TV Critics Love ‘Wing’

Hail to the chief, indeed. NBC’s Oval Office drama “The West Wing” nabbed a field-best six nominations for the 16th annual Television Critics Association Awards, including best drama, best new program of the year and program of the year.

Bowed last season, the Martin Sheen-led rookie drama has poised itself as one of the major contenders to look for in the upcoming Emmy balloting race.

Other notable nominees include Fox’s family comedy “Malcolm in the Middle” (with four nods, including one for best comedy), HBO’s mob hit “The Sopranos” (with three mentions, including best drama) and NBC’s recently axed “Freaks and Geeks” (with two noms).

Overall, NBC led the networks in total nominations with 12 nods.

Winners will be announced July 15 during a ceremony at the Ritz-Carlton Huntington Hotel & Spa in Pasadena, Calif.

Here’s a look at the nominations in major categories:

PROGRAM OF THE YEAR: “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” (WB); “Sex and the City” (HBO); “The Sopranos” (HBO); “The West Wing” (NBC); “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” (ABC)

COMEDY: “Everybody Loves Raymond” (CBS); “Frasier” (NBC); “Malcolm in the Middle” (Fox); “Sex and the City” (HBO); “Will & Grace” (NBC)

DRAMA: “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” (WB); “Freaks & Geeks” (NBC); “Once and Again” (ABC); “The Sopranos” (HBO); “The West Wing” (NBC); “The Practice” (ABC)

NEW PROGRAM: “Freaks & Geeks” (NBC); “Judging Amy” (CBS); “Malcolm in the Middle” (Fox); “Once and Again” (ABC); “The West Wing” (NBC)

MOVIE, MINISERIES or SPECIAL: “Annie” (ABC); “Arabian Nights” (ABC); “The Corner” (HBO); “Fail Safe” (CBS); “Jesus” (CBS)