LOS ANGELES, Nov. 4 (UPI) -- NBC's White House drama, "The West Wing," was re-elected as outstanding TV drama series by voting members of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Sunday, but fell short of the landslide it achieved last year when it won a record nine Emmy Awards.
Writer-producer Aaron Sorkin's creation won eight Emmys, including a second straight award for best drama, and for outstanding supporting actress in a drama series for Allison Janney for her performance as press secretary C.J. Cregg. Bradley Whitford won for supporting actor in a drama for his performance as Josh Lyman on the series, and Thomas Schlamme won a directing Emmy for a two-part "West Wing" episode, "In the Shadow of Two Gunmen."
The HBO hit, "Sex and the City," won for outstanding comedy series -- its only award this year, despite acting nominations for series stars Sarah Jessica Parker and Kim Catrall.
Patricia Heaton won her second straight Emmy for outstanding lead actress in a comedy series for the CBS hit, "Everybody Loves Raymond." Eric McCormick won for outstanding lead actor in a comedy series for NBC's "Will & Grace."
The Emmy for outstanding miniseries went to the ABC production, "Anne Frank." The HBO movie, "Wit," was named outstanding TV movie, and its director, Mike Nichols, won for outstanding direction of a TV movie.
CBS' "Late Show with David Letterman" won for variety, music or comedy series and Bravo's "Cirque Du Soleil's Dralion" won for outstanding variety, music or comedy special.
Barbra Streisand won for individual performance in a variety or music program for the Fox special, "Barbra Streisand: Timeless."
The 53rd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards were presented at the Shubert Theatre in Los Angeles Sunday, on the third attempt by the Academy and CBS to stage and televise the event. The show was postponed twice because of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the subsequent air strikes against targets in Afghanistan.
Host Ellen DeGeneres got some mileage out of the double postponement in her opening remarks.
"Welcome to the 53rd, 54th and 55th Emmy Awards," said DeGeneres to appreciative laughter from the audience, which was mostly made up of TV professionals, but also included a larger-than-usual number of security professionals.
DeGeneres also referred to the criticism directed as some entertainment for their reluctance to travel post Sept. 11, offering faint praise to "all the wonderful TV stars who we love so much, who are watching from home."
The telecast's opening remarks actually were delivered by Walter Cronkite.
Appearing via videotape, the legendary TV newsman said the program had been "altered considerably from its usual gala," reflecting "deep feeling for our losses, our concern for our safety and as our president suggested ... life must go on."
Cronkite called TV "the great common denominator" that "reminds us that entertainment can help us heal."
In a reference to the post-Sept. 11 world that Hollywood finds itself in, DeGeneres said the terrorists "can't take away our creativity ... only network executives can do that."
The evening sounded several serious notes, including a montage of visual images of people in countries around the world memorializing the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks, accompanied by messages of sympathy and solidarity from various world leaders.