LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Emmy organizers for the first time ever on Thursday unveiled a list of the top 10 comedies and 10 dramas competing to be nominated for U.S. television's highest honors, which are presented in September.
Traditionally, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences does not reveal its short list of the 20 shows under consideration for best drama and best comedy series nominations, which this year will be announced on July 17.
The list of 10 drama finalists includes one previous Emmy winner for best drama series, ABC's castaway thriller "Lost," and three other past nominees -- ABC's courtroom saga "Boston Legal" and two medical shows, the Fox hit "House" and ABC favorite "Grey's Anatomy."
The critically acclaimed but low-rated NBC series "Friday Night Lights" also made the cut, as did the serial killer drama "Dexter," which appeared on both CBS and the cable network Showtime.
Rounding out the roster of drama finalists were four more cable shows -- AMC's new period piece "Mad Men," the FX legal drama "Damages," Showtime's historical romp "The Tudors" and the final season of HBO's "The Wire."
The top 10 comedies feature six programs from the broadcast networks lead by Emmy winners for the last two year, "30 Rock" and "The Office," both on NBC, as well as CBS's bawdy sitcom "Two and a Half Men," Fox's animated series "Family Guy" and ABC newcomer "Pushing Daisies."
HBO dominated the four cable TV comedies on the short list with veteran programs "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and "Entourage," as well as recent arrival "Flight of the Conchords." They are joined by Showtime's "Weeds," about a pot-dealing mom.
The top 10 short lists were determined by votes from the entire television academy, and now go to "blue ribbon" panels of academy members who will judge the contenders. Results from the academy voting and the panel voting are then averaged to determine the five nominees for each category.
The 60th Primetime Emmy Awards will take place September 21, and will also include awards for TV actors, actresses, mini-series, made-for-TV movies and a host of other honors.
Reporting by Bob Tourtellotte; Editing by Steve Gorman