The Mafia drama The Sopranos, which got stiffed when rival prime-time drama The West Wing took home a record nine Emmys last year, has a chance for payback. The HBO mob racked up 22 Emmy nominations today to The West Wing's 18 nods. Last year, both acclaimed dramas went into the Emmy race with 18 nominations each.
Both shows were nominated for favorite drama by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, which hands out the Emmys, and they were joined in that category by legal favorites The Practice and Law & Order, and long-running medical drama ER.
Will & Grace, last year's winner for best comedy, is nominated again in that category; the NBC program about a gay man, Will, and his best friend, Grace, proved to be the most-nominated comedy, with 12 nods.
It was joined in the best comedy grouping by Everybody Loves Raymond, Frasier, Malcolm in the Middle, and Sex and the City.
Nominees for best actor in a drama included last year's winner, James Gandolfini, who plays conflicted Mafia boss Tony Soprano in The Sopranos. Gandolfini contends with two stars from The West Wing — Martin Sheen, who portrays President Josiah Bartlet, and Rob Lowe, who plays White House official Sam Seaborn. Joining the group are Emmy veteran Dennis Franz for NYPD Blue and André Braugher for the canceled medical drama Gideon's Crossing.
Sopranos Actresses Go Head to Head The Sopranos claimed two of the nominations for best actress in a drama, one for Edie Falco and the other for Lorraine Bracco. Also in the category were Sela Ward for Once and Again, Amy Brenneman for Judging Amy and Marg Helgenberger for her role in rookie show CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.
Patricia Heaton, last year's winner for favorite comedy actress in Everybody Loves Raymond, goes up against Calista Flockhart for Ally McBeal, Sarah Jessica Parker for Sex and the City, Debra Messing for Will & Grace, and Jane Kaczmarek for Malcolm in the Middle.
Ray Romano claimed a nomination for best actor in a comedy series for Everybody Loves Raymond. The other nominees in that grouping are Kelsey Grammer for Frasier, John Lithgow for 3rd Rock From the Sun (which ended its long run on NBC this past season), Eric McCormack for Will & Grace, and the young Frankie Muniz for the title role of Malcolm in the Middle.
Reality TV Rates Its Own Category In a new category for the highly popular reality TV shows, CBS hit Survivor led a pack of rivals that included MTV's Road Rules: Maximum Velocity Tour, VH1's Band on the Run, and USA's Eco-Challenge: Borneo.
Among TV movies and miniseries, ABC biopic Life With Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows, starring Judy Davis as the legendary singer, racked up 13 nominations, and the network's Anne Frank captured 11. HBO's 61*, about the baseball rivalry of Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle, picked up 12 nominations, and the chilling Conspiracy, about the Nazi Wannsee conference, is up for 10 Emmys.
Cable TV's HBO grabbed the most total nominations, with 94, followed by NBC with 76, ABC with 63, CBS with 46, and Fox with 40.
The Emmy Awards will be broadcast from Los Angeles on CBS on Sept. 16.
Reuters contributed to this story.