Ugly Betty, Sopranos lead Emmy nominations

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Each year, select television actors and producers are woken up at the ungodly hour of 5:30 a.m., a ringing telephone interrupting their beauty sleep. However, the bright and early wake-up call is something they've been waiting for their entire professional lives.

The 59th annual Emmy Award nominations were announced from Los Angeles this morning by actors Kyra Sedgwick and Jon Cryer, simultaneously fulfilling and interrupting the dreams of several who work in the television industry. Unfortunately, for every mantle about to be adorned with another trophy, several mantles will once again go bare as there can only be one winner in each category.

ABC once again led the broadcast networks in overall nominations with 70, up slightly from last year's total of 63 (the network walked home with 11 wins last year). Right behind ABC was NBC with 69 nominations, followed by CBS with 44, Fox with 28, PBS with 24, and CW with one. On the cable side of things, HBO wrangled in 86 nominations, with AMC (18), Showtime (17), and Discovery Channel (16) distant followers.

No network dominated the top categories, and several familiar faces are in the running for an Emmy once again. In the Outstanding Drama Series category, the nominees are Boston Legal, Grey's Anatomy, Heroes, House, and The Sopranos. In the Outstanding Comedy Series category, the nominees are 30 Rock, Entourage, The Office, Two and a Half Men, and Ugly Betty.

After a year off, Hugh Laurie returned to the nominees table for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for his role as the cantankerous Dr. Gregory House in House. He is joined by Denis Leary for Rescue Me, Kiefer Sutherland (who won the award last year) for 24, James Spader (who won the award in 2005) for Boston Legal, and James Gandolfini (who won the award in 2000, 2001, and 2003) for The Sopranos.

Tony Shalhoub is once again in the running for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series for his role as Adrian Monk in Monk, and he'll try to pick up his fourth Emmy. Shalhoub previously won the award in 2003, 2005, and 2006--all for Monk. Competing against him are Alec Baldwin for 30 Rock, Steve Carell for The Office, Ricky Gervais (who was also nominated in the Outstanding Writing and Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series categories), and Charlie Sheen for Two and a Half Men.

Edie Falco returns to familiar territory, as she is once again nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her role as Carmela Soprano in The Sopranos. It's her sixth nomination, and she'll be looking to take her fourth statue home. Also nominated in the category are Sally Field for Brothers & Sisters, Mariska Hargitay for Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Patricia Arquette for Medium, Kyra Sedgwick for The Closer, and first-time nominee Minnie Driver for The Riches.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus will go for back-to-back wins in the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series category for her role as Christine Campbell in The New Adventures of Old Christine. Joining her on the shortlist are Tina Fey for 30 Rock, Felicity Huffman for Desperate Housewives, America Ferrera for Ugly Betty, and Mary-Louise Parker for Weeds.

With ensemble casts becoming more and more popular, the depth of talent in the supporting actor categories is getting greater and greater. Lost has twice as good a shot at picking up an Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Emmy as the other shows, with two of its cast members in competition for the award--Terry O'Quinn, who plays the enigmatic John Locke, and Michael Emerson, who leads the others as Ben. Chief Lost rival Heroes is represented in the category by first-time nominee Masi Oka, who portrays the time-traveling Hiro Nakamura on the show. Also nominated in the category are William Shatner for Boston Legal, T.R. Knight for Grey's Anatomy, and Michael Imperioli for The Sopranos.

Though there are six nominees in the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series category, only three shows have a shot at taking home the prize. Grey's Anatomy has the best chance, with cast members Chandra Wilson, Katherine Heigl, and Sandra Oh all up for the prize. Two from The Sopranos' mob are also in contention--Aida Turturro and Lorraine Bracco. Rounding out the list is former Six Feet Under star Rachel Griffiths, who returns to the Emmy nominees circle for her role in Brothers & Sisters.

Schrute-heads can hold their bobbleheads aloft proudly, as Rainn Wilson gets his first Emmy nomination in the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series category for his role as Dwight Schrute in The Office. He'll have stiff competition from fellow first-timer Neil "NPH" Patrick Harris for How I Met Your Mother, Jon Cryer for Two and a Half Men, and a pair from Entourage, Kevin Dillon and last year's winner Jeremy Piven.

Jaime Pressly (My Name is Earl's Joy) and Elizabeth Perkins (Weeds' Celia Hodes)--both going for Emmy number one--are in familiar territory as nominees in the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. They are joined by Two and a Half Men's Conchata Ferrell and Holland Taylor, Ugly Betty's Vanessa Williams, and The Office's Jenna Fischer.

No doubt some deserving shows and actors were snubbed this year, with fan favorites Lost, Desperate Housewives, and every CW show being shut out of the Outstanding Drama and Comedy categories. Make your voice heard and let us know who you think should have been nominated (and who shouldn't have been) in the comments section below. Be sure to check out TV.com's Emmy Nominations feature, where you can vote for who you think should win.

The following is a partial list of the 59th Primetime Emmy Awards nominations. To see the entire list, head over to the official Emmy Awards Web site.

Outstanding Drama Series
Boston Legal, ABC
Grey's Anatomy, ABC
Heroes, NBC
House, Fox
The Sopranos, HBO

Outstanding Comedy Series
Entourage, HBO
The Office, NBC
30 Rock, NBC
Two and a Half Men, CBS
Ugly Betty, ABC

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Hugh Laurie, House
Denis Leary, Rescue Me
James Gandolfini, The Sopranos
James Spader, Boston Legal
Kiefer Sutherland, 24

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Patricia Arquette, Medium
Minnie Driver, The Riches
Edie Falco, The Sopranos
Sally Field, Brothers & Sisters
Mariska Hargitay, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Kyra Sedgwick, The Closer

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
Steve Carell, The Office
Ricky Gervais, Extras
Tony Shalhoub, Monk
Charlie Sheen, Two and a Half Men

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
America Ferrera, Ugly Betty
Felicity Huffman, Desperate Housewives
Mary-Louise Parker, Weeds
Tina Fey, 30 Rock
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, The New Adventures of Old Christine

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Michael Emerson, Lost
Michael Imperioli, The Sopranos
T.R. Knight, Grey's Anatomy
Masi Oka, Heroes
Terry O'Quinn, Lost
William Shatner, Boston Legal

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Lorraine Bracco, The Sopranos
Katherine Heigl, Grey's Anatomy
Rachel Griffiths, Brothers & Sisters
Sandra Oh, Grey's Anatomy
Chandra Wilson, Grey's Anatomy
Aida Turturro, The Sopranos

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Jon Cryer, Two and a Half Men
Kevin Dillon, Entourage
Neil Patrick Harris, How I Met Your Mother
Jeremy Piven, Entourage
Rainn Wilson, The Office

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Conchata Ferrell, Two and a Half Men
Jenna Fischer, The Office
Elizabeth Perkins, Weeds
Jaime Pressly, My Name is Earl
Holland Taylor, Two and Half Men
Vanessa Williams, Ugly Betty

Outstanding Nonfiction Series
American Masters, PBS
Biography, A&E;
Deadliest Catch, Discovery Channel
Inside the Actors Studio, Bravo
Planet Earth, Discovery

Outstanding Reality Program
Antiques Roadshow, PBS
Dog Whisperer With Cesar Millan, National Geographic
Extreme Makeover Home Edition, ABC
Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List, Bravo
Penn & Teller: Bullsh*t!, Showtime

Outstanding Reality-Competition Program
American Idol, FOX
Dancing With the Stars, ABC
Project Runway, Bravo
The Amazing Race, CBS
Top Chef, Bravo

Outstanding Animated Program (for Programming Less Than One Hour)
Avatar: The Last Airbender, "City of Walls"
Robot Chicken, "Lust for Puppets"
The Simpsons, "The Haw-Hawed Couple"
South Park, "Make Love, Not Warcraft"
SpongeBob SquarePants, "Bummer Vacation/Wig Stuck"

Outstanding Children's Program
Hannah Montanta, Disney Channel
Nick News With Linda Ellerbee: Private Worlds: Kids and Autism, Nickelodeon
That's So Raven, Disney Channel
The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, Disney Channel
When Parents Are Deployed, PBS

Outstanding Variety, Music, or Comedy Series
Late Night With Conan O'Brien, NBC
Late Show With David Letterman, CBS
Real Time With Bill Maher, HBO
The Colbert Report, Comedy Central
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart, Comedy Central

Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program
Ellen DeGeneres, 79th Annual Academy Awards
David Letterman, Late Show With David Letterman
Stephen Colbert, The Colbert Report
Jon Stewart, The Daily Show With Jon Stewart
Tony Bennett, Tony Bennett: An American Classic

Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series
Scott Ellis for 30 Rock, "The Breakup"
Julian Farino for Entourage, "One Day in the Valley"
Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant for Extras, "Orlando Bloom"
Will Mackenzie for Scrubs, "My Musical"
Ken Kwapis for The Office, "Gay Witch Hunt"
Richard Shepard for Ugly Betty, "Pilot"

Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series
Felix Alcala for Battlestar Galactica, "Exodus, Part 2"
Bill D'Elia for Boston Legal, "Son of the Defender"
Peter Berg for Friday Night Lights, "Pilot"
David Semel for Heroes, "Genesis"
Jack Bender for Lost, "Through the Looking Glass"
Thomas Schlamme for Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, "Pilot"
Alan Taylor for The Sopranos, "Kennedy and Heidi"

Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series
Ronald D. Moore for Battlestar Galactica, "Occupation/Precipice"
Carlton Cuse, Damon Lindelof for Lost, "Through the Looking Glass"
David Chase, Matthew Weiner for The Sopranos, "Kennedy and Heidi"
Terence Winter for The Sopranos, "The Second Coming"
David Chase for The Sopranos, "Made in America"

Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series
Robert Carlock for 30 Rock, "Jack-Tor"
Tina Fey for 30 Rock, "Tracy Does Conan"
Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant for Extras, "Daniel Radcliffe"
Greg Daniels for The Office, "Gay Witch Hunt"
Michael Schur for The Office, "The Negotiation"

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