NEW YORK - "Friday Night Lights" just can't quite push the ball into the end zone.
Despite raves from critics, NBC's football drama was again snubbed by the Emmys on Thursday, receiving only one nomination - for casting.
As a ratings-deficient program, it's the kind of show that could really use awards attention. After three seasons, NBC has renewed it for two more, thanks in part to a partnership with DirecTV. A few substantial Emmy nominations would have helped validate that move.
"Friday Night Lights" may have inherited the mantle of HBO's "The Wire," which was similarly acclaimed as the best thing on TV but received just two writing nominations in five seasons.
"It wasn't like I had really expected it to be any different," said "FNL" executive producer Jason Katims. "Of course, I would love to see the show recognized."
If anything, the snub was even more bitter this year since the Academy of Television Arts&Sciences expanded the field for the top categories from five to six nominees.
In recent years, the Emmys have increasingly honoured basic cable fare such as AMC's "Mad Men" and "Breaking Bad," suggesting the academy has broadened its purview.
But the academy has typically followed television audiences - which means it snubbed "True Blood." The HBO vampire drama has only in recent weeks broken out as a hit. The first three episodes of its second season have earned high ratings and brought claims of a rebound from HBO after a cold spell.
"True Blood" earned nominations for art direction, casting and title design, but failed in the larger categories of drama series or best actress - for Anna Paquin. She won a Golden Globe for her performance on "True Blood" earlier this year.
Paquin was also overlooked for best actress in a movie or miniseries, having starred in CBS' movie "The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler."
"I wish Anna Paquin had been nominated. Her performance is just stunning," said her co-star Marcia Gay Harden, who was nominated for supporting actress in a miniseries or movie.
"True Blood" can at least expect its chances to be better next year, when its second season has run entirely.
"Battlestar Galactica" wasn't so fortunate.
The final season of the science fiction series won nominations for several technical categories, including visual effects, directing and editing. Its ardent fans, though, will tell you it deserved a best drama nomination.
Another acclaimed series, FX's "The Shield," also wrapped without nominations, though it has previously been nominated for outstanding writing for a drama series. Michael Chiklis, who plays the unethical Los Angeles police detective Vic Mackey, won for lead actor in a drama series in 2002.
Two other series that bowed after years on the air - "ER" and "Boston Legal" - were also left out of the best drama category. Both William Shatner and Christian Clemenson of "Boston Legal" were nominated for best supporting actor in a drama series.
Jeremy Piven of "Entourage," perhaps feeling a backlash for his abrupt exit of "Speed the Plow" on Broadway due to mercury poisoning, wasn't nominated despite winning supporting actor in a comedy series the last three years.
The highly rated "Two and a Half Men" on CBS was shut out of best comedy series, while Michael Imperioli, a five-time nominee and one-time winner as a supporting actor on "The Sopranos," failed to win a nomination for his generally lauded performance on ABC's "Life on Mars."
Jill Scott wasn't nominated for her performance in the HBO miniseries "The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency." At least Scott, an R&B singer, can relish her three Grammys.
J.J. Abrams' new Fox series "Fringe" was shut out except for a visual effects nomination. Actor John Noble, who has given one of the show's strongest performances as an unstable scientist, also didn't garner a nomination.
"Mad Men" earned a drama-leading 16 bids, yet the actress who was arguably the show's highlight in its second season, January Jones, wasn't nominated.
AP Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen in Los Angeles contributed to this report.
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