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Can 'The Andromeda Strain,' Eric McCormack, Benjamin Bratt and Andre Braugher reap Emmy bids?

May 26, 2008 | 10:31 am

While reviews for "The Andromeda Strain" have been mixed, boffo ratings, built-in name recognition and a big push by A&E could still yield big Emmy results.

The number of nominees in the miniseries category is determined on a sliding scale by the number of programs eligible. This year, at least 15 miniseries are in contention, so there should be five nominees. Compare that to last year, when the winner, "Broken Trail," had only to beat "Prime Suspect 7" and "The Starter Wife."


Among the strongest current contenders: "The Company" (TNT), "The Bronx Is Burning" (ESPN), "Capture of the Green River Killer" (Lifetime Movie Channel), "Comanche Moon" (CBS), "Cranford" (PBS), "Five Days" (HBO), "John Adams" (HBO), "Sense and Sensibility" (PBS) and "Tin Man" (Sci Fi).

There are a few curious parallels between "Andromeda" and last year's "The Starter Wife," which was a frothy romp about a rich L.A. divorcee, based on a bestseller novel. So is "The Andromeda Strain" — the 1969 novel by Michael Crichton is its source material. While "The Starter Wife" starred Debra Messing, Emmy Award winner for "Will & Grace," "The Andromeda Strain" has her sparring mate from that series, Emmy Award winner Eric McCormack. Both miniseries featured multiple Emmy winners in supporting roles — Judy Davis ("The Starter Wife") and Andre Braugher
(The Andromeda Strain"). And both aired in the last days of Emmy eligibility, leaving them fresh in the mind of voters.

And in favor of "The Andromeda Strain," there is the cachet of Oscar-nominated director Ridley Scott and his brother Tony producing. In 2002, the pair won an Emmy for "The Gathering Storm," HBO's drama about Winston Churchill. As well, A&E has an impressive track record in this race — seven nominees over the years, with a win in 1999 for one of the "Hornblower" adventures. One of its losses — "Napoleon" in 2003 — was to "Taken," which is the only sci-fi miniseries to win the award. But that triumph is good news for sci-fi "Andromeda," of course.

Below, for fun, here's a look at the 1971 film, with director Robert Wise (Oscar winner for "The Sound of Music" and "West Side Story") intro-ing the trailer.

And the trailer for the new A&E adaptation.