HBO prepping for ‘Sex’ sendoff

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What worked: HBO nabbed a record 109 noms at the Emmys, with “Six Feet Under” tallying a program-high 16. “Sex and the City” and “The Sopranos” each scored 13 noms while “Curb Your Enthusiasm” racked up 10.

On telepic side, “Angels of America” was a stunner. Critics raved about the six-hour mini, which teamed Al Pacino and Meryl Streep for the first time.

Over at Showtime, the biggest buzz was heard at the end of the year when Viacom sister network CBS delivered hot-potato biopic “The Reagans.” Ratings were topnotch for the cabler and the highest since, coincidentally, “The Day Reagan Was Shot” aired in 2001.

On the series side, reviews were excellent for newcomer “Dead Like Me.”

What didn’t: “Carnivale” is coming back for season No. 2 but it’s far from a breakout hit. Despite a massive publicity campaign and substantial first-episode numbers, there seems to be little aud enthusiasm for the moody and dark drama.

That’s not good news for HBO, which is seeing its two most popular series — “The Sopranos” and “Sex and the City” — end their runs. “Sex” will say goodbye Feb. 22 while “Sopranos” has only two seasons remaining. And for all their Emmy noms, HBO has yet to dethrone “The West Wing” as best drama.

Critically beloved “Angels,” which cost in the $60 million range, didn’t fly too well with viewers and as for “K Street,” Steven Soderbergh and George Clooney’s docu-style look at D.C. politics, the melange of fiction and reality was a bust.

Showtime canceled “Street Time,” with Rob Morrow, after the second season and while its other series — “Queer as Folk,” “Soul Food” and “The Chris Isaak Show” — continue to air and have loyal fan bases, they haven’t captured the public’s attention the way HBO’s series have.

What’s ahead: Season No. 5 of “The Sopranos” will begin March 7. David Milch, co-creator of “NYPD Blue,” will see his Western series, “Deadwood” come to life March 21 and the network has given the go-ahead for “Rome.” The skein, which will be co-produced with the BBC and is scheduled to air in 2005, will begin in 51 B.C., after Julius Caesar has completed his conquest of Gaul after eight years of war and is preparing his return to Rome.

New Showtime topper Robert Greenblatt is hoping his net’s newest series, the gay-themed “The L Word,” which will preem Jan. 18, attracts more than lesbians. Also greenlit is “Huff,” with Hank Azaria, Oliver Platt and Blythe Danner, about a psychiatrist who helps his patients but whose personal life is in disarray.

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