HBO and The Sopranos came out on top this year in the race for Primetime Emmy Award nominations.
The cable network garnered 94 total nominations from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences early Thursday morning, 22 alone for critically acclaimed drama The Sopranos. NBC, which led the field last year with 97 nominations, is up for a total of 76 this fall, including 18 for drama The West Wing. ABC programs are up for 63 potential Emmys, followed by CBS at 46, Fox with 40 and PBS at 16.
Last year HBO finished second to NBC in total nominations with 86, but the combination of The Sopranos and 12 nominations for Billy Crystal's original baseball picture *61 put the pay cable network over the top. ABC's miniseries Me and My Shadows: The Judy Garland Story received the third-highest number of nominations with 13.
NBC's comedy Will & Grace is up for 12 Emmys, including best actor (Eric McCormack) and best actress (Debra Messing). Joining Will & Grace in the Outstanding Comedy series competition is CBS's Everybody Loves Raymond, NBC's Frasier, HBO's Sex in the City and first-timer Fox's Malcolm in the Middle. NBC comedy Friends was left out of the mix.
In the race for top drama, it's The Sopranos, The West Wing, NBC's ER and Law & Order and ABC's The Practice. The 53rd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards will be carried live on CBS on Sunday, Sept. 16. Ellen DeGeneres is this year's host. - Joe Schlosser