LOS ANGELES – "Angels in America," (search) the surreal HBO miniseries adapted from a Pulitzer Prize-winning play about New Yorkers affected by the AIDS crisis in the 1980s, received a leading 21 Emmy nominations Thursday.
"The Sopranos" (search) was the leading nominee among series, with 20 bids.
In a year that saw changes in Emmy rules intended to broaden the field beyond familiar nominees worked, with showings by Fox's critically acclaimed but low rated sitcom "Arrested Development" and CBS' offbeat and popular drama "Joan of Arcadia."
Premium cable channel HBO dominated the nominations with nearly twice as many nods as any broadcast network and fielded leading nominees "Angels in America" and "The Sopranos."
TV Academy members gave a fond farewell to HBO's "Sex and the City" (search) with a best comedy series nod for its final season, but didn't nominate two other departing series, NBC's "Friends" and "Frasier."
Along with "The Sopranos," which has yet to win a best drama series award, and "Joan of Arcadia," other nominees in the best drama series category include "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," "24," and "The West Wing." The White House drama was last year's winner.
Joining "Arrested Development" and "Sex and the City" in the best comedy series category are "Curb Your Enthusiasm," "Will & Grace" and last year's winner, "Everybody Loves Raymond."
John Ritter (search), the "8 Simple Rules" comedy star who died last year, received a posthumous nomination as best lead actor in a comedy series. Also nominated in the category are Larry David of "Curb Your Enthusiasm," Kelsey Grammer of "Frasier," Matt LeBlanc of "Friends" and Tony Shalhoub of "Monk," who was last year's winner.
Jennifer Aniston (search) of "Friends" was nominated for best lead actress in a comedy series, along with Patricia Heaton of "Everybody Loves Raymond," Bonnie Hunt (search) of "Life with Bonnie," Jane Kaczmarek of "Malcolm in the Middle" and Sarah Jessica Parker of "Sex and the City."
In the acting category for dramas, nominated lead actresses include last year's winner Edie Falco of "The Sopranos," Jennifer Garner of "Alias," Mariska Hargitay of "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," Allison Janney of "The West Wing" and Amber Tamblyn of "Joan of Arcadia."
James Gandolfini of "The Sopranos," who was named best lead actor in a drama series last year, was nominated again. He's joined by Anthony LaPaglia (search) of "Without a Trace," Martin Sheen of "The West Wing," James Spader of "The Practice" and Kiefer Sutherland (search) of "24."
The controversial TV movie "The Reagans," (search) which was bounced from CBS to cable network Showtime after some protested its portrayal of President Reagan, received seven nominations including outstanding made-for-TV movie. James Brolin and Judy Davis, who played Ronald and Nancy Reagan, received acting nods.
Other nominees in the TV movie category include "And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself," "Something the Lord Made," "Ike: Countown to D-Day" and "The Lion in Winter."
HBO received a dominant 124 nominations, nearly twice that of runner-up NBC with 65 bids. CBS received 44 nominations, ABC had 33, Fox had 31 and PBS had 27.
"Angels in America," based on Tony Kushner's play which combines harsh reality and fantasy, was nominated as outstanding miniseries and earned acting nods for stars Emma Thompson, Al Pacino and Meryl Streep.
Other nominated miniseries are "American Family: Journey of Dreams," "Horatio Hornblower," "Prime Suspect 6: The Last Witness" and "Traffic: The Miniseries."
Nominees for the reality series category include Donald Trump's hit "The Apprentice," "The Amazing Race," "American Idol," "Last Comic Standing" and "Survivor."
Nominees for best supporting actor in a comedy series include Jeffrey Tambor of "Arrested Development," Brad Garrett and Peter Boyle for "Everybody Loves Raymond," David Hyde Pierce for "Frasier" and Sean Hayes for "Will & Grace."
The comedy series supporting actress bids went to three "Sex and the City" stars, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis and Cynthia Nixon, along with Doris Roberts of "Everybody Loves Raymond" and Megan Mullally of "Will & Grace."
For supporting actress in a drama series, nominations went to Robin Weigert of "Deadwood," Tyne Daly of "Judging Amy," Drea de Matteo of "The Sopranos" and Janel Moloney and Stockard Channing of "The West Wing."
Drama series supporting actors who received nominations include Victor Garber of "Alias," Brad Dourif of "Deadwood," Michael Imperioli and Steve Buscemi of "The Sopranos" and John Spencer of "The West Wing."
A total of 433 nominations were announced in an early morning ceremony by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.
In February, the academy shook up Emmy rules to freshen a competition that repeatedly saw the same shows vying for and winning trophies.
Academy members were given the opportunity to choose up to 10 nominees per category, double the previous number, with the top five vote-getters ending up as the nominees in each category.
Although that's the same number of contenders as in the past, the academy hoped the mix would be more representative of the growing bounty of programming on cable and newer broadcast channels.
Unlike the Academy Awards, which recognize a new crop of films each year, the Emmys tend toward reruns because shows are eligible as long as they air original episodes in the awards calendar year.
The result has been winning streaks such as that of NBC's "The West Wing," named best drama series for the last four consecutive ceremonies.
The Emmy Awards are scheduled to air Sept. 19 on ABC from the Shrine Auditorium, with actor-comedian Garry Shandling as host.