The freshman series, a cross between Family and GoodFellas, as set in the mean suburbs of New Jersey, picked up 16 nods, including one for outstanding drama. It is the first cable program to score a nomination in that category.
The other top nominees: producer David E. Kelley's prize twins, ABC's The Practice and Fox's Ally McBeal, each with 13. CBS' Joan of Arc miniseries crusaded its way to 13 nods, too.
Nominated for best drama, alongside The Sopranos: ER (NBC); Law & Order (NBC); NYPD Blue (ABC); and defending champ The Practice (ABC).
Up for outstanding comedy series: Ally McBeal (Fox); first-timer Everybody Loves Raymond (CBS); last year's winner, Frasier (NBC); Friends (NBC); and Sex in the City (HBO). This is the first time Friends has been included in this elite group since 1996.
In the miniseries race: Great Expectations (PBS), Horatio Hornblower (A&E), Joan of Arc (CBS), The '60s (NBC) and The Temptations (NBC).
Vying for best TV-movie: The Baby Dance (Showtime); Dash & Lilly (A&E); A Lesson Before Dying (HBO); Pirates of the Silicon Valley (TNT); and The Rat Pack (HBO).
Among the snubbed, recovered Silver Spoons star Rick Schroder, considered an Emmy hopeful for his breakout leading-man role on ABC's NYPD Blue.
Jimmy Smits--the guy Schroder replaced--had better luck. His weepy turn as dying Detective Bobby (all four episodes of it) snagged him a best lead drama actor nod. Also nominated: Sam Waterston, Law & Order (NBC); Dylan McDermott, The Practice (ABC); James Gandolfini, The Sopranos (HBO); and former NYPD Blue partner Dennis Franz.
In the outstanding drama actress race: Christine Lahti, Chicago Hope (CBS); Julianna Maruglies, ER (NBC); Edie Falco, The Sopranos (HBO); onetime Oscar nominee Lorraine Bracco, The Sopranos (HBO); and Gillian Anderson, The X-Files (Fox).
Overall, The X-Files disappeared into the Bermuda Triangle. The previous Emmy favorite (at least at nomination time) managed eight nominations, but none in major categories--Anderson's aside. Even costar David Duchovny was an MIA.
In the comedy acting categories, Ray Romano (Everybody Loves Raymond, CBS), Kelsey Grammer (Frasier, NBC), Paul Reiser (Mad About You, NBC), Michael J. Fox (Spin City, ABC) and John Lithgow (3rd Rock From the Sun, NBC) are nominated as the top lead funnymen.
Competing for best comedy series actress: Calista Flockhart, Ally McBeal (Fox); Jenna Elfman, Dharma & Greg (ABC); Patricia Heaton, Everybody Loves Raymond (CBS); Helen Hunt, Mad About You (NBC); and Sarah Jessica Parker, Sex in the City (HBO).
NBC picked up more nominations than any network (even frisky HBO), with 82. The aforementioned frisky one nabbed 74; ABC, 58; CBS, 46; and, Fox, 33.
The WB's demographically desirable lineup (Dawson's Creek, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, etc.) found few fans among voters. The network scored just four nominations--the same as UPN.
Winners for the 51st Prime-Time Emmys are scheduled to be announced in a September 12 telecast on Fox.
Lovebirds Julia Roberts and Benjamin Bratt can nest at the Emmys as fellow nominees. Movie-star Roberts nabbed a guest-acting nod for a one-shot on NBC's Law & Order; Bratt took a supporting drama actor nomination for his swansong season as Detective Curtis on the same show.
John Mahoney, the cranky dad on oft-Emmy'd Frasier, finally nabbed his first nomination in the supporting comedy actor race. Another virgin nominee in that category: David Spade, for NBC's Just Shoot Me.
New respect for their show or no, the friends of Friends were (again) shut out of the acting nominations--perennial favorite Lisa Kudrow excluded. Kudrow was tapped to defend last year's win in the supporting comedy actress category.
Trekkies alert: Your captain, William Shatner, will compete for a guest-star Emmy for his stint as Big Giant Head on 3rd Rock From the Sun.
Oscar-winner Kathy Bates will have two chances to add an Emmy to her collection. She was nominated both as an actress (for a 3rd Rock From the Sun guest shot) and a director (for Dash & Lilly).
Gen X-soap Melrose Place slipped the surly bonds of prime time with no major nominations--as if Heather Locklear's pioneering wardrobe (or lack thereof) had been for naught.
ABC's family-minded Home Improvement, a dinosaur among today's racier sitcoms, also passed away unnoticed.
Complete list of nominees