It is a Mad Mad world for all at the Emmys
'Mad Men', the piercingly bleak portrait of a 1960s American anti-hero, earned a leading 17 Emmy nominations and the chance to set a new record as the most- honoured drama in television history.
AMC's 'Mad Men', which has won four best drama series trophies and is tied with 'Hill Street Blues', 'LA Law' and 'The West Wing', received a fifth nomination in the category.
"It's insane. I can't believe it," said the show's creator, Matthew Weiner. "I can't believe we are on the air. I can't believe that people don't call AMC A&E anymore. I'm so proud of the network."
The miniseries 'American Horror Story,' a nightmarish saga about a haunted house, received a matching 17 awards, including an acting nod for star Connie Britton.
Other leading nominees include the elegant British soap opera 'Downton Abbey', which earned 16 nominations, and two miniseries, 'Hatfields & McCoys', with 16, and 'Hemingway & Gellhorn' with 15.
'Modern Family', honoured as best comedy series for the past two years, was the sitcom leader with 14 bids and practically ran the table in supporting actor nods, but the category also saw an infusion of girl power.
Breakout comedies with women at their centre -- in fashion after the box-office success of 'Bridesmaids' -- proved alluring to Emmy voters.
'Girls', creator-star Lena Dunham's darkly comedic coming-of-age New York story, received a best comedy nod and acting, writing and directing nominations for her. Zooey Deschanel's offbeat charm in 'New Girl' earned her an acting bid.
The top nominations were announced yesterday by Kerry Washington of 'Scandal' and Jimmy Kimmel, who will host the awards.
"This is a sex dream, isn't it?" joked Kimmel, ABC's late-night host, who arrived on stage in pyjamas. 'Jimmy Kimmel Live' was nominated in the variety category.
The ceremony will air on September 23.
Competition for 'Mad Men' and 'Downton Abbey' includes national security drama 'Homeland', prohibition-era crime saga 'Boardwalk Empire', teacher-turned-drugmaker tale 'Breaking Bad' and the elaborate fantasy 'Game of Thrones'.