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SEEN ON TV: EMMY NOMS PIT THE WEST WING AGAINST THE BADA BING

Once again, it’s Tony and his crew from The Sopranos vs. the Washington insiders of The West Wing in the competition for Primetime Emmys, to be telecast on CBS September 16. The Sopranos pulled ahead of The West Wing in nominations, 22 to 18, which helped HBO gang up on the Big Four networks—the pay cabler netted 94 noms, 18 more than runner-up NBC, which airs The West Wing.

But, if the past history of last year is any predictor for the 53rd annual ceremony, the networks will again take vengeance on The Sopranos, by denying it win after richly deserved win. Seen & Heard has nothing against any other nominee, but it must be said that Emmy voters are a rather dull and clubby lot, fretful about cable wins, at least in the top categories. Despite a satellite dish of choices available, the nominators tend to pick from the same predictable crop of aging network shows, making for a slow evening for home viewers. The drama series nominees, for example, are exactly the same as last year’s—is this an awards show celebrating what’s fresh and exciting, or The Mummy Returns, as TV’s undead rise up again and again?

Rant over. The complete list—which takes longer to unravel than the alien conspiracy on The X-Files—can be found at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences website, at www.emmys.org. We salute all the technical nominees, but wish the voters would let the likes of Kelsey Grammer, David Hyde Pierce, and Dennis Franz take a year off. Senior editor John Calhoun is welcome to chime in with an overview of the technical noms upon his return to the office next week.

By Robert Cashill

HEARD ON THE STREET:That’s all, folks: All 150 Warner Bros. Studio Stores are closing down, with its Times Square locale one of the last to go. Its Fifth Avenue flagship in Manhattan shuttered last year…The not-so-fashionable Fashion Show mall in Las Vegas is getting a much-needed makeover for 2002, as the Rouse Company has selected LA-based Altoon + Porter Architects to redevelop it with overhead video projections and multiscreened LED displays, among other improvements. LA’s Orme + Associates and Baltimore’s Monk LLC are also in on the design.