It ends as it begins. The Wire got one nomination for an Emmy and in five years, never won anything. Now the last season was highly problematic and was poisoned by Simon's anger toward the news industry. Still, overall I'm with Jacob:
"It's like them never giving a Nobel Prize to Tolstoy," said Jacob Weisberg, editor-in-chief of the Slate Group and a correspondent for Slate.com. "It doesn't make Tolstoy look bad, it makes the Nobel Prize look bad."
Weisberg, who has been an ardent supporter of "The Wire," added, "It's sort of proof if you needed any that the Emmys are not something that should be taken seriously."
I think race is a factor here, but not one acting in singular stand-alone fashion. It was race, drugs and Baltimore all working together. B-More just isn't considered a sexy city. Furthermore, there were structural things. People loved the Sopranos because, in the end, it was about family. Plus the ensemble nature of the show made it hard to fix on one person. It's crazy but unlike most Wire fans, my favorite season is two. I think completely flipping shit and showing how drugs isn't just a "black" problem was incredible. Furthermore it was just beautifully acted. Ziggie was incredible. But as Frank Sobatka would say, Fuck the wall.
UPDATE: A few commenters have highlighted Homicide to note that Baltimore isn't a killer for Emmys. But as a side about the race thing--this isn't about one element "acting in singular stand-alone fashion." It's many things all at once. Race and location being two of them.