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Emmys 2012: And the nominees are...

FX’s new drama American Horror Story and AMC’s perennial fave Mad Men were among the shows to receive the most Emmy nominations that were announced today in Los Angeles. PBS’ Downton Abbey and the History miniseries Hatfields & McCoys also received multiple nods, as did ABC’s Modern Family, AMC’s Breaking Bad, NBC’s Saturday Night Live and the HBO movie Game Change. And it’s a big day for breakout comedienne Lena Dunham, who scored acting and writing nods for her freshman series Girls, which also scored a nomination in the best comedy category.

Here are the nominations for the 64th Annual Emmys, to be telecast Sept. 23 on ABC:

Best comedy
The Big Bang Theory
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Girls
Modern Family
30 Rock
Veep

Best drama
Boardwalk Empire
Breaking Bad
Downton Abbey
Game of Thrones
Homeland
Mad Men

Lead actress in drama
Kathy Bates, Harry’s Law
Glenn Close, Damages
Claire Danes, Homeland
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey
Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men

Lead actor in a drama
Hugh Bonneville, Downton Abbey
Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Damian Lewis, Homeland
Michael C. Hall, Dexter

Best competition reality show
The Amazing Race
Dancing with the Stars
Project Runway
So You Think You Can Dance
The Voice
Top Chef

Lead actress in a comedy
Zooey Deschanel, New Girl
Lena Dunham, Girls
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Tina Fey, 30 Rock
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Melissa McCarthy, Mike & Molly
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation

Lead actor in a comedy
Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
Don Cheadle, House of Lies
Louis C.K., Louie
Jon Cryer, Two and a Half Men
Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiasm
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory READ FULL STORY

Emmy Watch: 'Breaking Bad' star Aaron Paul on shooting 'Problem Dog'

Between now and June 28, the deadline for Emmy voters to return nomination ballots, EW.com is running a series called Emmy Watch, featuring highlight clips and interviews with actors, producers, and writers whom EW TV critic Ken Tucker has on his wish list for the nominations announcement on July 19.

For a high school burnout, Jesse Pinkman has made quite a name for himself. Unfortunately, it’s murdering meth maker.  For four seasons running, AMC’s Breaking Bad has depicted the mesmerizing descent of Walter White (Bryan Cranston) into evil, but it has also captivated us with the doomed struggles of his partner that he’s dragged down with him: the angry, lost, and wounded underdog Jesse (Aaron Paul).

After claiming the Outstanding Supporting Actor Emmy for his potent work in season 3, Paul impressed again in season 4, as Jesse struggled to rebuild his life after gunning down the not-exactly-dangerous chemist Gale (David Costabile). The seventh episode, “Problem Dog,” in particular, proved an emotional showcase for Paul. Still haunted by Gayle’s face (he sees him in his first-person shooter video game), Jesse is instructed by Walt (Bryan Cranston) to kill again by poisoning drug kingpin Gustavo Fring (Giancarlo Esposito) with ricin. Caught between his two lords, he nearly does it with trembling hands, before Mike (Jonathan Banks) interrupts to give him, of all things, a loaded gun for other reasons.

But the scene from “Problem Dog” that truly resonates was the one in which Jesse attends an N.A. support group meeting. He lays himself bare, though tucking his admission of Gayle’s murder in the analogy of killing a dog (“I was looking him straight in the eye. He didn’t know what was happening, he didn’t know why.”) before lashing out at the group (“You’re nothing but customers to me!”).  There would be no salvation in confession, not in this episode. Check it out below before reading what Paul had to say about filming one of his favorite episodes.

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Emmy Watch: 'Mad Men' creator Matthew Weiner breaks down his favorite scene

Between now and June 28, the deadline for Emmy voters to return nomination ballots, EW.com is running a series called Emmy Watch, featuring highlight clips and interviews with actors, producers, and writers whom EW TV critic Ken Tucker has on his wish list for the nominations announcement on July 19.

It feels like almost a foregone conclusion that Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner would submit “Far Away Places” for writing consideration. For one, it’s likely the most structurally daring hour of television we’ll see this year, a triptych of stories that take place over the course of a single day, interweaving and folding back on themselves with elegance and an almost outrageous narrative confidence. And at the center of it all is Roger Sterling’s first acid trip, a calmly psychotropic journey that results in a moment of clarity for both Roger and his young wife, Jane, where they carry each other to the realization that their marriage is over. For a show where people rarely say what they mean, even if they mean what they say, it was a surprising and touching moment of openness and mutual respect. Here Matthew Weiner discusses why this is the scene he’s proudest of, as well as a whole lot of other elements of Mad Men‘s stellar season.

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Emmy Watch: Joel McHale on the 'Community' season finale

community_finale

Between now and June 28, the deadline for Emmy voters to return nomination ballots, EW.com is running a series called Emmy Watch, featuring highlight clips and interviews with actors, producers, and writers whom EW TV critic Ken Tucker has on his wish list for the nominations announcement on July 19.

As disgraced former lawyer-turned-community college student Jeff Winger, Joel McHale has delivered a few speeches in his time on Community. The show even poked fun at Jeff’s frequent soliloquizing in an episode last season. But few scenes were a better showcase for actor and character than the courtroom drama which closed out the show’s third season finale. Jeff was serving (somewhat against his will) as an attorney in the trial to decide whether Pierce or Shirley get to own the college’s new sandwich shop. Jeff is working for Shirley; Pierce hires Jeff’s old co-worker, Alan, played by guest star Rob Corddry. Alan offers Jeff an ultimatum: Throw the case, or never get his old job back. In his closing arguments, Jeff initially seems to be throwing the case…but then he takes a left turn, demonstrating just how he’s evolved over three seasons. Watch the speech below, and then learn more about how the speech came together. (Hint: Prep time was at a minimum.)

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Emmy Watch: 'Parenthood' creator Jason Katims on adding a new Braverman, writing for an ensemble

Between now and June 28, the deadline for Emmy voters to return nomination ballots, EW.com is running a series called Emmy Watch, featuring highlight clips and interviews with actors, producers, and writers whom EW TV critic Ken Tucker has on his wish list for the nominations announcement on July 19.

While working on Friday Night Lights, Jason Katims learned that critical love, fan buzz, and hopeful thinking don’t always equal a nomination. And sometimes it just takes a while.

After five years of flirting with Emmy, Friday Night Lights secured its first and only nomination for Best Drama Series last year. They didn’t win. (Though Kyle Chandler walked away with an award in the Lead Actor category, and Katims won Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series.) But for Katims, the recognition was a win. And as Parenthood heads into its fourth season, the executive producer is hoping for the same — if not more.

“On Friday Night Lights, we weren’t recognized until later in the series run….,” Katims says. “I’m hoping a similar thing happens to Parenthood. Obviously, it would be a really great thing for everybody.”

And with episodes like “Nora” in their arsenal, their chances are strong. The episode, which marked the birth of the newest Braverman, was one of the episodes the show submitted for consideration. It was also the episode EW dissected with Katims when we spoke as part of Emmy Watch. Check out a clip and read more below. READ FULL STORY

Emmy Watch: Giancarlo Esposito of 'Breaking Bad' on 'Hermanos' and his unlikely inspiration for Gus

Between now and June 28, the deadline for Emmy voters to return nomination ballots, EW.com is running a series called Emmy Watch, featuring highlight clips and interviews with actors, producers, and writers whom EW TV critic Ken Tucker has on his wish list for the nominations announcement on July 19.

He was calm. He was cool. He was always collecting information on his surroundings. Gustavo “Gus” Fring — the pleasant fast-food restaurant owner and upstanding community member who moonlighted as a merciless drug kingpin on AMC’s Breaking Bad — proved to be one of TV’s most intriguing and fearsome villains in recent years. And the actor who played Gus, Giancarlo Esposito, treated viewers to a reign of tranquil terror that [SPOILER ALERT] lasted from the end of season 2 to the conclusion of season 4, when rising meth lord Walter White (Bryan Cranston) felled him with an explosion. But in season 4’s eighth episode, “Hermanos,” we were shown a new (make that old) side of Gus: a somewhat innocent soul who watched in horror as his dear partner, Max (James Martinez), was gunned down in front of — and on — him, the splattered blood staining him forever.

Revisit that long, tense scene below and then read our interview with Esposito, in which he discusses the challenges of pulling off that scene, his unlikely inspiration for Gus, and his next role. READ FULL STORY

Emmy preview: Becky on 'Glee' goes for the gold

It’s not often that a recurring actor has generated enough buzz to warrant an Emmy nod — but Glee’s Lauren Potter may just be the exception.

The 22-year-old actress who plays Sue Sylvester’s sidekick Becky enjoyed not one but two big storylines this season. Her first breakout moment occurred in January’s episode titled “Yes/No,” in which Becky sets her sights on Artie (with heartbreaking results). And in the May episode of “Prom-asaurus,” Puck crowns her queen of the “anti-prom.”

For Potter, however, the winter episode that included the voiceover talents of Helen Mirren as Becky’s alter-ego still tugs at her heart. “It made me cry after I saw the episode,” Potter tells EW. “I wanted to date this typical boy.” That memorable moment could also serve as a big reminder to Emmy voters that co-stars like Chris Colfer and Jane Lynch may not be the only Glee actors who are deserving of Emmy love.

“Oh my God, it would be so exciting,” Potter says of the possibility.

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Emmy Watch: 'Parks and Recreation' EP Michael Schur on 'The Debate,' why Amy Poehler is due

Between now and June 28, the deadline for Emmy voters to return nomination ballots, EW.com is running a series called Emmy Watch, featuring highlight clips and interviews with actors, producers, and writers whom EW TV critic Ken Tucker has on his wish list for the nominations announcement on July 19.

In EW.com’s annual Season Finale Awards, readers voted Parks and Recreation‘s season 4 ender the episode most likely to earn someone an Emmy — that person being Amy Poehler. Parks and Recreation exec producer Michael Schur, who thinks there are about a dozen episodes from last season that could do that for Poehler, would obviously love that. “It’s very important to me that people know she’s never won an Emmy before,” Schur says. “I watched this happen with Steve Carell. I think if you ask the average person on the street how many Emmys Steve Carell won for playing Michael Scott, they would probably say, ‘I don’t know. Nine?’ The answer is zero, and it bummed me out deeply. Everyone who worked on that show with Steve feels this way. And now Amy is kinda in this weird similar position where she’s been nominated a bunch of times, and she’s been so good at what she’s done for so long, that I think everybody just assumes she’s been properly rewarded for that and she hasn’t. I hope this is the year that changes.”

Could 2012 also bring the show, which broke into the Best Comedy category last year, its first Emmy as well? Below, Schur takes us inside the episode he hopes voters will revisit. READ FULL STORY

Emmy Watch: 'Justified' EP Graham Yost talks 'Slaughterhouse' and not repeating yourself

JUSTIFIED

Between now and June 28, the deadline for Emmy voters to return nomination ballots, EW.com is running a series called Emmy Watch, featuring highlight clips and interviews with actors, producers, and writers whom EW TV critic Ken Tucker has on his wish list for the nominations announcement on July 19.

Last year, FX’s Justified earned four acting Emmy nominations (including one win for supporting actress Margo Martindale). With writing that had us checking in with showrunner Graham Yost each week during season 3, isn’t it time the show break into the Best Drama category? “It would be delightful and we’d be incredibly happy, but I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, I don’t think the competition in that category has ever been stiffer. I was talking to friends last night, and without breaking a sweat, you can name five shows that should be on that list: Homeland, Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, Mad Men, The Good Wife. That’s just to start. Boardwalk Empire, on down the line, including us and Sons of Anarchy and a bunch of other things,” Yost says. “They never announce what show was in the sixth spot. Back when Boomtown didn’t get a nomination, I was told by someone at the Academy, ‘You know, we’re not supposed to talk about this, but suffice it to say you didn’t miss by much.’ So that could happen again. I try to be realistic…. For me, the reason you want success is that you get to keep doing the show. To be considered for something like the Emmy, that’s such wonderful icing.”

In our dreams, both Justified and SOA would get nominations. “We would all do a big dance, and [FX president] John Landgraf would lead us in the dance, a big conga line of gratitude,” Yost says. And if just Justified gets a nod, can we make that a Walton Goggins clog number? “I will guarantee you, we will get Walton to do a celebratory clog if we get a nomination.” Goggins, for the record, has promised EW.com the exclusive. But here are more reasons this show deserves its shot at Emmy. READ FULL STORY

Emmy Watch: 'Sons of Anarchy' EP Paris Barclay talks setting up a season right

Between now and June 28, the deadline for Emmy voters to return nomination ballots, EW.com is running a series called Emmy Watch, featuring highlight clips and interviews with actors, producers, and writers whom EW TV critic Ken Tucker has on his wish list for the nominations announcement on July 19.

There have been a few times in Sons of Anarchy EP/director Paris Barclay’s career when he’s known he’s had something special. “Like when David Milch would write a script at NYPD Blue, and I’d go, ‘Wow, this will be fantastic,’ and I’d direct it and he’d win the Emmy and I’d win the Emmy,” Barclay says, laughing. He had the same “wow” feeling when Sons of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter handed him the script for the season 4 opener, “Out.” “It has not only the brutality that some people associate with Sons, but also some really tender, loving scenes — a wedding, a proposal. It’s a great juxtaposition of the kind of hard action that we do really well and some really deep emotional stuff.”

That juxtaposition was set up by the brilliant end montage of the season opener and defined Sons of Anarchy‘s entire fourth season. We’re hoping this is the year the show finally breaks into the Outstanding Drama category. READ FULL STORY

Emmy Watch: Katey Sagal talks 'Hands' (and Kurt Sutter's decision to stay silent during Emmy season)

Between now and June 28, the deadline for Emmy voters to return nomination ballots, EW.com is running a series called Emmy Watch, featuring highlight clips and interviews with actors, producers, and writers whom EW TV critic Ken Tucker has on his wish list for the nominations announcement on July 19.

Katey Sagal has never been nominated for an Emmy, which becomes more baffling when you add her turn as Gemma Teller, the tough-as-nails old lady to Clay (Ron Perlman) on FX’s Sons of Anarchy, to her long list of credits. In season 4, under the weight of a secret neither of them wanted revealed to Gemma’s son Jax (Charlie Hunnam), their marriage frayed (Perlman’s real-life mother told him his character on Sons had gone too far) and Gemma wanted Clay dead. Here, Sagal takes us inside “Hands,” the episode when the situation came to a head — and blows — after Gemma pieced together Clay’s involvement in the attempted murder of Jax’s fiancée, Tara (Maggie Siff). READ FULL STORY

Daytime Emmy Awards 2012 salute Regis and 'General Hospital'

General Hospital was the biggest winner at the 2012 Daytime Emmy Awards, which aired live from the Beverly Hilton tonight on the HLN channel. The venerable soap pulled in five trophies, including Best Drama and three acting categories. But the night’s most poignant awards went to Regis Philbin, the daytime TV icon who shot his final episode of Live with Regis and Kelly in November after nearly 30 years on the air. That show won for Best Entertainment Talk Show, while Philbin and co-host Kelly Ripa won side-by-side awards for Outstanding Talk Show Host. Check out all of the night’s big winners below. READ FULL STORY

Emmy Watch: Tina Fey on Liz Lemon as a mom, and her season 7 'bucket list'

Between now and June 28, the deadline for Emmy voters to return nomination ballots, EW.com is running a series called Emmy Watch, featuring highlight clips and interviews with actors, producers, and writers whom EW TV critic Ken Tucker has on his wish list for the nominations announcement on July 19.

Tina Fey is the first to admit that 30 Rock hasn’t survived on ratings alone. The series has always relied on the kindness of award voters. It’s been nominated for the Outstanding Comedy Series Emmy every year it’s been eligible, winning three times. 30 Rock and Fey herself have earned so much acclaim that you’d think the novelty of awards would have worn off, especially now that the show is going into its 7th and final season. But Fey tells EW that it hasn’t gotten old. “It’s super fun if you win,” she says. “I mean, it’s super duper fun. Believe me, I wouldn’t be mad if it happened again, but at a certain point, it’s also just avarice.”

Since its premiere, 30 Rock has operated as though every season were its last. “Because we lived in fear, or freedom from fear, of getting canceled for so long, anything weird we wanted to do, we went ahead and did it,” says Fey. Yet season 6 has still found new, weird territory to explore, including a memorably bizarre superhero sequence and another live show. And even crazier, we’ve seen Liz Lemon make real strides toward happy, functional adulthood. Read on as Fey takes us through some of Liz’s most pivotal moments of season 6 and teases what’s in store for season 7. READ FULL STORY

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