: Jimmy Smits (12); Dean Cain (6); Ray Walston (4); Tom Skerritt (3); Patrick Stewart (2); Sam Waterston (2); Robert Klein (2); Jerry Orbach; Flipper.

David Schwimmer, "Friends" (347); Matthew Perry, "Friends" (198); Matt Le Blanc, "Friends" (69); Martin Short, "The Martin Short Show" (39). Others: Jon Lovitz (7); Alan Rosenberg (5); Tom Wopat (3); Michael Moore; Phil Hartman; Chris Barrie, (Brittas Empire); Lance Ito.

David Hyde Pierce, "Frasier" (221); Paul Reiser, "Mad About You" (191); Jason Alexander, "Seinfeld" (115); Jerry Seinfeld, "Seinfeld" (78); Kelsey Grammer, "Frasier" (77); Jerry Stiller, "Seinfeld" (43); Rip Torn, "Larry Sanders" (30); Garry Shandling, "Larry Sanders" (14). Others: Tim Allen (8); John Larroquette (8); Michael Richards (6); Ed O'Neill (3); John Goodman (3); Jeffrey Tambor; Sam Donaldson.

Sherry Stringfield, "ER" (255); Karen Sillas, "Under Suspicion" (215); Claire Danes, "My So-Called Life" (177); Kate Mulgrew, "Star Trek: Voyager" (78). Others: Neve Campbell, "Party of Five" (5); Marcia Clark (2); Cicely Tyson, "Sweet Justice"; Vanessa Bell Calloway, "Under One Roof."

Sharon Lawrence, "NYPD Blue" (201); Gillian Anderson, "The X-Files" (115); Kathy Baker, "Picket Fences" (99); Teri Hatcher, "Lois & Clark" (99); Janine Turner, "Northern Exposure" (83); Heather Locklear, "Melrose Place" (81); Melissa Leo, "Homicide" (44). Others: Sela Ward (6); Angela Lansbury (6); Swoozie Kurtz (3); Jane Seymour (2); Hillary Clinton; Gail O'Grady.

Lisa Kudrow, "Friends" (234); Cybill Shepherd, "Cybill" (216); Courteney Cox, "Friends" (118); Jennifer Aniston, "Friends" (100); Jan Hooks, "The Martin Short Show" (15); Andrea Martin, "The Martin Short Show" (15). Others: Christine Baranski (22); the skinny girl from "`Hope and Gloria"; L-M Presley Jackson; Synclare, "Living Single"; Marcia Clark.

Helen Hunt, "Mad About You" (330); Fran Drescher, "The Nanny" (200); Brett Butler, "Grace Under Fire" (97); Roseanne (78); Jennifer Saunders, "AbFab" (17); Joanna Lumley, "AbFab" (9). Others: Julia Louis-Dreyfus (7); Patricia Richardson (3); Candice Bergen (3); Christina Applegate (3); Ellen (2); Eleanor Clift, "McLaughlin Group"; Queen Latifah, "Living Single."

"Friends" (381); "Seinfeld" (256); "Ellen" (76); "Wild Oats" (0). Others: "Living Single" (5); "My So-Called Life" (4); "Absolutely Fabulous" (4); "Mad About You"; "Pig qSty"; None of the above.

Talk with Marvin Kitman on Newsday Direct's bulletin board. To connect to the online computer service, call 800-845-1195. Or send him a private e-mail message at

Copyright 1995, Newsday Inc.

“Do we have to keep talking about religion? It's Christmas.”

Danielle Chase, Episode 15: "So-Called Angels"