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Showbiz scribes have lauded a pair of quirky frosh NBC sitcoms --- "My Name Is Earl" and "The Office" --- with three nominations each for Writers Guild of America TV scripting awards.

The small-screen noms for the 58th annual WGA Awards, announced Wednesday, also saw members back ABC's "Grey's Anatomy," HBO's "Six Feet Under" and NBC's "The West Wing" with two apiece. Three shows that won writing Emmys in September --- Fox's "Arrested Development" and "House," plus HBO's "The Life and Death of Peter Sellers" --- received nominations as well.

Scribes presented all six noms in the animated writing category to Fox's "The Simpsons." As a result, Fox tied with HBO for most nominations with 10 for the 10 primetime categories announced Wednesday, followed by NBC with nine and ABC and Showtime with four each.

The WGA noms --- which covered shows broadcast between Dec. 1, 2004, and Nov. 30 --- were significantly more numerous than in past years, with the guild adding a trio of new categories for new series and overall writing in both drama series and comedy series.

WGA screenplay nominations will be announced Jan. 4, and the awards will be announced Feb. 4 in simultaneous ceremonies at the Hollywood Palladium and Gotham's Waldorf-Astoria.

"My Name Is Earl" and "The Office" each took noms for new series, comedy series and comedy episode.

"I think it's great that the guild came up with the new categories because they reflect how it's a team effort," said Greg Daniels, showrunner for "The Office." "I'm looking forward to sitting down at the awards show with my co-writers and eating food that's not in a Styrofoam container."

Announcement came a day after "Earl" scored Golden Globe mentions for comedy series and Jason Lee for comedy/musical actor while Steve Carell received a Golden Globe nom for "The Office."

"Earl" showrunner Greg Garcia, who received a nom for writing the pilot, told Daily Variety that he hadn't expected the WGA recognition. "I'm surprised anytime that anyone has anything nice to say about me."

Double nominee "Grey's Anatomy" received nominations in new series and drama series while "Six Feet Under" and "The West Wing" were selected in the drama series and drama episode categories. The other drama series noms went to HBO's "Deadwood" and ABC's "Lost."

In comedy series, the other noms went to Fox's "Arrested Development" plus HBO's "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and "Entourage."

In the new series category, UPN's "Everybody Hates Chris" and HBO's "Rome" joined "My Name Is Earl," "The Office" and "Grey's Anatomy."

Of the nominated series in the three new categories, "Lost" had the most writers listed with 22, followed by "Arrested Development" with 19 scribes listed. "Curb Your Enthusiasm" listed only Larry David.

Quentin Tarantino picked up a "story by" nom in the drama episode category for the "Grave Anger" episode of CBS' "CSI," with teleplay by Anthony E. Zuiker, Carol Mendelsohn and Naren Shankar. Other drama episode nominees are "Autopsy" for Fox's "House," written by Lawrence Kaplow; "A Good Day" for NBC's "The West Wing" by Carol Flint; "Normal Is the Watchword" for UPN's "Veronica Mars" by Rob Thomas; "Rhea Reynolds" for FX's "Nip/Tuck" by Jennifer Salt; and "Singing for Our Lives" for HBO's "Six Feet Under" by Scott Buck.

Besides Garcia's nom, other noms in the comedy episode category are "Diversity Day" for "The Office" by B.J. Novak; "Exile on Main Street" for Fox's "Kitchen Confidential" pilot by David Hemingson; "Motivational Speaker" for Fox's "Malcolm in the Middle" by Rob Ulin; "Next" for ABC's "Desperate Housewives" by Jenna Bans & Kevin Murphy; and "You Can't Miss the Bear" for Showtime's "Weeds" pilot by Jenji Kohan.

Nominees in longform original program are Showtime's "Dirt" by Nancy Savoca & Richard Guay; TNT's "The Librarian: Quest for the Spear" by David Titcher; Hallmark's "The Reading Room" by Randy Feldman; and HBO's "Warm Springs" by Margaret Nagle.

Nominees in longform adapted: Hallmark's "The Colt" by Stephen Harrigan, based on a short story by Mikhail Aleksandrozich Sholokhov; HBO's "Lackawanna Blues" by Ruben Santiago-Hudson, based on his play; HBO's "The Life and Death of Peter Sellers" by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely, based on the book by Roger Lewis; and Showtime's "Our Fathers" by Thomas Michael Donnelly, based on the book "Our Fathers: The Secret Life of the Catholic Church in an Age of Scandal" by David France.

Animation nominees, all for "The Simpsons": "The Father, the Son and the Holy Guest Star" by Matt Warburton; "The Girl Who Slept Too Little" by John Frink; "Mommie Beerest" by Michael Price; "See Homer Run" by Stephanie Gillis; "Thank God It's Doomsday" by Don Payne; and "There's Something About Marrying" by J. Stewart Burns.

For comedy/variety in the category of music, awards, tributes --- specials, noms went to "The 59th Annual Tony Awards," written by Dave Boone, special material written by Jon Macks; and "The Kennedy Center Honors" by George Stevens Jr. and Sara Lukinson.

For comedy/variety series, nominations went to CBS' "Late Night With Conan O'Brien," Showtime's "Penn & Teller: Bullshit!" and HBO's "Real Time With Bill Maher."

For more information, please visit http://www.variety.com.

Copyright ©2004 Reed Business Information. All Rights Reserved.

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