A changing of the guard took place in nominations for the 54th annual nighttime Emmy Awards announced Thursday, as an influx of new series joined the party, elbowing out an older generation of stalwarts, including "ER" and "Frasier."
The most prominent of the newcomers is "Six Feet Under," the HBO drama about a family of undertakers, which--with "The Sopranos" temporarily out of the picture--eclipsed all shows with 23 nominations and figures to provide what might be called stiff competition to NBC's two-time drama winner, "The West Wing."
After complaints from some critics that the Emmy nominations had become their own kind of rerun, with the same faces turning up year after year, several newer programs broke through. The list this year includes Fox's serialized drama "24"; CBS' "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," which in its second year supplanted "ER" as TV's most-watched hour; and the HBO improvisational comedy "Curb Your Enthusiasm," featuring "Seinfeld" co-creator Larry David.
Almost as notable as what was nominated, however, is what wasn't, as a number of long-running entries saw their Emmy streaks snapped. The also-rans include "ER" and "The Practice," which had been nominated seven and four consecutive times, respectively; "Frasier," after eight straight nominations and a record five outstanding comedy trophies; and "NYPD Blue" star Dennis Franz, a four-time winner who had also claimed eight consecutive Emmy bids before this year.
That isn't to say well-established shows faded away entirely. NBC's "Law & Order" claimed its 11th consecutive nomination, tying the series record shared by "Cheers" and "MASH," while a resurgent "Friends"--after being overlooked a year ago--earned its fifth best comedy nomination in its eight seasons, as well as lead acting bids for Jennifer Aniston, Matt LeBlanc and Matthew Perry.
Despite being denied another shot at best series, "Frasier" also will have a chance to make history at this year's awards. Nominated in nine categories, including lead actor and supporting actor, the series has received 27 Emmys overall, trailing only "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and "Cheers"--which garnered 29 and 28, respectively--among the most-honored programs.
Changing the dynamics of this year's competition, the six "Friends" cast members shifted strategy and opted to submit themselves in the lead actor balloting, having previously competed in the supporting actor fields--a decision that rests with the performer. In similar fashion, "The West Wing's" Allison Janney upgraded herself and was rewarded by the Emmy voters with a lead actress nomination, after back-to-back supporting wins in the political drama.
Rounding out the comedy slate are "Everybody Loves Raymond"--a four-time nominee that never has won--and two previous winners in that category: NBC's "Will & Grace" and HBO's "Sex and the City," which in 2001 became the first cable series to be honored as either best comedy or drama.
The most closely watched contest probably will be on the dramatic side. "Six Feet Under" edged the 22 nominations amassed this year by "The West Wing" and last year by HBO's "The Sopranos." That includes a quartet of lead acting nods to Peter Krause, Michael C. Hall, Frances Conroy and Rachel Griffiths--all first-time nominees.
Created by "American Beauty" writer Alan Ball, the HBO series clearly in part filled a void left by "The Sopranos," which wasn't a candidate this year because its last original episode was shown on May 20, 2001--outside the eligibility period, which covered June 1, 2001, through May 31, 2002.
Bob Greenblatt, one of "Six Feet's" executive producers, said his show qualified on its merits, not because of "The Sopranos' " absence. "I like to believe that we would have been in there anyway," he said. In regard to the nominations in general, including the nod to HBO's quirky "Curb Your Enthusiasm," Greenblatt added: "Everyone says the Emmy doesn't embrace new shows and hip shows. This [indicates] there's a new wind blowing."
For the second straight year, HBO harvested the most nominations of any network, surpassing runner-up NBC by virtue of its continued domination in the made-for-TV movie and miniseries categories. The pay channel, received by roughly a third of U.S. homes, has aggressively used the Emmys and other award showcases as a springboard to market itself--often to the chagrin of the broadcast networks that televise the show.
A senior NBC official, in fact, was heard to tersely suggest that they should bill HBO for the free promotion after it nearly swept the Golden Globes in January. Because of its limited reach, HBO shows generally attract smaller audiences, with "Six Feet Under" regularly viewed by roughly a quarter of the audience that watches the top-rated network drama, "CSI."
HBO again claimed four out of five nods in the movie arena and 19 more for "Band of Brothers," the epic 10-hour World War II miniseries produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks.
Cable network TNT's biographical "James Dean" received the last TV movie nomination (one of 11 in all, the most in its category), meaning the major networks were again shut out in that arena.
Although "West Wing" has finished second in overall nominations two years running, the show has overpowered the drama competition since its premiere, tallying a series-record nine statuettes its first season and equaling the previous high of eight last year.
"The West Wing's" total this year includes seven supporting actor or actress nominations as well as a lead actor bid for Martin Sheen, who faces four first-time nominees. In addition to Krause and Hall, Kiefer Sutherland was recognized for Fox's "24"--a series that barely earned renewal for a second year--as was Michael Chiklis for his role as a corrupt cop in "The Shield." The honor is a surprise boost for the new show, which airs on the FX cable network and has had some sponsors pull out due to its gritty content.
Three-time winner Kelsey Grammer and "Raymond" namesake Ray Romano are joined by Bernie Mac for his eponymous new Fox sitcom and the two "Friends" stars, also first-time nominees. As it stands, every regular "Friends" cast member except Courteney Cox Arquette now has been nominated in either the supporting or lead category during the show's run.
"Judging Amy's" Amy Brenneman is the lone repeat nominee in the lead drama actress balloting, with Janney and the "Six Feet" duo joined by Jennifer Garner, star of ABC's new spy show "Alias." By contrast, the comedy actress category is full of familiar faces, including "Raymond's" Patricia Heaton, a two-time winner.
The Emmys added insult to injury, meanwhile, for beleaguered ABC, which after a dismal season ratings-wise was bypassed in virtually all key series categories, the main exception being the best actress nomination for Garner. The network's nomination total plummeted from 63 last year to 35.
Among other notable nominations, "The Osbournes"--a smash hit by cable standards--drew MTV's sole nomination as best nonfiction program, one of two categories introduced last year to acknowledge the explosion of unscripted or so-called "reality" programming in prime time. The other, "special class program," encompasses CBS' "Survivor," TLC's "Trading Spaces" and a trio of specials, including a "West Wing" documentary episode interviewing real-life White House alumni.
Two specials related to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, CBS' "9/11" and HBO's "In Memoriam: New York City, 9/11/01," also earned recognition in the nonfiction special voting. Last year's Emmys were postponed twice in the aftermath of those events.
Presented by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, the awards encompass 86 categories. Honors in 27 categories principally devoted to programs and performers will be televised Sept. 22 from the Shrine Auditorium on NBC. Technical awards will be handed out Sept. 14.
Nominations by ShowBy Network23"Six Feet Under"HBO9322"The West Wing"NBC8919"Band of Brothers"CBS5013"Will & Grace"ABC3511"Alias"Fox33 "Everybody Loves Raymond"A&E22 "Friends"TNT22 "James Dean"PBS1110"Sex and the City"Showtime10 "24"
"Frasier" has a chance to become the biggest all-time winner of Emmys by a series. With 27 statues in hand and nine nominations this year, it could surpass "The Mary Tyler Moore Show, which won 29 Emmys in its seven-year run.
If "The Bernie Mac Show" garners its star, right, a victory as best actor in a comedy series, he will be only the second African American to win in this category. Robert Guillaume won for "Benson" in 1985.
Tom Hanks received four nominations this year--best director, writer and executive producer of "Band of Brothers" and executive producer of HBO's "We Stand Alone: The Men of Easy Company."
Ozzy, left, Sharon, Jack and Kelly, a.k.a. "The Osbournes," have been nominated for best nonfiction program (reality). Those are the academy's parentheses, not ours.
With its 11th nomination as best dramatic series, "Law & Order" ties "Cheers" and "MASH" with the most nominations in the outstanding series category.
Jim Broadbent, who won the Oscar for best supporting actor this year for "Iris," is nominated for best supporting actor in a movie or miniseries for "The Gathering Storm."
"Friends" received the most nominations, 11, in its eight-year history. Its previous high was nine nominations in 1995, its freshman year.
Despite being canceled by ABC, "Politically Incorrect With Bill Maher" is up for best variety, music or comedy series. Wouldn't that make for an interesting acceptance speech?
Nominees in major Emmy categories announced Thursday by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences:
Drama SeriesCopyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
"CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," CBS
"Law & Order," NBC
"Six Feet Under," HBO
"The West Wing," NBCComedy Series
"Curb Your Enthusiasm," HBO
"Everybody Loves Raymond," CBS
"Sex and the City," HBO
"Will & Grace," NBCMiniseries
"Band of Brothers," HBO
"The Mists of Avalon," TNT
"Shackleton," A&EMade-for-TV Movie
"Dinner With Friends," HBO
"The Gathering Storm," HBO
"James Dean," TNT
"The Laramie Project," HBO
"Path to War," HBOVariety, Music or Comedy Series
"The Daily Show With Jon Stewart," Comedy Central
"Late Show With David Letterman," CBS
"Politically Incorrect With Bill Maher," ABC
"Saturday Night Live," NBC
"The Tonight Show With Jay Leno," NBCVariety, Music or Comedy Special
"The 74th Annual Academy Awards," ABC
"America: A Tribute to Heroes," various networks
"The Carol Burnett Show: Show Stoppers," CBS
"Cirque Du Soleil's Alegria," Bravo
"The Concert for New York City," VH1
"Opening Ceremony Salt Lake 2002 Olympic Winter Games," NBCActor, Drama Series
Michael Chiklis, "The Shield," FX
Michael C. Hall, "Six Feet Under," HBO
Peter Krause, "Six Feet Under," HBO
Martin Sheen, "The West Wing," NBC
Kiefer Sutherland, "24," FoxActress, Drama Series
Amy Brenneman, "Judging Amy," CBS
Frances Conroy, "Six Feet Under," HBO
Jennifer Garner, "Alias," ABC
Rachel Griffiths, "Six Feet Under," HBO
Allison Janney, "The West Wing," NBCSupporting Actor, Drama Series
Victor Garber, "Alias," ABC
Dule Hill, "The West Wing," NBC
Freddy Rodriguez, "Six Feet Under," HBO
Richard Schiff, "The West Wing," NBC
John Spencer, "The West Wing," NBC
Bradley Whitford, "The West Wing," NBCSupporting Actress, Drama Series
Lauren Ambrose, "Six Feet Under," HBO
Stockard Channing, "The West Wing," NBC
Tyne Daly, "Judging Amy," CBS
Janel Moloney, "The West Wing," NBC
Mary-Louise Parker, "The West Wing," NBCActor, Comedy Series
Kelsey Grammer, "Frasier," NBC
Matt LeBlanc, "Friends," NBC
Bernie Mac, "The Bernie Mac Show," Fox
Matthew Perry, "Friends," NBC
Ray Romano, "Everybody Loves Raymond," CBSActress, Comedy Series
Jennifer Aniston, "Friends," NBC
Patricia Heaton, "Everybody Loves Raymond," CBS
Jane Kaczmarek, "Malcolm in the Middle," Fox
Debra Messing, "Will & Grace," NBC
Sarah Jessica Parker, "Sex and the City," HBOSupporting Actor, Comedy Series
Peter Boyle, "Everybody Loves Raymond," CBS
Bryan Cranston, "Malcolm in the Middle," Fox
Brad Garrett, "Everybody Loves Raymond," CBS
Sean Hayes, "Will & Grace," NBC
David Hyde Pierce, "Frasier," NBCSupporting Actress, Comedy Series
Kim Cattrall, "Sex and the City," HBO
Wendie Malick, "Just Shoot Me," NBC
Megan Mullally, "Will & Grace," NBC
Cynthia Nixon, "Sex and the City," HBO
Doris Roberts, "Everybody Loves Raymond," CBSActor, Miniseries or a Movie
Kenneth Branagh, "Shackleton," A&E
Beau Bridges, "We Were the Mulvaneys," Lifetime
Albert Finney, "The Gathering Storm," HBO
James Franco, "James Dean," TNT
Michael Gambon, "Path to War," HBOActress, Miniseries or a Movie
Angela Bassett, "The Rosa Parks Story," CBS
Blythe Danner, "We Were The Mulvaneys," Lifetime
Laura Linney, "Wild Iris," Showtime
Vanessa Redgrave, "The Gathering Storm," HBO
Gena Rowlands, "Wild Iris," ShowtimeSupporting Actor, Miniseries or a Movie
Alec Baldwin, "Path To War," HBO
Jim Broadbent, "The Gathering Storm," HBO
Don Cheadle, "Things Behind The Sun," Showtime
Michael Moriarty, "James Dean," TNT
Jon Voight, "Uprising," NBCSupporting Actress, Miniseries or Movie
Joan Allen, "The Mists of Avalon," TNT
Stockard Channing, "The Matthew Shepard Story," NBC
Anjelica Huston, "The Mists of Avalon," TNT
Diana Rigg, "Victoria and Albert," A&E
Sissy Spacek, "Last Call," Showtime.