“Mad Men” dominated nominations for the primetime Emmy awards, a triumph for the 1960s-themed series that almost failed to return for its fifth season this year.
The show is up against “Boardwalk Empire,” “Breaking Bad,” the British-made “Downton Abbey,” “Game of Thrones” and “Homeland” for best drama series, but unlike any of its rivals, it figures in all nine drama-related categories.
Nominations for the top honors in US television were announced at the not-very-primetime hour of 5:40 am (1240 GMT) on Thursday. The awards night, hosted by late-night comic Jimmy Kimmel, is set for September 23.
Set in a New York advertising agency in a decade of radical social change, “Mad Men” is already in the television record books as the only series ever to win the best drama Emmy for every season it has aired.
But the show, which returned for its fifth season in March, almost died last year when talks on a new contract between creator Matthew Weiner, production company Lionsgate and the AMC cable channel turned acrimonious.
Weiner, who at one point stormed out of the negotiations, fought tooth and nail against boardroom attempts to lower the cost of making the show, which despite its cult status has never brought in big advertising revenues.
The long list of “Mad Men” nominees included Jon Hamm for best actor, Elisabeth Moss for best actress, Jared Harris for best supporting actor and Christina Hendricks for best supporting actress.
Overall, “Mad Men” collected 17 nominations, one more than “Downton Abbey,” which last year won in the miniseries category.
Up for best comedy are “The Big Bang Theory,” after five seasons on CBS still one of the top-rated sitcoms on US television, as well as “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Modern Family,” “30 Rock” and newcomers “Girls” and “Veep.”
Hit new Fox sitcom “New Girl” failed to make the grade, but its star Zooey Deschanel, who plays a quirky schoolteacher sharing an apartment with three men, earned a nomination for outstanding lead actress in a comedy series.
The star and creator of “Girls,” Lena Dunham, a twentysomething New York hipster not unlike the character she plays, was nominated for best comedy actress, best comedy director and best writing for a comedy series.
Trailing with just three minor nominations was the high school musical series “Glee,” two years after it racked up 19 nominations.
Up for best miniseries or TV movie are “American Horror Story,” “Game Change,” “Hatfields and McCoys,” “Hemingway and Gellhorn,” “Luther” and “Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia.”
“American Horror Story” racked up 17 nominations in all, including best actress (Connie Britton), another for best supporting actor (Denis O’Hare), and two for best supporting actress (Frances Conroy and Jessica Lange).
In the race for best competition reality show are “The Amazing Race,” “Dancing with the Stars,” “Project Runway,” “So You Think You Can Dance,” “Top Chef” and “The Voice.”
Missing from the Emmy list was “American Idol,” a pillar of the US music industry after 11 seasons, but now at a crossroads after the sudden departure of judges Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler.
Its host Ryan Seacrest is nevertheless among the nominees for best host of a reality program — as is Betty White, still going strong at 90, for “Betty White’s Off Their Rockers.”