HBO Grabs 86 Emmy Nominations, `The Sopranos' Nabs 15

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HBO Grabs 86 Emmy Nominations, `The Sopranos' Nabs 15

By Andy Fixmer and Michael White

July 19 (Bloomberg) -- Time Warner Inc.'s HBO received 86 Emmy nominations, the most of any network, for programs including ``Entourage'' and ``The Sopranos.''

ABC came in second with 70 nominations for programs such as ``Ugly Betty,'' the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences said today at a news conference in Los Angeles. The 59th Emmys, the U.S. television industry's biggest awards show, will be shown Sept. 16 on the Fox network.

The nominations extend HBO's dominance to eight years. The network had 95 nominations and won 10 awards last year. ``The Sopranos'' received 15 nominations in all, the third-most this year, after HBO's ``Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee,'' which got 17, and AMC's ``Broken Trail,'' which nabbed 16.

``The Sopranos' really rallied,'' Tom O'Neil, a columnist for The, which tracks entertainment awards, said in an interview. ``Last year the show was shut out and now they lead with the most nominations of drama series. They seem like the front runner to win best drama, but a show that's off the air has never won best series before.''

``Boston Legal,'' from Walt Disney Co.'s ABC, was also nominated for best drama, while CBS Corp.'s ``Two and a Half Men'' gained consideration for best comedy.

Among other networks, NBC, owned by General Electric Co., had 69 nominations, CBS had 44, News Corp.'s Fox had 28 and CBS's Showtime had 17. Programs on the Public Broadcasting System received 24 nominations.

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HBO's mafia drama ``The Sopranos,'' which ended its six- season run last month, received nominations that included Best Drama Series, James Gandolfini for Best Actor in a Drama and Edie Falco for Best Actress in a Drama.

``The Sopranos'' stars Gandolfini as New Jersey crime boss Tony Soprano, who struggles to run the family business while coping with his turbulent home life. Falco co-stars as his wife, Carmela.

Academy voters, who ignored Gandolfini and Falco last year, were anxious to take the last opportunity to honor the pair for their work on the show, said Ed Martin, a TV analyst for the industry newsletter the Jack Myer Report.
In response to critics, the academy changed the method it uses for nominations to include a mix of votes from judges and the popular vote of its members.
``Some of the younger, more hip fare did well, like `Entourage' and `Heroes,''' said O'Neil. ``Normally Emmy voters can be fuddy-duddy and conservative.''

``Entourage,'' with seven nominations including best comedy, is about a rising actor, his friends and their experiences in Hollywood. The show, first aired in 2004, credits actor Mark Wahlberg as an executive producer.

A nomination alone won't guarantee increased advertising sales for a show ``unless it translates into more viewing,'' Brad Adgate, research director at Horizon Media Inc., an advertising and marketing company in New York, said in an interview.

``Look at the shows that were nominated and they're all very familiar,'' Adgate said. ``They won last year or in previous years.''

``Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee,'' based on the Dee Brown book about how American Indians were displaced as the U.S. moved west, won a record number of nominations for a television movie, O'Neil said. Even though the HBO film received mixed reviews, the subject connected with Emmy voters, he said.
``It appeals to the liberal consciousness of Hollywood,'' O'Neil said. ``Here's a show that reminds us how rotten white Yankees were to Native Americans.''

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Wolf Films Inc., the company of television veteran Dick Wolf, produced ``Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee'' and NBC's ``Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,'' which garnered three nominations. Wolf said in an interview HBO's marketing campaign was unparalleled in his 35-year television career.

``They had four-page fold-outs in Vanity Fair and The New Yorker,'' said Wolf, who has never before received 20 Emmy nominations in a single year. ``You don't see that for $150 million films. The dedication of everyone in that company, until you are exposed to it, you can't completely comprehend it.''
The academy ignored ``Friday Night Lights,'' NBC's drama about a small, blue-collar Texas town where life revolves around the high school football team. ``Lost,'' a critically praised ABC program, also didn't win a nomination. Cable channels had fewer nominations than in the past, O'Neil said.
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``They have bit by bit increased their tally,'' O'Neil said. ``This year FX fell back and Showtime stayed the same. That was a surprise.''

Other best actor nominees in the drama category included James Spader of ``Boston Legal;'' Hugh Laurie of ``House;'' Denis Leary of ``Rescue Me;'' and Kiefer Sutherland of ``24.''

Best actress nominations for drama went to Sally Field of ``Brothers & Sisters;'' Kyra Sedgwick of ``The Closer;'' Mariska Hargitay of ``Law & Order: Special Victims Unit;'' Patricia Arquette of ``Medium'' and Minnie Driver from ``The Riches.''

Other shows nominated for best drama include ``Grey's Anatomy,'' NBC's ``Heroes'' and ``House'' on Fox. Programs nominated for best comedy include NBC's ``The Office'' and ``30 Rock,'' and ABC's ``Ugly Betty.''

Nominees for the top 11 categories were announced by Jon Cryer, co-star of ``Two and a Half Men,'' and Sedgwick.