"Sopranos" "Ally" Gets Jump On Emmys

So far, so good for The Sopranos and Ally McBeal.

The two Emmy favorites picked up two trophies each at the technical portion of the prime-time awards show, Saturday night in Pasadena, California--thereby helping the series avoid one of those uncomfortable, we-got-lots-of-nominations-but-zero-wins episodes.

HBO's mob drama The Sopranos, this year's league-leader with 16 overall nods, scored wins for casting and single-camera editing.

Fox's Ally McBeal, with 13 nominations on the line, took home trophies for sound mixing and best guest actress in a comedy series, where Tracey Ullman was recognized for tending to the head case that is the series' titular heroine. (Ullman plays McBeal's theme-song-minded therapist.)

Ally creator David E. Kelley saw his other legal-eagle show, ABC's The Practice, go Emmy, too, when Edward Herrmann prevailed in the best guest drama actor category. The veteran character actor is familiar to series viewers as attorney-turned-defendant Anderson Pearson.

Led by The Sopranos, HBO dominated the techie Emmys, honoring the behind-the-scenes people who run the cameras, style the hair, slather on the makeup and otherwise make TV shows presentable. The pay-cable network took 16 awards. NBC made it close, taking 11, including four for its Alice in Wonderland miniseries. ABC trailed with seven. CBS and Fox each managed six.

Awards were presented in more than 50 categories. The remaining so-called A-list races (best drama, best comedy actor, etc.) will be decided September 12 in a Fox telecast. Frasier's David Hyde Pierce and Dharma & Greg's Jenna Elfman are on tap to host.

Here are the highlights from the creative portion of the 51st Prime-Time Emmy Awards:

Comic legend Mel Brooks picked up his second career Emmy--and his second straight (as best guest actor in a comedy series) for popping up as loud-mouthed Uncle Phil on NBC's now-defunct Mad About You.

Debra Monk was named best guest actress in a drama series for her recurring role as Andy Sipowicz's ex-wife Katie on ABC's NYPD Blue. It's her first win.

In toon land, King of the Hill (Fox) was named best half-hour series; HBO's Spawn, best hourlong.

The new-fangled best commercial Emmy went to the Website snap.com, for its spot, "New Friend."

And, in case you wonder about such things, according to Emmy voters, NBC's short-lived family drama Trinity featured last season's best theme music. And now you know.