'30 Rock' Leads With 22 Emmy Nominations

Fox's animated series "Family Guy" made Primetime Emmy history today, becoming the first animated show in 40 years to get nominated for best comedy series.

When the awards were announced at the crack of dawn in North Hollywood, Tina Fey's "30 Rock" clocked a leading 22 nominations - five more than the NBC sitcom had racked up last year.

The only other cartoon in Emmy history to compete for best comedy was "The Flintstones," which was nominated in 1961, although back then the category was called "Oustanding Program Achievement in the Field of Humor." "The Simpsons" tried twice but failed, threw in the towel, and returned to competing for best animated series.

"30 Rock" joins "Family Guy" in the best comedy derby, which has been thrown wide open this year with four newcomers: "Family Guy," CBS's "How I Met Your Mother," HBO's "Flight of the Conchords," and Showtime's "Weeds" - marking that network's first foray into this category. HBO's "Entourage" rounds out the race.

The best-drama race made room for one newcomer: AMC's "Breaking Bad." Cable virtually swept the category this year - a big blow for broadcast networks whose schedules are packed with dramas. Just last year, basic cable broke into this race for the first time and AMC's "Mad Men" took the honor. This year, "Mad Men" is returning, joined by "Breaking Bad," and FX's "Damages" as well as HBO's "Big Love" and Showtime's "Dexter." Broadcast is represented only by ABC's "Lost" and Fox's "House."

The TV Academy was uncharacteristically non-sentimental this year, snubbing the swan-song seasons of such shows as "ER," "The Shield," Boston Legal" and "Battlestar Gallactica."

But they stood firm in re their No Fangs position, declining to nominate HBO's "True Blood" -- considered a shoo-in by Emmy navel gazers - for best drama series, or to tap star Anna Paquin as a contender for best lead drama actress.

The Paquin-less list in that category includes last year's winner Glenn Close (FX's "Damages"), Sally Field (ABC's "Brothers & Sisters"), Mariska Hargitay (NBC's "Law & Order: SVU"), Holly Hunter (TNT's "Saving Grace"), Elisabeth Moss (AMC's "Mad Men"), and Kyra Sedgwick (USA's "The Closer").

This year's Big Emmy Snubs also included "Ugly Betty" star America Ferrera. She got pushed aside to make room for Toni Collette, who plays multiple personalities in Showtime's "United States of Tara." Also nommed in the category are Christina Applegate of ABC's defunct "Samantha Who?", Fey, Julia Louis-Dreyfus of CBS's "New Adventures of Old Christine," Showtimes's "Weeds" lead Mary-Louise Parker, and a surprise nom for Sarah Silverman, star of "The Sarah Silverman Program" on Comedy Central. That's acting?

Joining Ferrera in the Snub Club: CBS's "Two and a Half Men" - not nominated for best comedy. And the triumphant return to television of Fox's "24" and star Kiefer Sutherland, after sitting out a season owing to the writers strike, went unnoticed by academy voters.

Sutherland is, however, nominated for best actor in a TV movie--the two-hour "24: Redemption," the Fox show intended to tide over fans until the strike delay ended.
And if, on Emmy night, Sutherland actually beats out fellow nominees Ian McKellan (PBS's "King Lear"), Kevin Kline (PBS's "Cyrano de Bergerac"), Brendan Gleeson, who played Winston Churchill in HBO's "Into the Storm," Kevin Bacon (HBO's "Taking Chances" ), and Kenneth Branagh (PBS's "Wallander: One Step Behind"), the scream that will tear through the night will be me.

"24: Redemption" itself, however, did not get nommed by the academy for best television movie. In fact, broadcast failed to regain a presence in this category when its other best hope, CBS's WWII flick "The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler," also got passed over.

This year's best movie crop includes Lifetime's "Coco Chanel," in which Shirley McLaine uses a flat mid-Atlantic accent to play the French fashion great because, she told TV critics, she doesn't do accents. Lifetime also landed "Prayers for Bobby" in this race - and it's all HBO from there: "Into the Storm," "Taking Chance," and "Grey Gardens" - a fact-based drama about two of Jackie Kennedy Onassis's eccentric relatives, played by Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange.

PBS's "Little Dorrit" and HBO's "Generation Kill" are the only two miniseries nominated for best of that genre this year, because, the academy explained, they got so few submissions and never nominate more than a third of the submitted projects.

"Grey Gardens," which clocked a total of 17 nominations, and "Into the Storm" with 14, went a long way towards catapulting HBO to its usual top spot among networks. HBO had 99 nominations, and was trailed -- not too closely -- by NBC's 67. ABC logged 55 noms, CBS - the country's most watched network - just 49, Fox 42, Showtime 29 and PBS 26.

Also dissed in the lead drama actor category: James Spader's last gasp as "Boston Legal" lead.

Kathy Griffin's "My Life on the D-List" will have no competition; the academy snubbed "Jon & Kate + 8" which this season reached its creative zenith, in the best reality-series race.

Maybe the biggest snub of all: Jay Leno's "Tonight Show" got completely shut out of Emmy noms this year - though the academy did toss car buff Leno a bone: "Jay Leno's Garage," an online series on nbc.com, is nominated for best short-form nonfiction program.

On the bright side, this year's Emmy crop is thick with newcomers. Silverman is this year's top surprise, but the list also includes "The Mentalist" lead Simon Baker's first bid for best drama actor. And "Big Bang Theory" star Jim Parson snared his first nom for best comedy actor; ditto Jemaine Clement of HBO's "Flight of the Conchords."

Clement and Parsons will duke it out with perennial winner Alec Baldwin (NBC's "30 Rock" ), Charlie Sheen of CBS's "Two and a Half Men," Steve Carell of NBC's "The Office," and Tony Shalhoub of USA's "Monk."

Simon Baker is one of only two broadcast network actors in the lead drama actor competition, joining Hugh Laurie of "House." Also in the running: Gabriel Byrne (HBO's "In Treatment"), last year's winner Bryan Cranston, (AMC's "Breaking Bad"), Michael C. Hall (Showtime's "Dexter") and Jon Hamm (AMC's "Mad Men").

By Washington Post Editor  |  July 16, 2009; 11:20 AM ET
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To each his/her own, I guess. For example, Ferrera being left off the list doesn't bother me. "Ugly Betty" is not a show I enjoy. At all. Snubbing Leno, too, is no big deal to me. I know it was his last year as Tonight Show host, but, while he's won in the ratings game, his show has never been particularly funny, unless he's doing Jaywalking, in which case the comedy isn't from him. I respect the guy, but his show was probably the least funny among Letter, Conan and Ferguson. As for "Family Guy," that made me gasp. That show is, and always has been, complete tripe. I can't believe it's nominated. It's unfunny and lewd for the sake of being lewd. It's not cleverly lewd, like "Married ... with Children." Shocking, to say the least. My two cents.

Posted by: CDon | July 16, 2009 11:39 AM

The Emmy's have not had any credibility for me since they snubbed David Simon's "The Wire" on HBO for 5 yrs. Best television program ever

Posted by: BEEPEE | July 16, 2009 11:41 AM

The Wire. Best show ever indeed. Just don't understand the lack of love from the Emmy crowd.

I am glad to hear that 30 rock is being recognized as the great show that it is.

Posted by: Zamora1 | July 16, 2009 11:56 AM

"Tina Fey's hour-long comedy clocked a leading 22 nominations"

I think you should change that to half hour

Posted by: nmoses | July 16, 2009 12:19 PM

Hmmm....not one person of color nominated.

Posted by: bobby20 | July 16, 2009 12:27 PM

I'm really, really happy that "Generation Kill" was nominated. It was a show that showed the true, gritty side of life in the field for Marines....My ex (a Marine Major) and I watched it together and it got to him every time, reminding him of when he was over there...

Posted by: sigmagrrl | July 16, 2009 12:45 PM

Generation Kill is a great adaptation of the book and deserves this honor. Awesome cast, great production...nice to see David Simon and Ed Burns being recognized for their work after being totally screwed over with The Wire.

Posted by: skipper7 | July 16, 2009 1:00 PM

@bobby20--Tracy Morgan was nominated for Supporting Actor in a Comedy.

Posted by: Fatou324 | July 16, 2009 1:04 PM

I don't understand the over exuberant love for 30 Rock. The Office is the best sitcom on television with Curb Your Enthusiasm the best on cable. I enjoy "Rock", but it's nowhere near as smart and funny as The Office. What gives?

Posted by: manwray | July 16, 2009 1:04 PM

What about "Rescue Me" on FX. Absolutely great show with fantastic acting from Denis Leary and the rest of the cast.

Posted by: Texdoc1 | July 16, 2009 1:06 PM

30 Rock is a good show - but 22 Emmys good? I don't think so. The reason it gets all the TV insider's nominations is that it's about TV insiders.

Posted by: cpwdc | July 16, 2009 2:07 PM

Family Guy? Really? They'll have a hard time finding promo clips that are neither vulgar nor obscure pop-culture references.

Posted by: cpwdc | July 16, 2009 2:11 PM

I actually find Family Guy amusing, although more for the "obscure pop-culture references" than the actual plot. But 30 Rock can fall into the Prometheus fountain out front for all I care.

One correction - Kevin Bacon's movie is "Taking Chance," and is about delivering a soldier's remains to his family.

Posted by: mapleleaves1 | July 16, 2009 2:22 PM

I don't know about an Emmy, but Tina Fey deserves the Nobel Peace Prize for saving us from John McCain and Sarah Palin.

Posted by: jimk8mr | July 16, 2009 3:23 PM

The Shield was the best show on TV for its seven-season run. How could they not nominate the show or any of the cast for their ground-breaking performances?

Posted by: JS12 | July 16, 2009 3:45 PM

Weeds is a comedy?? Since when? I'm puzzled by that one.

Posted by: monkarella | July 16, 2009 4:16 PM

I also want to make note of the snubbing of Rescue Me. And I think Law & Order SUV jumped the shark years ago ....

Posted by: CubsFan | July 16, 2009 5:10 PM

Would have liked to have seen Pushing Daisies or Better off Ted make it into the best comedy catagory. Both are leaps and bounds more clever than Family Guy (never understood the appeal of that show). Chi McBride also should have gotten a nomination for Pushing Daisies but I'm happy Kristen Chenoweth was nominated at least.

Posted by: js2225 | July 16, 2009 6:46 PM

I am quite disappointed that NCIS was not nominated…drama with fun and sex appeal. A terrific show with a great ensemble cast. Harmon, the silver fox, is “spot on”. A very highly rated show not only on CBS but in re-runs on USA. It is also shown on ION. I even watch it on Prime Time on Demand. I also add CSI to the list. Peterson created a terrific character with Grissom. No acknowledgement for his years of contribution. I applaud Simon Baker for his nomination on The Mentalist.

Posted by: doe74 | July 16, 2009 6:58 PM

I like '30 Rock,' don't get me wrong. But 22 nominations? I think this high number is a reflection of lack of competition in the comedy category more than it is recognition of excellence.

'Flight of the Conchords' was great, too. I wonder how they decided on Jemaine over Brett for a nomination. It could have gone either way. I guess with the musical asides, Jemaine showed more acting chops than merely being himself on camera. That David Bowie episode was great. Jemaine really hammed it up.

Posted by: LLL777 | July 16, 2009 7:27 PM

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