New shows join Emmy favorites among nominees

Thu Jul 19, 2012 4:48pm EDT
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By Bob Tourtellotte

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Drama "Downton Abbey" and thriller "American Horror Story" earned the favor of Emmy award voters on Thursday, joining a list of past favorites including "Mad Men" and "Modern Family" among nominees for the top U.S. television honors.

Both "Downton Abbey" and "American Horror Story" benefited from a twist in the nominating process that allowed them to shift categories - "Abbey" to dramas and "Horror Story" to miniseries.

Advertising show "Mad Men," last year's winner for best TV drama, was nominated in 17 categories, as was "Horror Story" to lead the pack of shows, TV movies and miniseries in the hunt for awards when they are given out in September. British drama "Downton Abbey" earned 16 nods.

Joining "Mad Men" and "Downton Abbey" in the best drama category - the top Emmy grouping - are psychological thriller "Homeland," medieval period piece "Game of Thrones" and past favorites "Boardwalk Empire" and "Breaking Bad."

Newcomer "Homeland," set among soldiers returning home from the Iraq War, earned nine nominations, more than any other freshman drama or comedy, including best dramatic actress for Claire Danes and dramatic actor for Damian Lewis.

Howard Gordon, who created the show along with Alex Gansa, credited a combination of "good luck and good choices we made along the way" in terms of cast, crew, writers and stories for the show's success.

But "Homeland" will face stiff competition from "Mad Men," which has won the Emmy the past four years, fan favorite "Game of Thrones," and critical darling "Downton Abbey," which explores class distinctions between an aristocratic British family and its servants in the early 20th century. Despite having competed as a miniseries last year, "Abbey" placed as a drama this year because it returned for a second season.

"We were very conscious of that fact," said executive producer Gareth Neame, "We knew when we spun off a second season, we were moving into some very serious competition."   Continued...

Television host Jimmy Kimmel (R) and actress Kerry Washington announce the nominees for the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in Los Angeles, California July 19, 2012. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni