Emmy nominations 2013: "House of Cards" makes history, "American Horror Story" leads

Updated 10:31 a.m. ET

The Netflix series "House of Cards" is making Emmy history.

The political intrigue saga received a best drama series nomination Thursday, marking the first time that television's top awards have recognized a program delivered online as equal in quality to the best that TV has to offer. It earned nine nominations in all, including acting bids for stars Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright.

"American Horror Story: Asylum" earned the most nominations, with 17. Close behind was "Game of Thrones" with 16 nods, while "Saturday Night Live" and the Liberace biopic "Behind the Candelabra" earned 15 nominations each, including nods for stars Michael Douglas and Matt Damon.

The bonanza of nominations for "Game of Thrones" -- is the show's most-ever -- includes a best drama series nod and three acting bids, including a supporting nod for previous Emmy winner Peter Dinklage.

Another Netflix series, the new season of "Arrested Development," didn't earn a best comedy series but scored three nominations, including one for star Jason Bateman.

Joining "House of Cards" and "Game of Thrones" in the outstanding drama series category are "Breaking Bad," "Downton Abbey," "Mad Men" and last year's winner, "Homeland."

"Mad Men," which last year missed out on the best drama trophy that would have been its record-setting fifth, eclipsing fellow four-time winners "Hill Street Blues," "L.A. Law" and "The West Wing," gets another shot this year. "Boardwalk Empire" was the only show not to return in the category, its spot claimed by "House of Cards."

The nominees for outstanding comedy series are "The Big Bang Theory," "Girls," "Louie," "Modern Family, "Veep" and "30 Rock," which got recognized for its final season. Another departing show, "The Office," didn't receive a nomination in that category.

Nominees for the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards were announced on Thursday morning, by actor Aaron Paul ("Breaking Bad") and Emmys host Neil Patrick Harris ("How I Met Your Mother"). Both received nominations -- Paul for supporting actor in a drama for "Breaking Bad" and Harris for hosting the Tony Awards.

Kate Mara ("House of Cards") had been scheduled to read the nominees' names with Paul, but her plane had a mechanical malfunction and couldn't take off from Santa Fe, where she is on location. Harris filled in for her.

"Special thanks to Kate Mara for getting me out of the house before my kids start screaming and crying," the "How I Met Your Mother" star said.

A six-year-old TV academy rules change allows online entries to compete with cable and broadcast programs, although so far Internet shows have popped up only in lower-profile categories. That changed with the 65th Primetime Emmys.

Joining Spacey in the contest for best drama series actor are Hugh Bonneville of "Downton Abbey"; Jon Hamm of "Mad Men"; Jeff Daniels of "The Newsroom" and Damian Lewis of "Homeland," last year's winner. Kevin Bacon, one of the big-screen stars trying their hand at TV, was not recognized in the category for "The Following."

Actresses nominated for their drama series work besides Wright include Vera Farmiga of "Bates Hotel"; Michelle Dockery of "Downtown Abbey"; Elisabeth Moss of "Mad Men"; Connie Britton of "Nashville"; Kerry Washington of "Scandal"; and last year's winner, Claire Danes from "Homeland."

In the comedy category, Bateman of "Arrested Development" is joined in the leading actor category by Jim Parsons of "The Big Bang Theory"; Matt LeBlanc of "Episodes"; Don Cheadle of "House of Lies"; Louis C.K. of "Louie"; and Alec Baldwin of "30 Rock." Last year's winner, Jon Cryer of "Two and a Half Men," didn't make the cut this year.

Nominees for leading actress in a comedy series are Laura Dern of "Enlightened"; Lena Dunham of "Girls"; Edie Falco of "Nurse Jackie"; Amy Poehler of "Parks and Recreation"; Tina Fey of "30 Rock"; and last year's winner, Julia Louis-Dreyfus of "Veep."

Most of the 2012 trophy holders have a chance to repeat. Maggie Smith was nominated again as best supporting actress in a drama series for "Downton Abbey," which has brought her two trophies. Julie Bowen is up for supporting actress in a comedy for "Modern Family." However, Eric Stonestreet, who claimed the supporting actor award last year for the show, was snubbed while co-stars Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Ed O'Neill and Ty Burrell got nods.

The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences' Emmy ceremony will air Sept. 22 on CBS.

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