Cable Corners Emmy Nods

7/18/2009 2:00 AM Eastern

Cable once again dominated the nominations for the 61st annual primetime Emmy Awards, and Home Box Office led the pack with 99 nods. But this year's nominations also brought some surprises.

While the Emmys continued to recognize the excellence of previously nominated series such as AMC's Mad Men and Breaking Bad, as well as performances from last year's winners Glenn Close (FX's Damages) and Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad), several cable newcomers will vie for television's highest honors this September.

Television executives say the inclusion of such niche, cult-audience performances as those of Jemaine Clement of HBO's Flight of the Conchords and Sarah Silverman from Comedy Central's The Sarah Silverman Program — nominated for best male and female actor in a comedy series, respectively — shows the growing influence cable is having on the television landscape.

“The fact that parts of the cable niche that you thought the Emmys would never cozy up to [were nominated] — like Flight of the Conchords and The Sarah Silverman Program — shows that the Emmy voters, and the [television] industry in particular, have embraced cable in all of its avenues,” said TV Guide critic Matt Roush.

Overall, AMC's Mad Men led cable series with 16 nods; HBO's telepic Grey Gardens, about two eccentric relatives of Jacqueline Onassis, led all cable programming with 17 nominations, behind only the 22 generated by NBC's 30 Rock.

Mad Men, which last year became the first basic-cable show to win the best drama series Emmy, and Breaking Bad will compete against each other in the category, along with cable entries Big Love (HBO), Damages (FX) and Dexter (Showtime). Fox's House and ABC's Lost are also in contention here.

On the comedy side, Flight of the Conchords will compete with sister series Entourage for best comedy series, along with Showtime's Weeds, Fox's Family Guy, CBS's How I Met Your Mother and NBC's The Office.

Damages' Glenn Close will look to make it two female lead drama series awards in a row as she competes against fellow cable leads Kyra Sedgwick (TNT's The Closer), Holly Hunter (TNT's Saving Grace) and Elizabeth Moss (AMC's Mad Men), as well as Sally Field (ABC's Brothers and Sisters) and Mariska Hargitay (NBC's Law & Order: SVU).

Breaking Bad's Bryan Cranston will also defend his lead drama actor award this year against Michael C. Hall (Showtime's Dexter), Gabriel Byrne (HBO's In Treatment), Jon Hamm (AMC's Mad Men), Hugh Laurie (Fox's House) and Simon Baker (CBS's The Mentalist).

Cable swept the made-for-television movie category, taking all five slots for HBO's Grey Gardens, Taking Chance and Into the Storm, as well as Lifetime telepics Prayers for Bobby and Coco Chanel.


Networks with the most 2009 Emmy nominations:

Network Nominations
SOURCE: Academy Of Television Arts and Sciences
Comedy Central13
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