You'd think TV viewers would have gotten enough political drama from the 2000 presidential election, but it seems that's not so. NBC's acclaimed White House drama, The West Wing — which cleaned up at last year's Emmy Awards — has been chosen as the best television drama by readers of TV Guide magazine.
Approximately 30 million ballots were cast for the winners of the TV Guide Awards, which were given out in Los Angeles Saturday.
Forensics drama C.S.I., which has been climbing in popularity since it was moved to a post-Survivor time slot on CBS, was voted favorite new series, while the network's laffer Everybody Loves Raymond received an award for favorite comedy.
Ubiquitous Survivor winner Richard Hatch was on hand to present, but the huge CBS reality show did not win for top reality series. That prize went to A&E's Biography.
Let the Survivor backlash begin — again. Raymond co-star Brad Garrett, who lost in the best supporting actor in a comedy to Will & Grace's Sean Hayes, slammed Hatch for exploiting his pseudo-stardom. "That wacko from Survivor, who is jamming his 15 minutes of fame down everybody's throat, gets more TV time than I do," Garrett complained onstage.
Instead of opening fancy envelopes, presenters read the names of winners from an e-book that downloaded their names.
While West Wing and CBS's Judging Amy took home two awards each, Raymond was the big winner, with three statues, including star Ray Romano as best actor in a comedy and Doris Roberts as best supporting actress.
"To win any award that is voted on by the viewers is cool," Romano told reporters backstage. "I'm zero-for-eight in awards." Romano said that when he returned home from the Golden Globe awards empty-handed, his 8-year-old child asked, "Hey, why do you keep losing?"
The West Wing's Martin Sheen won for best actor in a drama, while the counterpart award went to actress Amy Brenneman for Judging Amy.
NBC comedy Will & Grace grabbed two TV Guide awards. In addition to Hayes' trophy, the show's Debra Messing was named best actress in a comedy.
The award for favorite supporting actress in a drama went to veteran Tyne Daly for Judging Amy, while best supporting dramatic actor went to Noah Wyle for ER. Bette Midler (of CBS's Bette, natch) was named favorite actress in a new series, while smiley-faced Tom Cavanagh of NBC's bowling comedy, Ed, won best actor in a new series.
"I'm always surprised when anybody other than my family recognizes the show," Cavanagh joked from the podium.
This is the third year for the TV Guide Awards, which will be broadcast on Fox March 7.
Reuters contributed to this story.