LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - HBO reigned supreme in Emmy nominations for a 10th straight year on Thursday as the premium cable channel garnered 101 nods in the prime-time awards race, besting all television networks and its own year-ago tally.
HBO, the most Emmy-nominated network every year since 2001, earned nods for best drama series for the popular vampire show, "True Blood," best comedy series for Larry David's "Curb Your Enthusiasm" as well as 24 nods for its World War Two mini-series "The Pacific."
Among the four major broadcast networks, ABC, CBS and Fox saw their share of nominations increase too, while NBC's total dwindled.
Emmy nods can boost viewer interest in little-seen shows, helping to attract advertisers to broadcasters. For pay-cable channels like HBO and Showtime, Emmy recognition can also ultimately drive higher subscription fees.
"There's more of an audience drift with an Emmy. The ratings on cable keep growing because these networks are more focused on just making a good show, while broadcasters are dealing with all sorts of issues such as what NBC went through with their 10 o'clock spot," said Paul Kagan, chief executive officer of PK World Media.
NBC earned nominations for two comedy series, "The Office" and "30 Rock," but also finds itself in need of fresh hits this fall after a management shake-up, a season of low prime-time ratings and a failed experiment to put "The Jay Leno Show" on weekdays at 10 p.m. The talk show was pulled after local affiliates claimed its poor ratings provided a weak lead into late news programs.
In overall nominations, HBO, a unit of Time Warner Inc, was followed by broadcast networks ABC with 63, CBS Corp with 57, General Electric Co's NBC with 48 and News Corp's Fox with 47.
ABC is a unit of Walt Disney Co.
Basic cable network AMC, owned by Rainbow Media Holdings LLC, a unit of Cablevision Systems Corp, saw its total nominations rise to 26 from 23 as its two-time Emmy winning series "Mad Men" claimed 17 nods and its popular "Breaking Bad" series earned seven.
Charlie Collier, president of AMC, which airs Emmy-nominated "Mad Men" and "Breaking Bad," told Reuters the awards recognition increased the basic cable network's business appeal.
"Emmy recognition is a validation of our strategy to serve three constituencies -- viewers, affiliates and advertisers," he said.
"Each of those shows continue to be our highest rated and allow us to come back the same time each week, bringing in large advertisers," he said.
While the Emmy nominations underscored once again that cable's often edgier approach to original series is winning over critics and audiences, the race also reflected victories by some networks which took risks and broke new ground.
Fox's quirky musical comedy "Glee," about a group of high school misfits in a show choir, garnered 19 nominations, while ABC's new hit "Modern Family," a comedy that turns the traditional family sitcom on its ear by focusing on a multiracial family with gay members and is shot in a psuedo-documentary style, pulled in 14 nominations.
Reporting by Sue Zeidler; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte and Richard Chang