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TV EDITOR’S EMMY PICKS

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Let's face it, the Emmys are not a true measure of quality - they're a popularity contest.

A lot of the people voting for the winners are so busy working on their own shows they aren't even watching the competition.You local television editor, on the other hand, watches it all (or almost all). And since none of his personal friends are nominated this year, here's one critic's opinion on who some of the winners should be, along with the other nominees.

(The actual winners will be announced Sunday, Sept. 11, at 7 p.m. on Ch. 4.)

COMEDY SERIES: "Frasier," NBC; "Home Improvement," ABC; "The Larry Sanders Show," HBO; "Mad About You," NBC; "Seinfeld," NBC.

Pierce's pick: "Frasier"

DRAMA SERIES: "Law & Order," NBC; "Northern Exposure," CBS; "NYPD Blue," ABC; "Picket Fences," CBS; "Star Trek: The Next Generation," syndicated.

Pierce's pick: "Star Trek" deserves to win, after not even being nominated for six seasons, but "NYPD Blue" will win.

TV MOVIE: "And the Band Played On," HBO; "Breathing Lessons," CBS; "Gypsy," CBS; "A Place for Annie," ABC; "To Dance with the White Dog," CBS.

Pierce's pick: They're all good, but "Gypsy" was my favorite.

MINISERIES: "Armistead Maupin's `Tales of the City,' " PBS; "Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All," CBS; "Prime Suspect 3," PBS; "Stephen King's `The Stand,' " ABC; "World War II: When Lions Roared," NBC.

Pierce's pick: Not a great field, but I'll go with "Prime Suspect 3." But don't be surprised if "Tales" wins.

VARIETY, MUSIC OR COMEDY SERIES: "Dennis Miller Live," HBO; "Late Show with David Letterman," CBS; "MTV Unplugged," MTV; "Saturday Night Live," NBC; "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno," NBC.

Pierce's pick: Nobody can beat Letterman these days.

LEAD ACTOR, COMEDY: Kelsey Grammer, "Frasier"; John Larroquette, "The John Larroquette Show"; Paul Reiser, "Mad About You"; John Goodman, "Roseanne"; Jerry Seinfeld, "Seinfeld."

Pierce's pick: Grammer should win but is somewhat of a long shot.

LEAD ACTRESS, COMEDY: Patricia Richardson, "Home Improvement"; Annie Potts, "Love & War"; Helen Hunt, "Mad About You"; Candice Bergen, "Murphy Brown"; Roseanne, "Roseanne."

Pierce's pick: How about Richardson?

LEAD ACTOR, DRAMA: Peter Falk, the "Columbo" movies; Michael Moriarty, "Law & Order"; Dennis Franz and David Caruso, "NYPD Blue"; Tom Skerritt, "Picket Fences."

Pierce's pick: I'll go with Franz, the real linchpin of "Blue" - not that whiner Caruso.

LEAD ACTRESS, DRAMA: Jane Seymour, "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman"; Angela Lansbury, "Murder, She Wrote"; Kathy Baker, "Picket Fences"; Sela Ward and Swoosie Kurtz, "Sisters."

Pierce's pick: My heart says Lansbury; my head says Baker.