CBSN

'Six Feet Under' Leads Emmy Field

Weasleys
Warner Bros.
HBO's funeral home soap opera "Six Feet Under" led the field of prime-time Emmy Award contenders Thursday with 23 nominations.

Besides a best drama series mention, "Six Feet Under" also earned a half-dozen nominations for cast members including best actor nominees Peter Krause and Michael C. Hall and best actress nominees Rachel Griffiths and Frances Conroy.

Last year's big Emmy winner, NBC's White House drama "The West Wing," was the second-most nominated show with 21 nods, also including one for best drama.

Those two shows were joined on the list of best drama nominees by CBS' "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," NBC's long-running legal series "Law & Order" and the breakout Fox espionage thriller "24."

Nominated as best comedy series were last year's winner in that category, HBO's "Sex and the City," along with CBS sitcom "Everybody Loves Raymond," NBC's smash hit "Friends," NBC's "Will & Grace" and HBO's "Curb Your Enthusiasm."

CBS was nominated for five Emmys, including Outstanding Non-Fiction Special, for "9/11," the story of the firemen first to respond to the World Trade Center attack and the two filmmakers who chronicled their dramatic survival.

The HBO cable network, a unit of AOL Time Warner Inc., led the networks in nominations overall, snaring a total of 93, followed by NBC, owned by the General Electric Co. , with 89. CBS, a division of Viacom Inc., was third with 50 Emmy bids, followed by Walt Disney Co.-owned ABC with 35, and Fox, owned by News Corp. Ltd. with 33.

This was the first time the cast of "Friends," last year's highest-rated comedy, put themselves in contention for the lead actor categories — and it paid off. Matt LeBlanc and Matthew Perry will compete for comedy actor and Jennifer Aniston is up for comedy actress.

Nominated with Hall, Krause and Chiklis for dramatic actor are Martin Sheen of "The West Wing" and Kiefer Sutherland for "24."

Other dramatic actress nominees besides Griffiths and Conroy: Amy Brenneman for "Judging Amy," Jennifer Garner for "Alias," and "The West Wing'"s Allison Janney, who won supporting dramatic actress last year for the same role.

Competing with LeBlanc and Perry for best comedy actor is Kelsey Grammer of "Frasier," Bernie Mac of "The Bernie Mac Show" and Ray Romano of "Everybody Loves Raymond."

Patricia Heaton of "Everybody Loves Raymond," Jane Kaczmarek of "Malcolm in the Middle," Deborah Messing of "Will & Grace" and last year's winner, Sarah Jessica Parker of "Sex and the City" join Aniston in the comedy actress category.

The mob heat is off the competition as last year's front-running nominee "The Sopranos" was out of the running because new episodes didn't show during this year's eligibility period.

Says nominee Chiklis, star of the violent and volatile cable police drama "The Shield" on FX, "I hoped that academy voters weren't swayed by the dogma that was being thrown around. Fortunately, they weren't." His program has been criticized for its gritty depiction of crime and corruption.

Besides a best drama series mention, "Six Feet Under" also earned a half-dozen nominations for cast members including best actor nominees Peter Krause and Michael C. Hall and best actress nominees Rachel Griffiths and Frances Conroy.

However, the series failed to equal the record 26 nominations earned by "NYPD Blue" in 1994.

"Now we're tied with two of the greatest shows of all time," Dick Wolf, the executive producer of "Law & Order," said from his porch in Maine. "One word — ecstatic. This is the icing on the cake."

Perennial favorites that failed to nab top nominations included NBC's "ER," ABC's "NYPD Blue" and shows from producer David E. Kelley, including "Ally McBeal" and "The Practice."

"Will & Grace" was the most nominated comedy with 13 bids, followed by "Everybody Loves Raymond" and "Friends" with 11.

In the reality programming category, MTV's top-rated show "The Osbournes," about the harried home life of rocker Ozzy Osbourne, competes with PBS's "American High," The Learning Channel's "Trauma: Life in the ER" and HBO's "Project Greenlight" and "Taxicab Confessions."

Some programs related to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks received nominations, including variety show mentions for "Concert for New York City" and "In Memoriam: New York City, 9/11/01" in the nonfiction special category.

Meanwhile, "Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher," which was canceled after the host ignited outrage with his post-Sept. 11 comments criticizing the U.S. government, was also nominated in the variety category.

HBO collected the most nominations, 93, followed by NBC with 89, CBS with 50, ABC with 35, and Fox with 33. PBS had 11.

Competing with LeBlanc and Perry for best comedy actor: Kelsey Grammer of "Frasier," Bernie Mac of "The Bernie Mac Show" and Ray Romano of "Everybody Loves Raymond."

Last year's winner, Patricia Heaton of "Everybody Loves Raymond," joins Aniston in the comedy actress category, along with Jane Kaczmarek of "Malcolm in the Middle," Deborah Messing of "Will & Grace," and Sarah Jessica Parker of "Sex and the City."

HBO's epic World War II story "Band of Brothers" was among the overall leading nominees with 19 mentions, including best miniseries. Other competitors in the category are ABC's "Dinotopia," TNT's "The Mists of Avalon," and A&E's "Shackleton."

Made-for-TV movie nominees were TNT's bio pic "James Dean" and four HBO films, "Dinner With Friends," "The Gathering Storm," "The Laramie Project" and "Path to War."

The supporting comedy actor category included Peter Boyle and Brad Garrett of "Everybody Loves Raymond," David Hyde Pierce of "Frasier," Bryan Cranston of "Malcolm in the Middle" and Sean Hayes of "Will & Grace."

Cynthia Nixon and Kim Cattrall of "Sex and the City" were nominated for supporting comedy actress, along with Wendie Malick of "Just Shoot Me" Megan Mullally of "Will & Grace" and Doris Roberts of "Everybody Loves Raymond."

Six actors made the cut for best dramatic supporting actor, including four from "The West Wing" — Dule Hill, John Spencer, Bradley Whitford and Richard Schiff — Victor Garber of "Alias" and Freddy Rodriguez of "Six Feet Under."

"For some actors, in their whole career they can't be part of wonderful experience like this. I feel very fortunate," said Rodriguez, who plays a young mortician.

"The West Wing" also dominated the best dramatic supporting actress category, with nominations for Mary-Louise Parker, Stockard Channing and Janel Moloney, and other nominees Tyne Daly of "Judging Amy" and Lauren Ambrose of "Six Feet Under."

There were 86 total categories with 433 separate nominations announced by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

The 54th annual prime-time Emmy Awards will air Sept. 22 on NBC. A host has yet to be announced.