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'Six Feet,' 'West Wing' lead Emmy nods

Six Feet Under
"Six Feet Under" led all Emmy nominees with 23 nods, including nominations for actors Peter Krause and Michael C. Hall.  

(CNN) -- The HBO series "Six Feet Under" was in heaven Thursday morning after earning 23 nominations for the 54th annual Emmy Awards.

Close on its heels was the defending winner for best drama series, NBC's "The West Wing," with 21 nods.

"Six Feet Under" picked up nominations for best drama series and almost its entire cast. Michael C. Hall and Peter Krause were nominated for best actor in a drama, and Frances Conroy and Rachel Griffiths were nominated for best actress in a drama.

"West Wing" picked up lead actor nominations for Martin Sheen, who portrays President Bartlet on the show, and Allison Janney, who plays press secretary C.J. Cregg on the series set in the White House.

HBO's "The Sopranos," which earned 18 nominations last year, was not eligible because new episodes didn't air during the qualifying period.

New faces and surprises

The Television Academy of Arts and Sciences is set to announce this year's Emmy nominees. CNN's Sam Rubin looks at the contenders (July 18)

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The Emmys, often the most hidebound of awards with the same series and actors being nominated year after year, had a few surprises among its announcements.

Perhaps the most striking was that Eric McCormack, who won best actor in a comedy last year for his performance in NBC's "Will & Grace," was completely overlooked this year in that category. Adding to the irony was that McCormack announced the nominations, along with "ER's" Laura Innes.

"It's just as well. You know how hard it is to get a sitter?" McCormack quipped after the comedy series actor nominees were announced.

"ER," despite a dramatic season that saw the NBC series mainstay Anthony Edwards leave the show, was also ignored in the lead acting and best series categories.

"Six Feet Under" wasn't the only new entry among the best drama series nominees. The Fox series "24," a spy thriller that takes place in real time each week, was also nominated. Rounding out the category are "The West Wing," "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" (CBS) and "Law & Order" (NBC).

"Law & Order" picked up its 11th nomination, tying it with "Cheers" and "M*A*S*H" for most consecutive bids for a best series nomination.

"Now we're tied with two of the greatest shows of all time," "Law & Order" producer Dick Wolf told The Associated Press, describing himself as "ecstatic."

Shows that didn't make the academy's cut include "NYPD Blue," "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," and "The Practice."

Michael Chiklis' portrayal of a brutal cop on FX's "The Shield" earned him a best actor nomination.  

Kiefer Sutherland, the star of "24," picked up a nomination for lead actor in a drama series, as did Michael Chiklis, who has earned critical raves for his portrayal of a tough and sometimes unethical cop on FX's "The Shield." Hall, Krause and Sheen finish out the category.

"I hoped that academy voters weren't swayed by the dogma that was being thrown around," Chiklis told the AP, referring to criticism of the show. "Fortunately, they weren't."

Besides Griffiths, Conroy and Janney, nominees for lead actress in a drama are Amy Brenneman in "Judging Amy" (CBS) and newcomer Jennifer Garner in "Alias" (ABC).

"The West Wing" was a powerhouse in the supporting performer categories. Four actors picked up nominations for best supporting actor -- Dule Hill, John Spencer, Bradley Whitford, and Richard Schiff -- and three actresses were nominated for best supporting actress -- Mary-Louise Parker, Stockard Channing and Janel Moloney. Rob Lowe, one of the best-known actors on the show, was not nominated.

Also earning nominations for best supporting actor were Victor Garber of "Alias" and Freddy Rodriguez of "Six Feet Under." This year the category has six nominees instead of the usual five. The best supporting actress category includes Tyne Daly of "Judging Amy" and Lauren Ambrose of "Six Feet Under."

The 'Friends' dominate

This year's strategy by the cast of NBC's "Friends" to put themselves up for lead actor and actress categories, instead of supporting roles, paid off as three of the six thespians earned nominations: Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and Jennifer Aniston.

"Friends" was nominated for best comedy series, and three of its cast members -- Jennifer Aniston (lower right), Matt LeBlanc (top left) and Matthew Perry (top right) -- were nominated in lead acting categories.  

The show was also nominated in the best comedy series category.

The other best comedy nominees are "Everybody Loves Raymond" (CBS), "Will & Grace" (NBC), "Sex and the City" (HBO), and, in another surprise, "Curb Your Enthusiasm" (HBO). The latter series follows the curmudgeonly adventures of one-time "Seinfeld" creator and writer Larry David as he negotiates the ups and downs of his life.

"Sex and the City" won the award last year.

Besides LeBlanc and Perry, the nominees for best actor in a comedy are perennial favorite Kelsey Grammer of NBC's "Frasier," Ray Romano of CBS' "Everybody Loves Raymond," and newcomer Bernie Mac of Fox's "The Bernie Mac Show."

Nominees for best actress in a comedy are Aniston, Patricia Heaton of "Everybody Loves Raymond," Jane Kaczmarek of Fox's "Malcolm in the Middle," Debra Messing of "Will & Grace," and Sarah Jessica Parker, "Sex and the City."

Supporting actor nominees include Peter Boyle and Brad Garrett ("Everybody Loves Raymond"), David Hyde Pierce ("Frasier"), Bryan Cranston ("Malcolm in the Middle") and Sean Hayes ("Will & Grace").

Supporting actress nominees include Cynthia Nixon and Kim Cattrall ("Sex and the City," leaving the last of that show's lead foursome, Kristin Davis, shut out), Wendie Malick (NBC's "Just Shoot Me"), Megan Mullally ("Will & Grace"), and Doris Roberts ("Everybody Loves Raymond").

'Osbournes' gets a nod

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Ozzy Osbourne now has a chance to add an Emmy to his mantel, as his MTV reality show, "The Osbournes," was nominated in the reality programming category. Also up for best reality show are PBS' "American High," TLC's "Trauma: Life in the ER" and HBO's "Project Greenlight" and "Taxicab Confessions."

"Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher" received a nomination in the variety category, despite the controversy the show raised over its host's post-September 11 comments. "PI" was recently canceled.

September 11-related shows receiving nominations include "The Concert for New York City" (variety) and "In Memoriam: New York City, 9/11/01" (nonfiction specials).

HBO dominates movies, specials

The HBO miniseries "Band of Brothers," produced by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg and based on a Stephen Ambrose work about a U.S. Army airborne unit in Germany during World War II, earned 19 nominations, including best miniseries. The show has already won one Emmy: The TV academy announced Wednesday the show had been awarded the first Emmy for interactive TV programming.

Band of Brothers
"Band of Brothers," produced by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg, received 19 nominations.  

Other miniseries nominees are "Dinotopia" (ABC), "The Mists of Avalon" (TNT), and "Shackleton" (A&E).

HBO took four of the five nominations for best TV movie. The network's representatives are "Dinner with Friends," "The Gathering Storm," "The Laramie Project," and "Path to War." The fifth nominee is TNT's film biography, "James Dean."

HBO led in nominations overall, with 93. NBC picked up 89, CBS earned 50, ABC received 35, and Fox got 33. HBO is owned by AOL Time Warner, the parent company of CNN.

The 54th annual Emmy Awards will be presented September 22 and will air on NBC. A host has yet to be announced.


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