- Associated Press - Thursday, July 14, 2011

“Mad Men,” the sharply observed drama of a changing 1960s America, captured 19 Emmy nominations Thursday to lead the series pack, with the melodramatic miniseries “Mildred Pierce” starring Kate Winslet grabbing a top 21 bids.

“Mad Men” has a chance to repeat for a fourth consecutive year as best drama. “Modern Family,” last year’s top comedy series, was the most-nominated sitcom with 17 bids.

Other leading contenders include the Prohibition-era drama “Boardwalk Empire” with 18 nominations, “Saturday Night Live” with 16 and 13 bids each for the sex-and-swords fantasy “Game of Thrones” and the sitcom “30 Rock.”

“OK, keep it together,” a surprised nominations co-announcer Melissa McCarthy said when she realized she was a nominee for her sitcom, “Mike & Molly.”

It’s been a sweet year already for Miss McCarthy, the onetime “Gilmore Girls” cast member who has drawn critical raves for her turn in the box-office hit “Bridesmaids.”

Familiar faces have a chance to claim - or reclaim - Emmys. They include last year’s lead comedy actress winner Edie Falco of “Nurse Jackie” and Jim Parsons, best actor for a comedy for “The Big Bang Theory.” Both were nominated this year.

Mr. Parsons‘ co-star Johnny Galecki earned his first bid for the show.

Jon Hamm received his fourth lead acting bid for “Mad Men,” and this time the competitor who denied him the award three times before isn’t in the category. Bryan Cranston and “Breaking Bad” weren’t eligible for this year’s awards because the series took a break between seasons.

Steve Carell earned a best comedy actor nomination for his final season of “The Office,” his last chance to win an Emmy statuette for his role as TV’s most clueless boss.

Matt LeBlanc, best known for his role as Joey in “Friends,” received a lead comedy actor bid for playing a screen version of himself in the satiric show business series “Episodes.”

Proving that the Betty White phenomenon still has legs: The 89-year-old wonder nabbed a best supporting actress bid for the sitcom “Hot in Cleveland.” If she wins, it would be her eighth Emmy.

“I am so thrilled. How lucky can an old broad be?” she said by phone a few minutes after her agent woke her. “I wasn’t even thinking about the nominations because I didn’t even think there was a chance.”

There were fresh faces as well, including best drama actress nominee Mireille Enos of “The Killing” and best drama actor Timothy Olyphant of “Justified.”

“Glee” stars Lea Michele and Matthew Morrison failed to repeat their acting nods, but Chris Colfer and Jane Lynch got second consecutive nominations and there was Emmy love to spare for “Glee” guest actresses Gwyneth Paltrow, Kristin Chenoweth and Dot-Marie Jones.

Miss Lynch, who was a winner last year for her role as an obsessive cheerleading coach, is hosting this year’s Emmy ceremony. The awards air Sept. 18 on Fox.

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