Six Feet Under is a dead cert with 23 Emmy bids

SIX FEET UNDER, the macabre drama about life and death in an undertakers' parlour, has received a record 23 Emmy nominations.

While Emmy favourite The West Wing was a close second with 21 nominations, top bids also went to actor Michael Chiklis, star of the violent and volatile cable police drama The Shield, and the sardonic comedy Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Besides a best drama series mention, Six Feet Under, shown on Channel 4, also earned a half-dozen nominations for cast members including best actor nominees Peter Krause and Michael Hall and best actress nominees Rachel Griffiths and Frances Conroy.

Other shows up for best drama series are: The West Wing, which won the category in the past two years; CSI: Crime Scene Investigation; 24; and, Law & Order.

The latter show received its 11th nomination in the category, tying with Cheers and MASH for the most consecutive bids for a best series nomination, comedy or drama.

The mob heat is off the competition as last year's front-running nominee The Sopranos was out of the running because new episodes didn't show during this year's eligibility period.

The nominees for comedy series were: Sex and the City, which was last year's winner; Everybody Loves Raymond; Will & Grace; and, Friends.

This was the first time the cast of Friends, last year's highest-rated comedy, put themselves in contention for the lead actor categories and it paid off.

Matt LeBlanc and Matthew Perry will compete for comedy actor and Jennifer Aniston is up for comedy actress.

Nominated with Hall, Krause and Chiklis for dramatic actor are Martin Sheen of The West Wing and Kiefer Sutherland for his role in 24.

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