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'30 Rock' and 'Mad Men' lead the way

THE EMMY NOMINATIONS

The NBC comedy starring Tina Fey gets 22 nominations and the AMC drama gets 16. They were series winners last year.

July 17, 2009|Susan King

The defending champion comedy and drama series dominated the Emmy Award nominations announced Thursday: NBC's "30 Rock" received 22 -- the most nominations for any comedy in Emmy history -- and AMC's stylish "Mad Men," set in the 1960s advertising world, earned 16.

For "30 Rock," creator and star Tina Fey was nominated for lead comedy actress and Alec Baldwin for lead comedy actor. They were joined by Jane Krakowski, Tracy Morgan and Jack McBrayer in the supporting actress and actor categories.

"30 Rock" and "Mad Men" generated their large number of nominations in part by dominating the writing awards: Episodes of each show accounted for four of the five nominations in those categories.

In the case of "30 Rock," five of its nominations came in the guest actor and actress categories: Steve Martin, Alan Alda, Jennifer Aniston, Elaine Stritch and Jon Hamm received nominations.

"This is incredible. With 22 nominations, it's incredible," said Morgan, who plays Tracy Jordan. "I'm just so happy for everyone on our show, from Lorne Michaels and Tina to the craft services staff."

The size of the show's audience hasn't always reflected its award haul and critical acclaim, but McBrayer said that was changing. "People are catching on big-time," said McBrayer, who plays NBC page Kenneth. "Tina has created such fantastic stories. It's the best time."

"Mad Men's" nominations included lead actor for Hamm and lead actress for Elisabeth Moss.

Joining "30 Rock" in the best comedy category are HBO's long-running "Entourage," Fox's ribald "Family Guy," HBO's "Flight of the Conchords," CBS' "How I Met Your Mother," perennial NBC nominee "The Office" and the Showtime comedy "Weeds."

Competing with "Mad Men" in the best drama series category are two newcomers: HBO's polygamy melodrama "Big Love" and AMC's dark "Breaking Bad." Also nominated: FX's legal drama "Damages," Showtime's "Dexter," Fox's "House" and ABC's enigmatic "Lost."

Joining Fey in the lead comedy actress category is Julia Louis-Dreyfus for "The New Adventures of Old Christine," Christina Applegate for the now-canceled "Samantha Who?," Sarah Silverman for "The Sarah Silverman Program," Toni Collette for "The United States of Tara" and Mary-Louise Parker for "Weeds."

"It's bittersweet. Every time I see the show on, I think, 'I can't believe we don't get to do that anymore,' " Applegate said. "It's good to go out with something positive, but I wish I was still going to work on it."

Applegate said she called Parker, who is a friend: "Apparently I was the first person who told her about her nomination!"

"I am thrilled to be nominated amongst this talented group of actors," Parker said, "and especially happy for my friend Christina [Applegate] that she is being recognized for her great work."

Vying with Baldwin for lead actor in a comedy series are Jim Parsons for "The Big Bang Theory," Jemaine Clement for "Flight of the Conchords," three-time winner Tony Shalhoub for "Monk," Steve Carell for "The Office" and Charlie Sheen for "Two and a Half Men."

Joining Hamm in the lead actor in a drama series category are last year's winner, Bryan Cranston, for "Breaking Bad," Michael C. Hall for "Dexter," Hugh Laurie for "House," Gabriel Byrne for "In Treatment" and Simon Baker for "The Mentalist."

The nominees for lead actress in a drama series are Sally Field for "Brothers & Sisters"; Kyra Sedgwick in "The Closer"; last year's winner, Glenn Close, for "Damages"; Mariska Hargitay for "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit;" Moss for "Mad Men"; and Holly Hunter for "Saving Grace."

Farrah Fawcett was posthumously nominated for an Emmy for outstanding nonfiction special for "Farrah's Story," the NBC documentary chronicling her battle with cancer. Fawcett, 62, died June 25. Also nominated was Fawcett's friend and producer, Alana Stewart.

Ernest Borgnine, 92, earned a nomination as guest actor in a drama series for "ER," and Betty White received a nod for guest actress in the comedy series "My Name Is Earl."

Fey also will be competing in that category, for her role as Sarah Palin, the Republican nominee for vice president, on "Saturday Night Live's" "Presidential Bash 2008."

Justin Timberlake earned two nominations, for guest actor in a comedy series as host of "Saturday Night Live" and for co-writing the heavily bleeped song "Motherlover."

Sedgwick isn't the only member of her household to be nominated: Husband Kevin Bacon earned a nod for lead actor in a movie or miniseries for "Taking Chance."

"It was a good morning for both of us, and I'm thrilled for obviously myself, my wife and all the people who worked so hard on the movie and those who were acknowledged," Bacon said. "You know as well as I do that it's such a group effort to get something done, and I think it's a really great film."

"The Big Bang Theory's" Parsons and Chandra Wilson of "Grey's Anatomy" joined Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Chairman John Shaffner at the academy headquarters in North Hollywood to make the announcements, and both actors were surprised to be nominated.

Wilson received two -- supporting actress for "Grey's" and lead actress in a miniseries or movie for the Hallmark Channel's "Accidental Friendship."

Parsons, who plays the "Big Bang's" obsessive-compulsive Sheldon, said, "I'm still stunned and so grateful and happy. . . . I thought about the individual people having to go and check off my name on a ballot. It seems so kind."

The Emmys will air Sept. 20 on CBS from the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles. Neil Patrick Harris, who received acclaim in June for hosting the Tony Awards, will be the emcee.

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susan.king@latimes.com

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Rene Lynch contributed to this report.

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