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Stars of the small screen will be honored at the 64th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards on September 23, 2012. Emmy nominations were announced Thursday morning by late-night personality Jimmy Kimmel, who will be hosting the Emmys for the first time.
AMC’s “Mad Men” earned the most nominations with 17, including Outstanding Drama Series. Its competition will be "Boardwalk Empire" (HBO), "Breaking Bad" (AMC), "Downton Abbey" (PBS), "Homeland" (Showtime), and "Game of Thrones" (HBO). This year would be a record-setting fifth win in this category for “Mad Men”, currently tied with "Hill Street Blues," "L.A. Law" and "The West Wing" with four Outstanding Drama Series trophies. PBS’s nighttime soap opera “Downton Abbey” may be the toughest challenger with 16 nominations of its own.
Also honored with 17 Emmy nominations, the creepily captivating miniseries “American Horror Story” (FX), will be vying for the Outstanding Miniseries or TV Movie trophy. Other nominees in this category are: "Game Change" (HBO), "Hatfields & McCoys" (History), "Hemingway & Gellhorn" (HBO), "Luther" (BBC America), and "Sherlock: A Scandal In Belgravia" (PBS). This is a big year for the miniseries, as History’s “Hatfields & McCoys” received 16 total nominations and HBO’s “Hemingway & Gellhorn” received 15 nominations overall.
Leading all sitcoms with 14 Primetime Emmy nominations is the reigning Outstanding Comedy Series champion, ABC’s “Modern Family.” But in order to capture this title for the third year in a row, “Modern Family” will have to defeat the lovably nerdy "The Big Bang Theory" (CBS), veteran comedies "Curb Your Enthusiasm" (HBO) and "30 Rock" (NBC), and newcomers "Veep" (HBO) and "Girls" (HBO). Look for HBO’s “Girls” to bring home the gold this year, as Hollywood’s “Girl Power” trend continues.
In the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series category, we see some familiar faces, as well as a few new ones. The nominated actors are: Jim Parsons as quirky Sheldon Cooper in "The Big Bang Theory", Larry David as Himself in "Curb Your Enthusiasm", Don Cheadle as Marty Kaan in "House of Lies", Louis C.K. as Louie in "Louie", Jon Cryer as Alan Harper in "Two and a Half Men", and the always unpredictable Alec Baldwin as Jack Donaghy in "30 Rock".
Let’s not forget the ladies! The nominated actresses for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series are: the adorable Zooey Deschanel as Jess Day in "New Girl", Lena Dunham as Hannah Horvath in "Girls", Melissa McCarthy as Molly Flynn in "Mike & Molly", Edie Falco as Jackie Peyton in "Nurse Jackie", Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope in "Parks and Recreation", Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Selina Meyer in "Veep", and Tina Fey as the quick-witted Liz Lemon in "30 Rock".
Big screen starlets sparkle on the list of nominees for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, which includes Glenn Close as Patty Hewes in "Damages", Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in "Downton Abbey", Julianna Margulies as Alicia Florrick in "The Good Wife", Kathy Bates as Harriet Korn in "Harry's Law", Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison in "Homeland", and Elisabeth Moss as Peggy Olson in "Mad Men". My money is on Claire Danes for the surprise win in this category!
Nominees for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series are a list of guys you wouldn’t want to run into when they’re having a bad day: Steve Buscemi as Nucky Thompson in "Boardwalk Empire", Bryan Cranston as Walter White in "Breaking Bad", Michael C. Hall as Dexter Morgan in "Dexter", Hugh Bonneville as Robert, Earl of Grantham in "Downton Abbey", Damian Lewis as Nicholas Brody in "Homeland", and of course Jon Hamm as Don Draper in "Mad Men". Noticeably absent from this year’s list is Hugh Laurie, who starred as the charmingly miserable Dr. Gregory House in the eighth and final season of “House”.
In honor of the Outstanding Reality-Competition Program nominees, try singing, dancing, cooking and running all over the world (but not at the same time)! Longtime favorite “American Idol” (FOX) was ousted by its competition, NBC’s “The Voice”. Other shows vying for this trophy are: "The Amazing Race" (CBS), "Dancing With The Stars" (ABC), "Project Runway" (Lifetime), "So You Think You Can Dance" (FOX), and "Top Chef" (Bravo). “Idol” fans might be feeling left out of this category, but can rejoice in the nomination given to Ryan Seacrest for Outstanding Reality Series Host.
Sadly, “Jersey Shore” and the “Real Housewives” franchise didn’t make the list of nominees for Outstanding Reality Program (not even Real Housewives of New Jersey? C’mon!). Here’s the list of what did make it: "Antiques Roadshow" (PBS)
"Jamie Oliver's Food" (ABC), "MythBusters" (Discovery Channel), "Shark Tank" (ABC), "Undercover Boss" (CBS), and "Who Do You Think You Are?" (NBC). Apparently, outstanding programming does not include fist-pumping and table-flipping, according to Primetime Emmy voters.
This year’s host Jimmy Kimmel was also honored with a nomination for his show, “Jimmy Kimmel Live” (ABC). Kimmel’s competition for Outstanding Variety Program includes: "The Colbert Report" (Comedy Central), "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" (Comedy Central), "Jimmy Kimmel Live" (ABC), "Real Time With Bill Maher" (HBO), "Saturday Night Live" (NBC), and "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon" (NBC). In my opinion, this award goes to Jimmy Fallon; if performing a cover of LMFAO’s “Sexy and I Know It” with Bruce Springsteen doesn’t earn a Primetime Emmy, I don’t know what does!
If your favorite shows didn’t make the Primetime Emmy nominees list, don’t despair. Instead, take advantage of the summer season to catch up on all the Emmy nominated programs you’ve been missing out on!