LOS ANGELES – The thrills of "24" and the sex appeal of "Grey's Anatomy" eclipsed last year's Emmy darlings "Lost" and "Desperate Housewives" in the award nominations Thursday, while shows that have fallen off the TV schedule scored a number of high-profile bids.
The drama "24," with its tense formula of tracking a federal agent's anti-terrorism exploits hour by hour, episode by episode, capped what some deemed its best season yet with a leading 12 nominations.
"Grey's Anatomy" cemented its status as the hot water-cooler serial with 11 nominations, proving once again that young, attractive doctors in love are appealing -- as well as hazardous to the health of last year's popular series.
"I'm so happy for our show," series co-star and nominee Chandra Wilson said from Italy, where she's on a promotional visit. "My family is here, so I got hugs right away, and the cast is here, so we're hugging on each other. Maybe we can go have a really expensive dinner."
The TNT miniseries "Into the West" was the top nominee, with 16 bids. The HBO miniseries "Elizabeth I," with Helen Mirren, was next with 13 nominations.
There were surprising snubs for "The Sopranos" stars Edie Falco and James Gandolfini, who had been repeatedly nominated and won Emmys. The show earned seven bids, including best drama series and a supporting actor nod for Michael Imperioli.
Castaway drama "Lost" and suburban satire "Desperate Housewives" -- which critics accused of a sophomore slump -- looked like one-hit Emmy wonders, shut out of categories they dominated last year.
They both failed to get best-series nominations, an award that "Lost" won in 2005. The sole acting nomination for "Lost" was a guest-actor bid for Henry Ian Cusick, who plays ill-fated hatch-tender Desmond.
Alfre Woodard, a "Desperate Housewives" newcomer, was the only nominated cast member (Shirley Knight received a guest-actress bid). Last year, tongues wagged when series star Eva Longoria was overlooked while Teri Hatcher, Marcia Cross and Felicity Huffman were nominated, with Huffman winning; Longoria had company this time around.
Their absence aside, the category of best lead actress in a comedy had other surprises. Former "Friends" star Lisa Kudrow received a bid for the tepidly received "The Comeback," while Stockard Channing was honored for the buzz-less "Out of Practice."
Nominees for best comedy series were "Arrested Development," "Curb Your Enthusiasm," "The Office," "Scrubs" and "Two and a Half Men."
Besides "24" and "Grey's Anatomy," other drama-series bids went to "The Sopranos," "House" and "The West Wing."
Emmy glory was heaped on a number of shows that have ended production, either wrapping up long runs or canceled because they couldn't find an audience from the start.
"It's totally bittersweet. Bittersweet is the order of the day. But we'll take the sweet," said Oliver Platt, who received a best supporting actor bid for "Huff," the Showtime drama canceled after its second season.
"Will & Grace," which ended an eight-year run, saw its ratings dwindle but retained the affection of TV academy voters and nabbed bids for cast members Debra Messing, Megan Mullally and Sean Hayes.
On the drama side, Frances Conroy and Peter Krause of "Six Feet Under," Geena Davis of "Commander in Chief" and Martin Sheen, Allison Janney and Alan Alda of "The West Wing" all were recognized for their vanished shows.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus was part of Thursday's ceremony at the TV academy that announced her own nomination for "The New Adventures of Old Christine," the series that may have broken the "Seinfeld" curse that has haunted its former stars.
"Honey, I got nominated. It's hilarious, it's unbelievable," Louis-Dreyfus told her husband, writer-producer Brad Hall, over the phone.
"My skin feels like it's buzzing," she told The Associated Press. "Or maybe that's from all the coffee I've been drinking since 1 a.m."
Besides Kiefer Sutherland for "24," Krause and Sheen, other best-actor nominations for a drama went to Denis Leary of "Rescue Me" and Christopher Meloni of "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit."
Joining Conroy, Davis and Janney in the best drama series actress category were Mariska Hargitay of "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" and Kyra Sedgwick of "The Closer."
Jane Kaczmarek of "Malcolm in the Middle" joined Kudrow, Messing, Channing and Louis-Dreyfus in the best comedy actress field.
Nominees for lead actor in a comedy series were Steve Carell of "The Office," Larry David of "Curb Your Enthusiasm," Kevin James of "The King of Queens," Tony Shalhoub of "Monk" and Charlie Sheen of "Two and a Half Men."
Other top nominees, besides "Into the West" and "Elizabeth I," in the movie and miniseries field included "Mrs. Harris" and "Bleak House." Two Sept. 11-based dramas, "Flight 93" and "The Flight That Fought Back," were among the nominated made-for-TV movies.
Among reality shows, "American Idol" got another shot at Emmy gold. The top-rated program has yet to win the award. Its competitors include "The Amazing Race," "Dancing with the Stars," "Project Runway" and "Survivor" -- but not Donald Trump's "The Apprentice."
Voting rules changes intended to broaden the competition failed to make room for shows that are critically acclaimed but consistently snubbed by Emmy voters, like WB's "Gilmore Girls," but opened the door for Leary, star of FX's gritty "Rescue Me."
Among the networks, longtime Emmy powerhouse HBO was the front-runner with 95 nominations, followed by ABC with 64, CBS with 47, NBC with 46 and Fox with 41.
The Emmy Awards are scheduled to air Aug. 27 on NBC, with Conan O'Brien as host of the Shrine Auditorium ceremony. The awards, traditionally held in September at the start of the TV season, were moved up because of NBC's addition of Sunday-night football to its schedule.
There are 94 Emmy categories, including four to be announced later this month.
Other Emmy honors, including those for technical achievement and guest actors and actresses in series, will be given at the creative-arts ceremony on Aug. 19.