As usual, HBO leads the field at the 2011 Primetime Emmy Awards. The paycaster is nominated for 104 awards, more than double any of its rivals. Two of its freshman shows reaped bids for Best Drama Series — “Boardwalk Empire” (18 nominations) and “Game of Thrones” (13). However, it is three-time defending champ “Mad Men” that leads all dramas with 19 nods. The other drama series nominees are “The Good Wife” (9 bids) and “Dexter” (5) as well as “Friday Night Lights” (4) which contends for the first time for its final season.
Reigning comedy series winner “Modern Family” leads among all laffers with 17 nominations, including a series nod and bids by all six of its adult cast members as well as three directing mentions and a writing nom. Ed O’Neill, who was infamously snubbed last year, is nominated for the first time in his career. “30 Rock” (13 noms) “Glee” (12) and “The Office” (4) return to the top comedy race, which introduces two notable newcomers: “The Big Bang Theory” (5 bids) and “Parks and Recreation” (3) after several seasons on the air.
“Mildred Pierce” is nominated for more Emmys than any other program: 21 nods. It’s up against expected nominees “Too Big to Fail,” “Cinema Verite,” and “Downton Abbey” Starz’s “The Pillars of the Earth” and Reelz’s controversial “The Kennedys” miniseries got into this race at the expense of Sundance Channel’s “Carlos,” which was considered a major contender for the win. Also snubbed were the leading men from “The Sunset Limited“: Samuel L. Jackson and Tommy Lee Jones.
The most notable omission is Kyra Sedgwick, who won Best Drama Actress last year for “The Closer.” Like last year, “Community” failed to receive a single nomination; pundits had predicted a nod for lead Joel McHale. “The Killing” reaped six bids but not one for Best Drama Series. And “The Late Show with David Letterman” was once again left out of the Best Variety Series race; it was once a juggernaut in the race, winning five times in a row beginning in 1998.