The Primetime Emmys are going to Rock and go Mad this year.
Cult favorite 30 Rock and freshmen series Mad Men lead all series nominations (HBO’s John Adams leads with 23 overall) for the 60th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards with 17 and 16 nods, respectively.
The NBC comedy will be back to defend its Comedy Series crown against some familiar players, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Entourage, The Office and Two and a Half Men while the critically acclaimed AMC drama will try to edge out Boston Legal, Damages, Dexter, House and Lost for Drama Series honors.
No, you’re not counting wrong – there are six nominees there, as there are also in the Drama Actor category. Defending champ James Spader (Boston Legal) will be looking for his fourth Emmy against perennial bridesmaid Hugh Laurie (House) and a bunch of newbies – In Treatment’s Gabriel Byrne, Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston, Dexter’s Michael C. Hall and Golden Globe-winning Mad Men Jon Hamm.
The Academy stuck with the traditional five nominees though in the other races. Last year’s Brothers & Sisters‘ Drama queen (no pun intended) Sally Field returns to the fray and will duke it out with four tough chicks — 2006 winner Mariska Hargitay (Law and Order: Special Victims Unit), TNT’s girl power duo of Holly Hunter (Saving Grace) and Kyra Sedgwick (The Closer) and Damages’ Glenn Close, who earned her 11th nomination.
Glenn’s co-stars Ted Danson and Zeljko Ivanek could cause some, um, damage in the Supporting Drama Actor race. They’re up against the always ostentatious William Shatner (Boston Legal), Mad Men’s John Slattery and Lost’s Michael Emerson.
With Katherine Heigl out of the Supporting Drama Actress running – but not out of a job – Grey’s Anatomy will have to rely on Chandra Wilson and Sandra Oh to take one for the team. The medical drama had a poor showing, netting only five nominations and getting shut out of the Drama Series race. Chandra and Sandra will double-team up against Boston Legal’s Candice Bergen, Brothers & Sisters’ Rachel Griffiths and Dianne Wiest from In Treatment.
Grey’s may have faltered, but 30 Rock rose to the occasion – increasing its nomination tally by seven from last year. Seven of those nominations, in fact, are in guest acting races. Leading lady Tina Fey will be looking to sweep the Big Three awards in a single season (Globe, SAG, Emmy) against Ugly Betty‘s America Ferrera (who did so last year), Samantha Who?‘s Christina Applegate, 2006 funnywoman Julia Louis-Dreyfus (The New Adventures of Old Christine) and Weeds’ Mary-Louise Parker. Tina could potentially win four trophies come Emmy night — she’s also nominated for variety performer in Saturday Night Live, writing for 30 Rock and producing the comedy.
Meanwhile, the show’s leading man Alec Baldwin will face off against The Office‘s Steve Carell, three-time champ Tony Shahloub (Monk), Two and a Half Men’s Charlie Sheen and a fresh face in Pushing Daisies’ Lee Pace.
Lee wasn’t his show’s only acting nod. Bubbly blonde Kristin Chenoweth, who announced the nominations Thursday morning, scored a Supporting Comedy Actress nomination, as did her co-announcer, How I Met Your Mother’s Neil Patrick Harris – in a different category, of course.
Unfortunately for Neil’s fake on-screen paramour, Britney Spears, she was not shortlisted in the Guest Comedy Actress race. And if you really want to keep score, she didn’t make the Top 10 list either.
Neil will look to dethrone two-time defending champion Jeremy Piven for Supporting Comedy Actor bragging rights and Kristin will hope to trump another petite blonde comedienne – Saturday Night Live’s Amy Poehler, who became the first SNL woman to nab a nomination. Not to be outdone, her husband, Will Arnett, reeled in a nod for Guest Comedy Actor for 30 Rock too.
In the reality show races, D-lister Kathy Griffin may get a bookend trophy while the Reality – Competition race features last year’s players, The Amazing Race, American Idol, Dancing with the Stars, Project Runway and Top Chef. The Amazing Race is looking for its sixth consecutive win.
Should the globe-trotting series win yet again, Ryan Seacrest will still have another chance for an Emmy. A new category, Reality Show Host, will pit the AI emcee against DWTS’ Tom Bergeron, Runway babe Heidi Klum, Deal or No Deal‘s Howie Mandel and Survivor‘s Jeff Probst.
The 60th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards will air Sept. 21 on ABC.