Long-running medical drama ER isn't the show to beat at the Emmys anymore, now that The West Wing and The Sopranos are hogging the limelight, but on Thursday, the seven-year vet passed into Emmy history.
NBC's stalwart medical melodrama picked up seven nominations yesterday and is now the most-nominated drama in Emmy history with 100 nominations. The show, which debuted in 1994 and has stayed on top of the TV charts ever since, has now passed up Hill Street Blues' record of 98 nods.
This year's nominations include those for recently added regular Maura Tierney and guest stars James Cromwell, who played a dying priest who helps Goran Visnjic's character find his faith, and Sally Field, who appeared as Tierney's schizophrenic mother.
Executive producer John Wells said he's amazed that his show has come so far. "We were just hoping we'd make it to Christmas that first year," he said. "It's a wonderful honor for everyone involved with the show."
With ER currently locked in until its 10th season, there's a good chance that there'll be more Emmy nominations to come. And Wells said he's open to extending ER even longer. "It may be too early to talk to NBC, but as long as we can make a good TV show, we'll consider it," he said.
Next season will see the return of original series member Sherry Stringfellow (a three-time Emmy nominee for the show) and the exit of another first-year vet, Anthony Edwards, who has racked up four Emmy nods so far.
Among the changing guard of series regulars, only Julianna Margulies has won an acting Emmy, although George Clooney, Gloria Reuben, Laura Innes, Eriq La Salle, and Noah Wyle have all been nominated in the past.
Actors who have landed an Emmy nod for passing through County General's doors include Ewan McGregor, Alan Alda, and Vondie Curtis Hall.
Reuters/Variety contributed to this story.