Emmys: ‘Mad Men’ and ‘American Horror Story’ Lead as Big 4 Networks Shut Out in Drama Race

Showtime's "Homeland," HBO's "Girls" and "Veep" join top categories

Last Updated: July 19, 2012 @ 8:44 AM

Emmy favorite "Mad Men" and grisly new series "American Horror Story" led the Emmy nominations with 17 each Thursday as cable and PBS shut out the broadcast networks in the Outstanding Drama Series race for the first time in Emmy history.

"Boardwalk Empire," "Breaking Bad," "Downton Abbey," "Game of Thrones," "Homeland" and "Mad Men" were nominated for the Outstanding Drama Series Emmy. AMC's "Mad Men," a four-time winner in the category, would set a record with a fifth win.

Also read: Emmy Nominations: The Complete List

The Outstanding Comedy Series nominees were "The Big Bang Theory," "Curb Your Enthusiasm," "Girls," "Modern Family," "30 Rock" and "Veep."

Showtime's new "Homeland" joined the drama category for the first time, as did PBS' "Downton Abbey," which moved over from the movie or miniseries category, where it competed last year. "Breaking Bad" returned to the category after not airing in the eligibility period last year. They bumped "Dexter" and "The Good Wife," which were nominated last year. (Another drama nominated last year, "Friday Night Lights," ended its run with that season.)

Also read: Emmy Predictions: The Nominees, The Snubs — and the Winners

The exit of CBS' "The Good Wife" from this year's nominees made it a cable and public television sweep of the drama category.

FX's "American Horror Story," like "Abbey," benefited from choosing its category wisely. It could have entered as a drama, but instead competed as a movie or miniseries — even though it will return for a second season. "American Horror Story" was nominated for Outstanding Miniseries or Movie along with HBO's "Game Change" and "Hemingway & Gellhorn," History's "Hatfields & McCoys," BBC America's "Luther" and PBS's "Sherlock: A Scandal In Belgravia (Masterpiece)."

"Glee," "Parks and Recreation" and "The Office" were all bumped from the comedy category after being nominated last year. "Curb," which didn't air in the eligibility period last year, returned. Two other HBO shows, the new "Girls" and "Veep," which aired back-to-back last season, also joined the category. That meant HBO owned half of the entries in the comedy race.

Also read: List of the Most-Nominated Shows

Cable's dominating the drama category and half of the comedy category continued a long trend of Emmy voters favoring premium cable networks over the networks. HBO had the most nods this year with 81, followed by CBS with 60 and PBS with 58.

"Girls" creator and star Lena Dunham landed a nomination for best lead comedic actress, as did Julia Louis-Dreyfus for "Veep." Zooey Deschanel was another new addition to the category for Fox's "New Girl." Returning nominees included Amy Poehler ("Parks") and past winners Tina Fey ("30 Rock") and Edie Falco ("Nurse Jackie.")

In one of the biggest shakeups, NBC's "The Voice" bumped "American Idol" from the Outstanding Reality-Competition Program category — which CBS's "The Amazing Race" wins almost every year.

Among other surprises were the posthumous supporting dramatic actress nod for Kathryn Joosten for her portrayal of the ornery Mrs. McCluskey on ABC's "Desperate Housewives" and Don Cheadle's outstanding comedic actor nomination for his work as a morally flexible management consultant on Showtime's new "House of Lies."

Joining Cheadle in the lead comedic actor category were returning nominees Larry David ("Curb Your Enthusiasm"), Louis C.K. (FX's "Louie") and past winner Alec Baldwin ("30 Rock.") Jon Cryer, a past winner in the supporting actor category for CBS's "Two and a Half Men," was nominated for lead this time around.

"Homeland" star Claire Danes picked up a nomination in the dramatic lead actress category, as did Michelle Dockery for "Downton Abbey." They joined previous nominees Kathy Bates (NBC's "Harry's Law"), Elisabeth Moss ("Mad Men") and past winners Glenn Close (FX's "Damages") and Julianna Margulies ("The Good Wife").

"Homeland" star Damian Lewis and "Downton Abbey" star Hugh Bonneville were newcomers to the lead dramatic actor category. They joined three-time "Breaking Bad" winner Bryan Cranston, as well as Steve Buscemi ("Boardwalk Empire"), Michael C. Hall ("Dexter") and Jon Hamm ("Mad Men.")

Two "Breaking Bad" stars broke into the supporting categories for the first time: Anna Gunn was nominated for best supporting dramatic actress and Giancarlo Esposito was nominated as best supporting dramatic actor.

"Scandal" star Kerry Washington and Emmys host Jimmy Kimmel announced the 64th Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards nominees Thursday morning, along with Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Chairman-CEO Bruce Rosenblum.

Kimmel, dressed in pajamas, filled in for "Parks and Recreation" star Nick Offerman, who had been scheduled to announce the nominees with Washington. That meant Kimmel was on hand when his own show, "Jimmy Kimmel Live," was nominated for the first time as Outstanding Variety Series.

Kimmel jokingly explained Offerman's absence to "Good Morning America": "They said he had a travel problem of some kind. Which usually means drugs."

In fact, Offerman's plans were disrupted by heavy rain on the East Coast.