MAD MEN stands a chance of becoming the most honoured drama in TV history after winning 17 nominations for this year’s primetime Emmy awards.
The bleak portrait of a 1960s American anti-hero – which is tied with Hill Street Blues, LA Law and The West Wing with four ‘Best Drama Series’ awards, is up for its fifth award in as many seasons.
The miniseries American Horror Story, a nightmarish saga about a haunted house, received a matching 17 awards, including an acting nod for star Connie Britton.
Other leading nominees include the elegant British drama Downton Abbey, which earned 16 bids, and two miniseries: Hatfields & McCoys, with 16, and Hemingway & Gellhorn with 15.
Modern Family, honored as best comedy series for the past two years, was the sitcom leader with 14 bids and practically ran the table in supporting actor nods, but the category also saw an infusion of girl power.
Breakout comedies with women at their centre — in fashion after the box-office success of Bridesmaids — proved alluring to Emmy voters.
Girls, creator-star Lena Dunham’s darkly comedic coming-of-age New York story, received a best comedy nod and acting, writing and directing nominations for her. Zooey Deschanel’s offbeat charm in New Girl earned her an acting bid.
“I have had the shriekiest morning of my life,” said Dunham, as she arrived on set to shoot the second season of Girls. ‘
I literally feel like I got asked to the prom and engaged and told I was going to the moon all in one day. Not to be too dramatic.
I jumped around in my bed and I ran down the hall that’s in my apartment building that’s not even part of my house without my pants on.
Melissa McCarthy, who appeared in Bridesmaids, has a chance to repeat last year’s victory as best comedy actress winner for Mike & Molly.
Emmy darling Julia Louis-Dreyfus, with past wins for Seinfeld and New Adventures of Old Christine, earned an acting nod for Veep – the US spin-off from the BBC’s revered mockumentary The Thick of It - which received a best comedy nomination.
Betty White, 90, brought her brand of female empowerment to the nominations, earning two nominations — best reality series host nod for Betty White’s Off Their Rockers and best variety special for Betty White’s 90th Birthday: A Tribute to America’s Golden Girl.
White may have banished someone else from the best reality show host category: A no-show this time was perennial winner Jeff Probst of Survivor.
Top nominations were announced by Kerry Washington of Scandal and by Jimmy Kimmel, who will host the awards and who filled in Thursday for Nick Offerman of Parks and Recreation, held up by weather-related travel delays on the East Coast.
“This is a sex dream, isn’t it?” joked Kimmel, ABC’s late-night host, who arrived on stage at the TV academy dressed in pajamas. Jimmy Kimmel Live was nominated in the variety category. The Emmys will take place on September 23.
- Lynn Elber