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'John Adams,' 'Mad Men,' '30 Rock' lead in Emmy nods

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  • "Mad Men" and "Damages" earn best drama nominations
  • HBO miniseries "John Adams" receives 23 nominations
  • Emmys snub "The Wire," "Grey's Anatomy," "Desperate Housewives"
  • Ceremony will be broadcast on ABC on September 21
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(CNN) -- "Mad Men" and "Damages" found themselves on top when the nominations for the 60th Annual Primetime Emmys came out Thursday morning -- but, again, there was no love for HBO's "The Wire."

AMC's "Mad Men" and FX's "Damages" made Emmy history Thursday as the first basic-cable series to be nominated for best drama. The pair, which had made the 10-series Emmy shortlist, have been widely hailed by critics and have received good ratings for basic-cable series -- though "Damages" star Glenn Close said she hopes the Emmys help boost the show's audience.

"We need all the help we can get," she told The Associated Press.

On the other hand, HBO's "The Wire" -- which concluded its fifth and final season this year -- once again came up empty in the best drama nominations. It did receive one nod, for writing.

The series, though much praised and dissected by a hard-core group of fans, has received little recognition from the Emmys, with just one previous nomination -- also for writing -- in 2005. Check out some of the top Emmy nods this year »

Indeed, HBO has struggled to find a drama to take the place of the much-lauded "The Sopranos," which won best drama last year after a storied run. "Mad Men," which has made AMC into a player, was allegedly turned down by the cable giant, and shows such as the quickly canceled "John From Cincinnati" and "Rome" haven't had the same impact.

On the other hand, "In Treatment" received a nomination for Gabriel Byrne's performance as a therapist, and the network's comedies, particularly "Entourage," have performed strongly.

Moreover, the network's short-form programming, such as the miniseries "John Adams" and the TV movie "Recount," dominated their Emmy categories: "John Adams" led all nominees with 23 nominations, and "Recount," about the 2000 presidential election battle, received 11.

"The network has made up for [its lack of drama series success] in other forms," Variety TV editor Michael Schneider told CNN. "It's still the most nominated network and has the most nominated program."

HBO led all networks with 85 nominations. Among broadcast networks, ABC led with 76 nominations.

Among regularly scheduled TV series, "30 Rock" earned 17 nominations and "Mad Men" received 16. The 17 nominations for "30 Rock" were a record number in a single year for a comedy series.

Newcomer "Pushing Daisies," the whimsical series on ABC, received 12 nominations. Given that the show only aired nine episodes -- and hasn't been on the air in months due to the writers strike -- its recognition was a surprise, Schneider said.

"It was nice that voters still remembered it," he said.

Along with "Damages" and "Mad Men," nominees for best drama include "Boston Legal," "Dexter," "House" and "Lost."

Comedy series nominees are "Curb Your Enthusiasm," "Entourage," "The Office," "30 Rock" and "Two and a Half Men."

Cable series dominated the dramatic acting nominations, with four of the six actors and three of the five actresses appearing on basic or pay cable.

Best actor in a drama nominees are Byrne ("In Treatment"), Bryan Cranston ("Breaking Bad"), Michael C. Hall ("Dexter"), Jon Hamm ("Mad Men"), Hugh Laurie ("House") and James Spader ("Boston Legal"). "Dexter," which originated on Showtime, earned a short run on CBS following the writers strike.

The nominees for best actress in a drama are Close ("Damages"), Sally Field ("Brothers and Sisters"), Mariska Hargitay ("Law & Order: Special Victims Unit"), Holly Hunter ("Saving Grace") and Kyra Sedgwick ("The Closer").

A number of familiar names were included among nominees for comedies. The nominees for best actor in a comedy are Alec Baldwin ("30 Rock"), Steve Carell ("The Office"), Lee Pace ("Pushing Daisies"), Tony Shalhoub ("Monk") and Charlie Sheen ("Two and a Half Men"). Only Pace is a newcomer.

The nominees for best actress in a comedy are Christina Applegate ("Samantha Who?"), America Ferrera ("Ugly Betty"), Tina Fey ("30 Rock"), Julia Louis-Dreyfus ("The New Adventures of Old Christine") and Mary-Louise Parker ("Weeds").

Sarah Silverman earned three nominations, all for different programs: one for a guest shot on "Monk," another for contributing to "Jimmy Kimmel Live" and a third for producing her own "The Sarah Silverman Program."

Kristin Chenoweth, Neil Patrick Harris and TV academy Chairman John Shaffner announced the nominations Thursday. Chenoweth was particularly bubbly, throwing in a non sequitur about once dating "Survivor" host Jeff Probst and declining to sing "Happy Birthday" because "the Emmys can't afford me to sing that song" due to licensing arrangements.

Both Chenoweth ("Pushing Daisies") and Harris ("How I Met Your Mother") were nominated in supporting actor categories.

Two highly rated shows, "Grey's Anatomy" and "Desperate Housewives," were snubbed.

"Grey's," a regular nominee for best drama, was left off that list, though star Sandra Oh was nominated for best supporting actress. "Housewives," which won six Emmys its debut season, was ignored in both best comedy series and best actress in a comedy series categories. Two guest stars did receive nominations.

Stephen Colbert, nominated for individual performance in a variety or musical program, put everything in perspective.

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"What an honor, unless I don't win," he told the AP.

The Emmy Awards ceremony will be held September 21 and broadcast on ABC.

Copyright 2008 CNN. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Associated Press contributed to this report.

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