- The Washington Times - Friday, July 18, 2008

LOS ANGELES (AP) | “Mad Men,” AMC’s sleek drama set in the advertising world circa 1960, and FX’s legal thriller “Damages” made Emmy-nomination history Thursday as the first basic cable programs to gain best-series nods.

The HBO historical drama “John Adams” was the overall front-runner with 23 bids, including a lead-actor nomination for Paul Giamatti’s turn as one of America’s Founding Fathers. HBO failed to field a best-drama series contender for the first time in nearly a decade, but the channel had a leading 85 bids overall, followed by ABC with 76.

“30 Rock” was the top nominee among sitcoms with 17 bids. “Mad Men” was the leading drama series contender with 16 nominations.

“The Wire,” the just-ended, critically acclaimed HBO drama about police and drug dealers in Baltimore, lost its last shot at a best-drama nod after years of Emmy snubs. It received a nomination for writing.

Other cable series made a serious dent in several top categories as broadcast networks watched their share of Emmy-nomination glory erode. In the lead drama actor category, four of the five nominees were stars of cable shows; in the corresponding actress category, three of the slots went to cable-series stars.

Network audience favorites that failed to make a serious showing included “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Desperate Housewives,” both left out of the best-series categories.

The Emmy Awards ceremony will be held Sept. 21 and broadcast on ABC. Other Emmy honors, including those for technical achievement and guest actors and actresses in series, will be given at the creative-arts ceremony on Sept. 13.

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