Actually, that's a good thing.
HBO's The Sopranos led the way with 22 nominations--including nods for James Gandolfini for best actor in a drama and Edie Falco and Lorraine Bracco for best actress in a drama. NBC's The West Wing snagged 18 nominations, including best actor (drama) nods for Rob Lowe and Martin Sheen.
Just like last year, it's a battle between the mobsters and the Democrats.
But, despite the repetition, there was no lack of genuine emotion at the nomination presentation, held early Thursday in Los Angeles. Nominees, presenters and Academy of Television Arts and Sciences representatives were overflowing with appreciation.
Actress Patricia Heaton of Everybody Loves Raymond--a nomination presenter and nominee herself for best actress in a sitcom--told Hollywood.com: "I have to admit, it's something when you accept an invitation to come and announce. There's that thing in the back of your head that you're gonna be standing there not nominated...figuring out how to get out of it gracefully, so thank God it all turned out this way."
Equally appreciative of this year's field was the chairman of ATAS, Meryl Marshall-Daniels. To her, the resurgence of last year's nominees was nothing short of a blessing.
"We certainly see that the strong drama stays strong--nothing has deteriorated," she said. "I mean, if anything ... they're getting better year after year with the return of ER, Law and Order, The Practice, The Sopranos, West Wing…. They are just really strong dramas and each year they seem to really capture not only the audience but the professional respect of the industry."
While it's true that many of the nominees have stayed the same from last year, ATAS president Jim Chabin said that the list affirms his belief that modern programming is stronger than ever.
"I think that television has never been better," he explained. "I think that there are people who say that TV is a vast wasteland. You can't look at the nominees this morning and not say television has never been better. You have such a broad spectrum of programs ... something for everyone."
The 53rd Annual Emmy Awards broadcast will air Sept. 16 on CBS.