It seems fitting that Martin Sheen and Rob Lowe should be the only members of The West Wing ensemble vying for a lead acting Emmy: They were the only series regulars who showed up Monday for the first day of work on the show's third season. Co-stars Allison Janney, Richard Schiff, Bradley Whitford and John Spencer supporting actor-actress Emmy nominees themselves went AWOL reportedly because they want a raise.
For his part, Lowe isn't letting the so-called stalemate take away from his Emmy celebration. As it is, he predicts that by next week the situation will be resolved. "The word is that we're going to try and restart on Monday," he told TV Guide Online. "I'm sure it'll all work out." The show's creator, Aaron Sorkin, was singing a similar tune to The Associated Press. "We don't begin filming until Monday and I'm sure it will all be taken care of," he said. "Everybody's happy to get back to work."
Well, in light of The West Wing's 18 total nominations second only to The Sopranos's 22 the mood in the Oval Office will likely be upbeat. Lowe is especially looking forward to some fun and games with his Commander in Chief, Emmy rival Sheen. "Martin and I are going into our third season of trying to knock each other out in the lead category," he laughs. "We have a lot of fun with it. He has a little more fun than me because he always wins. But the more statues he gets the more miserable I try to make his life on The West Wing."
While some have said that Lowe's deputy communications director Sam Seaborn is a supporting role, the actor sees things differently. "I think that Martin and I are leads in the show, and if the other actors want to go into supporting, to me that's the change," he says. "I think we're all leads. I think the interesting decision is for the other people not to go into lead, not the other way around."
Still, the former Brat Packer concedes that, "Everyone else in this lead category is either in a show where it is about them, or they're in every scene, or both. And Sam is sort of like a surgical strike he's in and out. So, I thought it's great to know that this isn't about screen time it's about work."
Apparently, the Emmys also aren't only about programs currently on the air as illustrated by nods for 3rd Rock from the Sun's John Lithgow and Gideon's Crossing's Andre Braugher. "Hopefully this will be a testament to the fine quality of the show," Braugher says. "I am extremely thrilled and pleased."
That was a sentiment shared by Mark Burnett, who saw two of his shows Survivor and the USA series Eco-Challenge: Borneo receive nominations in the newly created Outstanding Non-Fiction Program (Special Class) category. "I'm very, very happy with both these nominations," the reality guru told E!'s Steve Kmetko (who accidentally called him Rob Burnett). "Both Eco-Challenge and Survivor are very, very well-made television. I think we deserved the nominations and I'm very happy to get them... I think that it's wonderful that the Academy decided to recognize this new form of television, and I hope that we get a chance to win one." Burnett's competition includes VH1's Bands on the Run, TLC's Junkyard Wars and MTV's Road Rules.
Everybody Loves Raymond's Patricia Heaton and Will & Grace's Sean Hayes both winners last year presided over the 5:30 am/PT nomination announcement ceremony Thursday in Los Angeles. Considering the early call time, Heaton was relieved to once again hear her name announced as a nominee. "It was worth getting up," she joked on E!. "It was a bad year to give up caffeine, but it was worth it."
CSI's leading lady Marg Helgenberger received the freshman show's only major nod a fact that left her a little crushed. "My immediate question was, 'Was the show [nominated]? And they said no, and I said, 'Oh, that blows,' because I thought the show really had a great year and really deserved it," she sighed. "But anyway, I'll take the nomination."
Previous Emmy-winner Dana Delany (China Beach) will get another chance at a gold statue come September. The actress who will star in Fox's upcoming primetime soap Pasadena was nominated for her guest turn last season on CBS's Family Law. "I feel so strongly about not having guns in the home with children, and that's what the episode was about," she told E!. "So this [nomination] is considered a nice bonus." How did Delany plan to celebrate? "I'm going to yoga class at 7 am."
Sex and the City's lead comedy actress nominee Sarah Jessica Parker admitted to Access Hollywood that she expected to get snubbed this time around. "We have had a lot of good luck... And all good things must come to an end, so why not this year?" she explained. "It's better to think negatively so that you're not too disappointed."We can only hope Sarah Michelle Gellar subscribes to a similar theory.