Olympics, Sting, 'America' Grab Emmy Nods

Music specials and related fare grabbed a fair share of nominations in the list announced today (July 18) for the 54th annual Emmy Awards. NBC's "Opening Ceremony Salt Lake 2002 Olympic Winter Games"

Music specials and related fare grabbed a fair share of nominations in the list announced today (July 18) for the 54th annual Emmy Awards. NBC's "Opening Ceremony Salt Lake 2002 Olympic Winter Games" leads the music-related nominee field with eight nominations, including an outstanding music direction nod for Mark Watters. The groundbreaking multi-network "America: A Tribute to Heroes" telethon broadcast and "A&E In Concert: Sting in Tuscany... All This Time" each pulled in six nominations.

International sports fans may remember that the star-packed event featured performances by R. Kelly, LeAnn Rimes, Sting and Yo Yo Ma, John Williams, Rita Coolidge & Walela, the Dixie Chicks, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and others.

As for Sting, he earned a notice for outstanding individual performance in a variety or music program, a category that also includes Billy Joel for his "In His Own Words" special, also on A&E. Aired last November, "Sting in Tuscany" combined footage of an intimate performance by the artist that was taped last Sept. 11 in Italy with an interview conducted by late Billboard editor in chief Timothy White who served as associate producer/head writer for the program.

"America: A Tribute to Heroes," which was organized by the major networks and aired on myriad networks worldwide, featured performances by the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Celine Dion, Neil Young, Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder and Mike McCready, the Dixie Chicks, Mariah Carey, Stevie Wonder, Sheryl Crow, Tom Petty, and Paul Simon, among others. More than $150 million was raised for the United Way's September 11th Fund.

"America" and "The Concert for New York City," another fundraising event held in the wake of the terrorist attacks on the U.S., are both nominated for Emmys in the outstanding variety, music or comedy special category. "The Concert for New York City" -- which featured performances by the Who, David Bowie, Destiny's Child, the Backstreet Boys, and Billy Joel and aired live on VH1 -- also pulled in an outstanding art direction nomination.

Also nominated for two Emmys are HBO's "Madonna Live: The Drowned World Tour" and TBS' "Come Together: A Night For John Lennon's Words and Music." Specials by Michael Jackson (CBS), Janet Jackson (HBO), U2 (VH1), Barry Manilow (CBS), and Britney Spears (HBO), as well as the 44th annual Grammy Awards, each garnered one Emmy nomination. Spears' turn hosting and performing on NBC's "Saturday Night Live" picked up an outstanding technical direction, camerawork, video for a series nomination for the long-running skit comedy/variety show.

The debut season of MTV's "The Osbournes" received a nomination in the outstanding non-fiction program (reality) category, while sister network VH1's "Behind the Music" earned a mention in the outstanding non-fiction series (informational) column.

PBS owns the outstanding classical music-dance program category, with all four nominees stemming from the public network's offerings. Competing for this year's title will be two broadcasts from the network's "Live From Lincoln Center" series -- "The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess with the New York City Opera" and "Mostly Mozart Festival 2001 - Mozart's "Requiem," one "Great Performances" offering, "Joshua Bell: West Side Story Suite From Central Park," and "Sweeney Todd in Concert."

Following the leading 23 nominations for HBO's "Six Feet Under," NBC's "The West Wing" nabbed 21 Emmy nods, including one for best drama. HBO leads all networks with 93 nominations, followed by NBC with 89. The entire list of nominees can be found on the official Emmy Web site.

The Emmy ceremony, delayed twice last year due to the Sept. 11 attacks and the U.S.-led bombing of Afghanistan, will air live Sept. 22 from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.