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TV's Emmy Awards Feature Humor, Sympathy for Victims of Hurricane Katrina

American television honored its best Sunday with the Emmy Awards. The 57th annual Emmys featured humor, serious moments, and expressions of sympathy for victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Winners included William Shatner, who first found fame as Captain Kirk on the 1960s science fiction series, Star Trek. This year, he earned an Emmy for his supporting role in the drama Boston Legal. Hollywood veteran Paul Newman earned an Emmy for his supporting role in Empire Falls, a miniseries about a fading U.S. town and its inhabitants.

Actress Whoopi Goldberg announced the winner of the Emmy for best comedy series - a popular show that is leaving the air after nine years.

"And the Emmy goes to Everybody Loves Raymond, said Goldberg.

Brad Garrett and Doris Roberts both won Emmys for their supporting roles on Everybody Loves Raymond. A new series about castaways, called Lost, was named best drama.

The mood at the presentation was mostly light, as usual. But just three weeks after Hurricane Katrina swept through the U.S. Gulf Coast, there were some serious moments, and an appeal for funds to help rebuild the homes of victims. First-time Emmy winner Patricia Arquette of the series Medium, named best actress in a drama, turned her thoughts to the evacuees and the volunteers who are helping them.

"They need so much help. We cannot give up, even when it starts creeping off the news, we have to do so much for these people still," said Arquette.

The actress also had a message for U.S. troops in Iraq, saying she hopes they return home safely.

Comedian Ellen DeGeneres hosted the award show. She and others wore magnolias to support the hurricane victims. The magnolia is the state flower of the stricken states of Louisiana and Mississippi, and the comic comes from New Orleans, the Gulf Coast city hardest hit by the storm. In 2001, she hosted the Emmys after the September 11th terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

"I guess I don't have to point out that this is the second time I've hosted the Emmys after a national tragedy and I just want to say that I'm honored because it's times like this that we really, really need laughter," said DeGeneres.

In a satirical routine, comic Jon Stewart ridiculed the slow government response to the disaster.

At a time when television is dominated by serious news stories, Emmy producers honored three television anchormen who have dominated the airwaves for decades. Peter Jennings of the ABC network died of lung cancer last month. Dan Rather of CBS and Tom Brokaw of NBC both retired from their newscasting duties during the past year.

The late television host Johnny Carson was also remembered for his humor, charm, and intelligence.

Producers hoped to put more life into a sometimes-sluggish ceremony by including a contest modeled on a talent show called American Idol. Theirs, called "Emmy Idol," allowed viewers to vote for their favorite rendition of old television theme songs, including one sung by real estate mogul Donald Trump and actress Megan Mullally.

Perhaps surprisingly, they won.