Julia Louis-Dreyfus got a nice surprise as she was announcing the nominations for the 58th Prime Time Emmy Awards with Brad Garrett—she was nominated in the Outstanding Actress in a Comedy category for her role in The New Adventures of Old Christine. But the surprises were much less pleasant for fan favorites Lost and Hugh Laurie of House as the new Emmy nomination system brought in some new names the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences desired, and along with it plenty of controversy.
Fox’s 24 led series nods with a dozen, while HBO miniseries Into the West was the top nominated show with 16.
In the network tallies, HBO got the most nominations again at 95, up from 93 last year, followed by ABC with 65, up from 51; CBS with 47, down from 59; NBC with 46, down from 54; and Fox with 41, down from 49.
But Fox did have two entrants in the Outstanding Drama category in 24 and House, a first for the network. House creator David Shore joked that he already pressed network execs to see which horse they were backing.
“I had to ask them who they will be cheering for,” he says. “They said they love all their babies the same.”
Also among the nominations was an initial Outstanding Drama nod for Grey’s Anatomy, which makes its high-profile move to Thursdays this fall.
Among other notables were Scrubs grabbing a nomination for Outstanding Comedy but not a single other nomination in any category.
“We very easily could be the first show ever nominated for best show that didn’t get a single other nomination,” says creator Bill Lawrence. “I guess that means nothing else on our show is good enough. Makes me wonder what makes up a show, then?”
Also getting into the Emmy mix was the oft-ignored Two and a Half Men, which grabbed a nomination for Comedy as well as nods for Lead Actor Charlie Sheen and Supporting Actor Jon Cryer.
“I got a call from (Warner Bros. Television Productions President) Peter Roth at 5:45 this morning, and it was as much a blast of joy as there can be at six in the morning,” says the show’s creator Chuck Lorre. “He said, ‘Sorry to wake you, I don’t really care, wake up, I’ve got news.’”
But the real story seemed to be some of the shut-outs in the major categories; in addition to the absence of Lost (which won the category last year as well as a Golden Globe this year) and Laurie (also a Golden Globe winner) from the Drama and Lead Actor in a Drama categories, respectively, Desperate Housewives also received zero nominations in major show or acting categories, though Lost got nine nods and Housewives seven in other categories.
HBO’s critically acclaimed Entourage was also shut out of the marquee awards, as was its new series Big Love. And while The Sopranos was nominated in the Best Drama category, none of its actors received a nod.
Meanwhile, the departed West Wing made the list once again with a nomination for Best Drama Series and a Best Lead Actor in a Drama series nomination for Martin Sheen. Will & Grace, an Emmys regular that ended its run this season, also received a nod for Best Actress in a Comedy for Debra Messing.
Other departed shows that got nods: Geena Davis was nominated as Outstanding Actress in a Drama for Commander in Chief, which started strong last season but faded quickly; Stockard Channing received an Outstanding Actress in a Comedy nomination for Out of Practice; and Lisa Kudrow was nominated as Outstanding Actress in a Comedy for HBO's short-lived The Comeback. HBO's dearly departed Six Feet Under also received two major nods: Peter Krause for Outstanding Actor in a Drama and Frances Conroy for Outstanding Actress.
PBS shows got 34 nods, up from 23 last year, led by Bleak House with 10 and American Masters with 9.
There were two father-son pairings this year, with Martin and Charlie Sheen nominated for West Wing and Two and a Half Men and, respectively, Donald and Kiefer Sutherland nominated for Lifetime's Human Trafficking and 24.
This year, the Emmy voting underwent a change in procedure in an attempt to widen the voting pool but cut down on the popularity-contest element that saw many of the same faces nominated year after year.
The Emmy's will be awarded Aug. 27, and the awards will be broadcast on NBC.
Below is a full Emmy list of the major categories.
Best drama series
Grey's Anatomy, House, The Sopranos, 24, and The West Wing
Best comedy series
Arrested Development, Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Office, Scrubs and Two and a Half Men
Best actor in a drama
Peter Krause (Six Feet Under), Denis Leary (Rescue Me), Christopher Meloni (Law & Order: Special Victims Unit), Martin Sheen (The West Wing) and Kiefer Sutherland (24)
Best actress in a drama
Frances Conroy (Six Feet Under), Geena Davis (Commander in Chief), Mariska Hargitay (Law & Order: Special Victims Unit), Allison Janney (The West Wing) and Kyra Sedgwick (The Closer)
Best actor in a comedy
Steve Carell (The Office), Larry David (Curb Your Enthusiasm), Kevin James (The King of Queens), Tony Shalhoub (Monk) and Charlie Sheen (Two and a Half Men)
Best actress in a comedy
Stockard Channing (Out of Practice), Jane Kaczmarek (Malcolm in the Middle), Lisa Kudrow (The Comeback), Debra Messing (Will & Grace) and Julia Louis-Dreyfus (The New Adventures of Old Christine)
Best reality competition series
The Amazing Race, American Idol,Dancing with the Stars, Project Runway, Survivor
For a full list, go towww.emmys.org