On rare occasions, quality wins out on television:
Two recently departed NBC programs, White House drama “The West Wing” and gay-themed comedy “Will & Grace,” picked up bids for the TCA’s Heritage Award, which recognizes long-running programs of lasting cultural or social impact.
The third Heritage nominee was the CBS drama anthology “Hallmark Hall of Fame.”
Winners of the TCA Awards, which are decided by critics rather than television industry members who vote on the Emmys, will be announced July 23 in Pasadena, California. . .
Other shows nominated as the most outstanding newcomers were HBO’s polygamist family tale “Big Love,” UPN’s Chris Rock-inspired sitcom “Everybody Hates Chris,” Comedy Central’s political satire “The Colbert Report” and Fox jailhouse drama “Prison Break.
Rounding out the competition for program of the year are two hot ABC series — medical melodrama “Grey’s Anatomy” and castaway mystery “Lost” — along with HBO mob family saga “The Sopranos” and the Fox espionage thriller “24.” . . .
“M*A*S*H” veteran Alan Alda also drew a nod for his role as the Republican senator who loses the hard-fought race for president on the final season of “The West Wing.” . . .
In another sign that critical acclaim is often at odds with the Nielsens, some of the season’s most popular dramas and comedies were snubbed by the TCA, including CBS powerhouses “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” and “Two and a Half Men.”