It took a law degree to win highest honors at the Emmys last night — a law degree AND the touch of producer David E. Kelley. Kelley’s legal drama “The Practice” and his offbeat legal comedy “Ally McBeal” claimed the two top Emmys, for best drama series and comedy series. The victory for “The Practice” was an upset that surprised even Kelley as it triumphed over the critically acclaimed and most-nominated program, “The Sopranos.” “I think you can see from the looks on our faces, we’re all a little surprised, but we’ll take it,” said Kelley, surrounded on stage by cast members of “The Practice.”

  • Moments later Kelley was hit with another pleasant shock, when he was called back from behind the stage to collect the best comedy Emmy for “Ally McBeal.” The producer said he was all set to walk to the press briefing rooms when the show’s producers began pulling him back on stage. “I thought they had made a mistake and that ‘The Sopranos’ had won for best drama,” Kelley quipped, adding that he thought he might have to give back the Emmy. He then collected the comedy Emmy for “Ally” — in this case, many (including PEOPLE magazine TV critic Terry Kelleher) thought the award would go to “Everybody Loves Raymond” — and praised the show’s star Calista Flockhart (who lost to Helen Hunt, winner for a fourth straight time for “Mad About You”). “If someone was going to ask me the fastest or best way to win an Emmy,” said Kelley, “I’d say write a script and get Calista Flockhart to say the words.”
  • Until Kelley’s victories last night, no producer had ever won both comedy and drama Emmys in the same year. Earlier in the evening Michael Badalucco and Holland Taylor, “Practice” regulars who won awards for best supporting actor and actress in a drama, sang his praises. All that and he’s handsome and married to Michele Pfeiffer, too. Any thoughts of starring him in a remake of “It’s a Wonderful Life”?
  • For complete PEOPLE Online coverage of TV’s big night, click here.