40th Primetime Emmy Awards
Date
  • August 28, 1988
    (Ceremony)
  • August 27, 1988
    (Creative Arts Awards)
LocationPasadena Civic Auditorium, Pasadena, California
Presented byAcademy of Television Arts and Sciences
Hosted byJohn Forsythe
Highlights
Most awardsThirtysomething (4)
Most nominationsL.A. Law (15)
Outstanding Comedy SeriesThe Wonder Years
Outstanding Drama SeriesThirtysomething
Outstanding MiniseriesThe Murder of Mary Phagan
Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy ProgramIrving Berlin's 100th Birthday Celebration
Television/radio coverage
NetworkFox
Produced byLorne Michaels

The 40th Primetime Emmy Awards were held on Sunday, August 28, 1988. The ceremony was broadcast on Fox from the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, California. The ceremony was pushed back from its newly established September date because of the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea. Cable stations HBO and Showtime received their first major nominations at this ceremony.

Despite a season that consisted of only six episodes, newcomer series The Wonder Years won Outstanding Comedy Series. After winning his fourth consecutive Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series, John Larroquette requested to have his name taken off of the ballot for future ceremonies. Frank's Place became the most recent show whose only season was nominated for Outstanding Comedy/Drama Series.

In the drama field L.A. Law came into the ceremony as the defending champ and with 15 major nominations, (second most ever by a drama series at that time), it was seen as the heavy favorite. However, it was upset by another first season show, thirtysomething which won four major awards on the night including Outstanding Drama Series, L.A. Law only won one major award. The duo of Cagney & Lacey won Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for the sixth consecutive year, this tied The Mary Tyler Moore Show's record for acting categories, which still stands, (it stood for all categories until The Daily Show with Jon Stewart won ten consecutive Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Variety, Music, or Comedy Series). With the wins for Bea Arthur and Estelle Getty, The Golden Girls became the most recent show to have all of its cast members win Emmys. It became the second series to do so, following All in the Family. Three other programs would accomplish this feat: Will & Grace in 2003, The Simpsons in 2014, and Schitt's Creek in 2020.

There was controversy during the nomination process regarding the PBS series Rumpole of the Bailey. The series was initially placed in the miniseries field, but soon after the Academy disqualified it and placed it in the drama series field. Its slot in the miniseries category was filled by The Bourne Identity.[1]

Winners and nominees

[2]

Programs

Outstanding Comedy Series Outstanding Drama Series
Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Program Outstanding Drama/Comedy Special
Outstanding Miniseries

Acting

Lead performances

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Special Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Special

Supporting performances

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
  • Larry Drake as Benny Stulwicz on L.A. Law (Episodes: "The Brothers Grimm" + "Full Marital Jacket"), (NBC)
  • Patricia Wettig as Nancy Krieger Weston on thirtysomething (Episode: "Therapy"), (ABC)
    • Bonnie Bartlett as Ellen Craig on St. Elsewhere (Episode: "Their Town"), (NBC)
    • Polly Draper as Ellyn Warren on thirtysomething (Episode: "Nice Work If You Can Get It"), (ABC)
    • Christina Pickles as Nurse Helen Rosenthal on St. Elsewhere (Episode: "Down and Out of Beacon Hill"), (NBC)
    • Susan Ruttan as Roxanne Melman on L.A. Law (Episode: "Leaping Lizards"), (NBC)
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Special Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Special

Guest performances

Outstanding Guest Performer in a Comedy Series Outstanding Guest Performer in a Drama Series
  • Shirley Knight as Ruth Murdock on thirtysomething (Episode: "The Parents Are Coming"), (ABC)
    • Imogene Coca as Clara DiPesto on Moonlighting (Episode: "Los Dos DiPestos"), (ABC)
    • Lainie Kazan as Frieda Fiscus on St. Elsewhere (Episode: "The Abby Singer Show"), (NBC)
    • Gwen Verdon as Catherine Peterson on Magnum, P.I. (Episode: "Infinity And Jelly Doughnuts"), (CBS)
    • Alfre Woodard as Dr. Roxanne Turner on St. Elsewhere (Episode: "The Abby Singer Show"), (NBC)

Directing

Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series Outstanding Directing in a Drama Series
  • Gregory Hoblit, for Hooperman (Episode: "Pilot"), (ABC)
    • James Burrows for Cheers (Episode: "Backseat Becky, Up Front"), (NBC)
    • Terry Hughes for The Golden Girls (Episode: "Old Friends"), (NBC)
    • Alan Rafkin for It's Garry Shandling's Show (Episode: "No Baby, No Show"), (Showtime)
    • Jay Tarses, for The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd (Episode: "Here Comes That Cold Wind Off the River"), (NBC)
  • Mark Tinker for St. Elsewhere (Episode: "Weigh In, Way Out"), (NBC)
    • Kim Friedman for L.A. Law (Episode: "Handroll Express"), (NBC)
    • Gregory Hoblit for L.A. Law (Episode: "The Wizard of Odds"), (NBC)
    • Rod Holcomb for China Beach (Episode: "Pilot"), (ABC)
    • Win Phelps for L.A. Law (Episode: "Full Marital Jacket"), (NBC)
    • Sam Weisman for L.A. Law (Episode: "Beauty and Obese"), (NBC)
Outstanding Directing in a Variety or Music Program Outstanding Directing in a Miniseries or a Special

Writing

Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series
Outstanding Writing in a Variety or Music Program Outstanding Writing in a Miniseries or a Special
  • The World According to Me - Jackie Mason, (HBO)
    • Late Night with David Letterman (Episode: "6th Anniversary Special"), (NBC)
    • The Tracey Ullman Show (Episode: "Ginny Redux"), (Fox)
    • The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour (Episode: "20th Anniversary Reunion") (CBS)

Most major nominations

By network [note 1]
By program

Most major awards

By network [note 1]
By program
Notes
  1. ^ a b "Major" constitutes the categories listed above: Program, Acting, Directing, and Writing. Does not include the technical categories.

References

  1. ^ "PBS' 'Rumpole' Back in Emmy Race--as a Drama". Los Angeles Times. 1988-08-20.
  2. ^ Emmys.com list of 1988 Nominees & Winners