'Mad Men,' 'American Horror Story' lead 2012 Emmy nominations


"Mad Men," the saga of ad exec Don Draper and 1960s America, has a chance to set a new record as the most-honored drama in television history. The AMC show, which has won four best drama series trophies and is tied with "Hill Street Blues," "L.A. Law" and "The West Wing," received a fifth bid in the category.

To break the tie, "Mad Men" would have to beat "Boardwalk Empire," "Breaking Bad," "Downton Abbey," "Game of Thrones" and "Homeland."

"American Horror Story," a nightmarish saga about a haunted house, received as many nods as "Mad Men," including an outstanding lead actress in a miniseries nomination for star Connie Britton.

Damian Lewis of "Homeland" is up for drama's best actor prize. He's competing against Hugh Bonneville of "Downton Abbey," Steve Buscemi of "Boardwalk Empire," Bryan Cranston of "Breaking Bad," Michael C. Hall of "Dexter" and Jon Hamm for "Mad Men."

Cranston has won the honor three times, and Hall has been nominated seven times.

Hamm's co-star Elisabeth Moss is nominated for outstanding lead actress in a drama series. She's competing against Kathy Bates of "Harry's Law," Glenn Close of "Damages," Claire Danes for "Homeland," Michelle Dockery of "Downton Abbey" and last year's winner, Julianna Marguiles for "The Good Wife."

Right behind the leaders with 16 nominations apiece are the Civil War-era family feud miniseries "Hatfield & McCoys" and PBS' British-born soap opera "Downton Abbey." "Hemingway & Gellhorn" was right behind with 15 nods - including first-time Emmy nominations for Nicole Kidman and Clive Owen. Julianne Moore also earned her first Emmy nod for her role in the HBO film, "Game Change."

ABC's "Modern Family" and AMC's "Breaking Bad" are tied with 14 nominations. Another frontrunner is HBO's Prohibition-era series "Boardwalk Empire" with 12 nominations.

To win its third best comedy series Emmy, it'll have to beat out five other shows: "The Big Bang Theory," "Curb Your Enthusiasm," "Girls," "30 Rock" and "Veep."

The best comedy category saw an infusion of girl power this year. "Girls," a darkly comedic coming-of-age New York story, received a best comedy nod and an acting nomination for its star and creator, Lena Dunham. Zooey Deschanel's offbeat charm in "New Girl" earned her an acting bid.

"Veep" star Julia Louis-Dreyfus is up for comedy's lead actress along with Deschanel, Dunham, Edie Falco of "Nurse Jackie," last year's winner Melissa McCarthy for "Mike & Molly," Amy Poehler of "Parks and Recreation" and Tina Fey of "30 Rock."

Fey's co-star Alec Baldwin, who has won two Emmys for "30 Rock" is up for comedy's lead actor again. He is competing against Don Cheadle of "House of Lies," Louis C.K. for "Louie," Jon Cryer of "Two and a Half Men," Larry David of "Curb your Enthusiasm" and another two-time winner - Jim Parsons for "The Big Bang Theory."

See the full list of nominees for the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards

The Emmy ceremony is set to air live from L.A. Live's Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles on Sunday, Sept. 23 at 5 p.m. PT on ABC. It will be hosted by comedian Jimmy Kimmel.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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