“Desperate Housewives,” a dark satire about suburbia that became an instant hit in its debut season, was among the top Emmy nominees announced Thursday.
The ABC series, competing in the comedy category, received 15 nominations, sharing status as series front-runner with the NBC sitcom “Will & Grace,” which also got 15.
Premium cable channel HBO once again dominated the made-for-TV movie category with two of its films: “The Life and Death of Peter Sellers” and “Warm Springs,” each garnering 16 bids to top all nominees.
Nominations for the 57th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards were announced in an early morning ceremony at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ Leonard H. Goldenson Theatre.
There were Emmy riches for both departing series and newcomers.
“Everybody Loves Raymond,” which wrapped after nine seasons, received 13 nominations including best comedy. Creator and executive producer Phil Rosenthal was most excited about a writing nomination for the series’ final episode.
“You know what’s nice about that, we all shared the credit together, and that’s the one I’d love to have, because we’d all get it together,” he said.
“Lost,” a freshman drama about air crash survivors stranded on a mysterious island, got 12, although its stars were shut out of the lead acting nominations. Two members of the ensemble cast, Naveen Andrews and Terry O’Quinn, received best supporting actor bids.
The Emmy recognition of “Desperate Housewives” and “Lost” was icing on the cake for ABC, which was pulled out of a ratings slump by the two new series. “Desperate Housewives” finished the season as the fourth-most-watched program, averaging nearly 24 million weekly viewers, while “Lost” was No. 14 with an average 16 million viewers.
Television’s most-watched show, the talent contest “American Idol,” was recognized with a nomination in the reality competition program category. Other nominees were “The Amazing Race,” “Survivor,” “Project Runway” and Donald Trump’s “The Apprentice.”
“Desperate Housewives” chose to compete in the comedy category, usually home to half-hour sitcoms, although it’s an hourlong comedy-drama. There is precedent: The legal satire “Ally McBeal” won the best comedy series award in 1999.
Joining “Desperate Housewives,” “Will & Grace” and “Everybody Loves Raymond” in the best comedy series category were last year’s winner, “Arrested Development,” and “Scrubs.”
Besides “Lost,” the other best-drama series contenders were “Deadwood,” “Six Feet Under,” “24” and the veteran White House drama “The West Wing.”
Three stars of “Desperate Housewives” were named in the category of best lead actress in a comedy series — Marcia Cross, Teri Hatcher and Felicity Huffman. Left out were co-stars Eva Longoria and Nicollette Sheridan. Other nominees in the category: Patricia Heaton of “Everybody Loves Raymond” and Jane Kaczmarek of “Malcolm in the Middle.”
Among those in the category for best lead actor in a comedy series were two Emmy newcomers, Jason Bateman of “Arrested Development” and Zach Braff of “Scrubs.” Also nominated: Eric McCormack of “Will & Grace,” Ray Romano of “Everybody Loves Raymond” and Tony Shalhoub of “Monk.”
James Spader, last year’s winner of the lead actor in a drama series award, was nominated again for “Boston Legal.” Other nominees were Hank Azaria for “Huff,” Hugh Laurie for “House,” Ian McShane for “Deadwood” and Kiefer Sutherland for “24.”
“It’s an extraordinary part,” McShane said from London. “I think I brought something to the character.”
Film star Glenn Close, who joined “The Shield” last season, received a bid as best lead actress in a drama series. Other nominees were Frances Conroy of “Six Feet Under,” Jennifer Garner of “Alias,” Mariska Hargitay of “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” and first-time Emmy nominee Patricia Arquette of “Medium.”
In addition to “The Life and Death of Peter Sellers,” which dramatized the life of the great comic film star, and “Warm Springs,” which recounted Franklin D. Roosevelt’s struggle with polio before he became president, other nominees in the TV movie category were “Lackawanna Blues,” “The Office Special” and “The Wool Cap.”
Elvis Presley scored again in the outstanding miniseries category as “Elvis” garnered six nominations including one for its star, Jonathan Rhys Meyers. The lead nominee, with 10 bids was “Empire Falls,” and other contenders included “The 4400” and “The Lost Prince.”
Other nominees for lead actor in a miniseries or a movie were Kenneth Branagh for “Warm Springs,” Ed Harris for “Empire Falls,” Geoffrey Rush for “The Life and Death of Peter Sellers” and William H. Macy for “The Wool Cap” (who can hold a joint celebration with his wife, “Desperate Housewives” star Huffman).
Actress nominees in the miniseries-movie category were Halle Berry for “Their Eyes Were Watching God,” Blythe Danner for “Back When We Were Grownups,” S. Epatha Merkerson for “Lackawanna Blues,” Cynthia Nixon, the former “Sex and the City” star, for “Warm Springs,” and Debra Winger for “Dawn Anna.”
HBO was the leading network with 93 nominations, even though it lacked the firepower of its hit mob series “The Sopranos,” which took a break last season. CBS was second with 59 nominations, followed by NBC with 54, ABC with 51 and Fox with 49.
Recognition also went to supporting actors and actresses in comedy and drama series.
Nominated for comedy series were Jeffrey Tambor of “Arrested Development,” Peter Boyle and Brad Garrett of “Everybody Loves Raymond,” Jeremy Piven of “Entourage” and Sean Hayes of “Will & Grace.” Actress nominees were Jessica Walter of “Arrested Development,” Doris Roberts of “Everybody Loves Raymond,” Holland Taylor and Conchata Ferrell of “Two and a Half Men,” and Megan Mullally of “Will & Grace.”
“I’m over the moon, as they used to say,” Walter said from New York City.
Joining Andrews and O’Quinn of “Lost” in the drama series supporting actor category were William Shatner of “Boston Legal,” Oliver Platt of “Huff” and Alan Alda of “The West Wing.” Nominees for supporting actress were Sandra Oh of “Grey’s Anatomy,” Blythe Danner of “Huff,” Tyne Daly of “Judging Amy,” CCH Pounder of “The Shield” and Stockard Channing of “The West Wing.”
The category that recognizes talk show and other hosts was filled with familiar names and some new ones. Nominations went to “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” which was last year’s winner, and to “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” “58th Annual Tony Awards” with host Hugh Jackman, “Tracey Ullman Live & Exposed” and “Whoopi Back to Broadway—The 20th Anniversary.”
The 57th Emmy Awards are scheduled to air Sept. 18 on CBS. A host has yet to be announced for the Shrine Auditorium ceremony in which 27 awards will be presented.
Other honors, including those for technical achievement and guest actors and actresses in series, will be given at a ceremony a week before the award show.