Though the 59th Annual Primetime Emmy Award nominations were released only this morning, they're old news to TV buffs by now. It's time to turn attention to the statistics behind the awards show and the nominees that should have happened, but didn't.
Much of the focus on this year's Emmy nominations went toward HBO's The Sopranos, which came to a close last month after six critically acclaimed seasons. The mob drama walked away with 15 nominations this year, but did not walk away with the honor of being the most nominated show.
That honor went to the HBO made-for-television movie Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, which led all shows with 17 nominations. Right behind Knee was the miniseries Broken Trail with 16 nominations, an impressive feat for AMC's first original movie.
The Sopranos' 15 nods, while seemingly a bunch, is actually the third lowest take in the show's history. The program garnered 20 or more nominations twice before--22 in 2001 and 20 in 2004--each time taking home four wins. 2006 was the worst showing for the series, when it managed only seven nominations and one win.
Ugly Betty made the most impressive splash as a newcomer this year, with 11 nominations. The new kid on the block isn't just being recognized for technical awards either. The show is nominated for best comedy series, directing, lead actress, and supporting actress. Still, Betty was a few nominations away from other recent impressive debuts. Desperate Housewives grabbed 15 in its 2005 Emmy debut, The Sopranos whacked down 16 in 1999, and ER took a whopping 23 in 1995. In addition to Betty this year, 30 Rock also impressed many with 10 nominations for a freshman show, followed by Heroes with eight.
Not including talk-show hosts, Ed Asner's nomination for supporting actor in a miniseries or movie for The Christmas Card makes him the most nominated actor eligible for an Emmy this year. Asner has been nominated 16 times and has seven golden statues to his name.
That batting average fares much better than David Letterman's, who has only five wins in 46 nominations (for both writing and performing). Next in line is The Daily Show's Jon Stewart, who has 16 nominations against nine wins in far fewer years in a desk chair. As for Stewart's protégé and pseudo-rival, Stephen Colbert has eight nominations with three wins but should see both numbers increase if The Colbert Report continues its upward arc.
The biggest dustup over Emmy nominations will likely come from fans of Lost, particularly after what many consider its strongest season. The island-bound sci-fi/drama/thriller/mystery was blanked in the best drama series category, and buzz for Matthew Fox as a lead actor nominee apparently was just that. What's more, this year's take of six nominations is three less than last year--which represented the show's most frustrating season to date--and half of the 12 it got in 2005.
But at least Lost got some nominations. FX's The Shield and HBO's The Wire got zero, zilch, zippo. It's nothing new for critics' favorite The Wire, which has never received an Emmy nomination (correction: it received a nomination for Outstanding Writing in 2005), but The Shield is coming off one of its most lauded seasons.
Sci-Fi's Battlestar "The best show on television" Galactica received the most nominations it has ever received, but still only got four. Showtime's Dexter wasn't expected to get a lot of nominations, but the one category that many thought it would crack is best actor for Michael C. Hall. However, none of the three nominations it received were for the former Six Feet Under star.
The CW, which has its share of toast-worthy programming (and favorites among TV.com users), finished the day with...one paltry nomination. That honor went to Smallville, for the illustrious Outstanding Sound Editing for a Series award.
Another show many thought had a good chance of being included in the major best drama categories was NBC's Friday Night Lights. The show didn't score with Emmy voters, however, and walked away with only two nominations--one for directing and one for casting.
The trend here seems to show that Emmy voters lean heavily toward the major non-cable networks and the more "popular" shows. ABC had 70 overall nominations, NBC had 69, CBS had 44, and Fox had 28. Aside from the 86 nominations for HBO, which routinely cleans up at this time of year and had lots of help from Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee and The Sopranos, cable channels didn't fair too well. AMC was second among cable channels and rode its 16 nominations for Broken Trail to 18 overall after laying a goose egg last year. Elsewhere, Discovery Channel grabbed 16 nominations, Comedy Central and USA both took 12, TNT got 11, and Sci-Fi snagged seven.
Other notes from this year's Emmy nominations:
--The husband-and-wife team of William H. Macy (Nightmares & Dreamscapes: From the Stories of Stephen King) and Felicity Huffman (Desperate Housewives) are both nominated for Emmys this year.
--What do Emmy nominees Class, Kidnapped, Standoff, and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip have in common? There's no chance they'll get Emmys next year; they're all canceled.
--With three nominations this year, ER took over sole position of most nominated show in Primetime Emmys history with 120. It passed Cheers, which--barring the creation of Cheers: The Senior Years--will remain at 117 overall nominations.
--Perhaps not-so-coincidentally, Cheers spin-off Frasier holds the record for most wins by a single series with 37.
--Saturday Night Live has the most Emmy experience of the shows nominated this year. The sketch-comedy show earned five nominations in 1976 and has received at least one nod each year since except in 1981, 1982, and 1988.
--With her nomination for her role in Ugly Betty, Vanessa Williams has now been nominated for an Emmy, a Grammy, and a Tony.