AMC's "Mad Men" and FX Network's "American Horror Story" led the pack today when nominations were announced for the 64th annual Emmy Awards, each receiving 17.
Cable network HBO again performed well ahead of the next best TV network, receiving 81 nominations, followed by CBS with 60 and PBS with 58.
The PBS hit show "Downton Abbey," which previously competed in the miniseries category, was a nominee in the outstanding drama series category today, joining "Breaking Bad," "Boardwalk Empire," "Homeland" and perennial contender "Mad Men."
HBO's "Girls" was a surprise addition in the best comedy series category. "Modern Family," "30 Rock," "Curb Your Enthusiasm," "Veep," and "The Big Bang Theory" were also nominated for best comedy. ABC's "Modern Family" has won the category each of the past two years.
Talk show host Jimmy Kimmel and Kerry Washington, star of the ABC drama "Scandal," announced the nominations for television's most prestigious award in the top 12categories at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences early this morning.
Kimmel filled in as a host at the last minute after Nick Offerman, who plays Ron Swanson on "Parks and Recreation," was delayed in New York by weather.
Kimmel, whose show was nominated in the variety series category, made light of his last minute fill-in role by wearing pajamas.
"This (announcement) could be just as good at noon," Kimmel said, joking about the early 5:40 a.m. announcement.
Asked about his nomination, Kimmel said, "I guess I should call my parents, probably. My kids won't care."
"Homeland," which stars Claire Danes as a volatile Central Intelligence Agency officer who believes a Marine Corps sergeant taken prisoner during the Iraq War (Damian Lewis) has become part of an al-Qaida terrorism plot, is a strong contender in the best drama category, having won the Golden Globe and Critics Choice awards as television's best drama and a Peabody Award.
"Breaking Bad," which stars Bryan Cranston as a cancer-stricken high school chemistry teacher-turned-methamphetamine manufacturer, received best drama series nominations in both 2009 and 2010 but was ineligible to be nominated last year because it did not air enough new episodes during the eligibility period. AMC's "Mad Men" has won the outstanding drama series Emmy for each of the past four years.
"Modern Family" is again a strong contender in the best comedy series. The ABC show won best comedy awards at the Golden Globe, Producers Guild, Screen Actors Guild and Writers Guild awards. NBC's "Community," the Critics Choice Awards winner for best comedy, "Parks and Recreation" and Fox's "New Girl" were left out of the best comedy series category. CBS'
"The Amazing Race" was again nominated for an Emmy for outstanding reality-competition program. The show won eight of the past nine years. Lifetime's "Project Runway," Fox's "So You Think You Can Dance," Bravo's "Top Chef," NBC's "The Voice," and ABC's "Dancing With The Stars" were also nominated. Notably absent was Fox's "American Idol."
Lena Dunham, who plays Hannah Horvath in HBO's "Girls," Julia Louis- Dreyfus, who plays Vice President Selina Meyer on "Veep," and Zooey Deschanel, who plays Jess Day on "New Girl," were the newcomers in the best comedic actress category. Melissa McCarthy, "Mike and Molly," Edie Falco, "Nurse Jackie," Amy Poehler, "Parks and Recreation" and Tina Fey, "30 Rock," were all nominated last year.
Jim Parsons won a nod for outstanding leading actor in a comedy series for his role as Sheldon Cooper on "The Big Bang Theory." Don Cheadle, who plays Marty Kaan on "House of Lies," Louie C.K. who plays Louie on the show of the same name, Larry David, who plays himself on "Curb Your Enthusiasm," Jon Cryer, who plays Alan Harper on "Two and Half Men," and Alec Baldwin, who plays Jack Donaghy on "30 Rock" were also nominated in the category.
Accounting firm Ernst & Young ran the ballot tabulation.
The 64th annual Primetime Emmy Awards, which honor programming initially airing between 6 p.m. and 2 a.m. from June 1, 2011, to May 31, 2012, will be presented Sept. 23 at the Nokia Theatre with Kimmel as the host. The ceremony will be televised on ABC.
The bulk of the Primetime Emmy awards will be presented at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards ceremony Sept. 15, also at the Nokia Theatre.