20 July 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Win or lose, The Sopranos is ending on an Emmy high note.

Its 15 nominations not only leads the pack among all series this year but also represents the highest total a series has ever nabbed in its final season.

"I know that people really responded to this season and talked about it incessantly," said Carolyn Strauss, president of entertainment at HBO. "That may be what you're seeing in the voting."

The Emmys have a mixed track record when it comes to letting acclaimed programs go out on top. As recently as 2005, the comedy series Everybody Loves Raymond capped its closing season with a healthy 13 nominations and went on to win in the series category.

But it's a different story on the drama side, where a Sopranos win would mark the first final-season winner in 30 years. That distinction belongs to Upstairs, Downstairs, the British series that ran on PBS' Masterpiece Theatre and collected the last of its three wins in that category in 1977.

Some of TV's most legendary dramas have had trouble maintaining their momentum by Emmy standards. After a storied Emmy career, four-time best-series winner The West Wing faded to six nominations in 2006. Among other four-time winners, Hill Street Blues had just three nominations in 1987, and L.A. Law eked out just one in 1994.

Sopranos spread its nomination haul across a variety of categories, including two apiece in editing and writing.

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