"30 Rock" Leads Pack with 22 Emmy Nods

Emmy award statue, on texture, with THE EMMYS lettering
Tina Fey's satirical TV series "30 Rock" received a leading 22 Emmy Award nominations. AMC's 1960s period drama "Mad Men" came in second with 16 nods for television's highest honors.

The shows were named last year as best comedy and drama and have a chance to repeat that performance at this fall's awards presentation.

The nominees were announced by Jim Parsons, from CBS' "The Big Bang Theory," and Chandra Wilson, a star of ABC's "Grey's Anatomy," as well as
Television of Arts & Sciences Chairman John Shaffer.

The 61st Primetime Emmy Awards wll air on CBS Sunday, Sept. 20, from Los Angeles. Two-time Emmy nominee Neil Patrick Harris, of "How I Met Your Mother," will host.

HBO's "Entourage" was nominated for the fourth straight year for best comedy series, and star Kevin Connolly said on "The Early Show" he was "very excited" about it.

"It's a big thing," he said. "Even more so than like the individual awards. That's the kind of award that keeps the show going, and at the end of the day, that's the most important thing."

And Parsons told "Early Show" co-anchors Maggie Rodriguez and Harry Smith his nomination for his role as a nerdy physicist on "The Big Bang Theory" made him feel like he was going to pass out.

Smith remarked the look on Parsons' face when his name was announced "said it all."

But how did the star feel a few minutes after?

"I feel really, really happy," he said. "I feel a little like Christmas morning."

"I'm going to the party" was Wilson's response from the podium, as she helped announce the nominees, to her being given a nod for Outstanding Lead Actress in a miniseries or movie for "Accidental Friendship." She was also nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a drama series for "Grey's Anatomy."

View a full list of all the Emmy nominees

The number of contenders in series and acting categories were expanded this year, which may have allowed room for some unexpected bids, including a rare best-comedy series nomination for an animated series, "Family Guy."

The series fields are especially crowded, with seven contenders in both drama and comedy categories. Joining "Mad Men" are fellow cable dramas "Big Love," "Breaking Bad," "Damages" and "Dexter." Two network dramas, "House" and "Lost," also made the cut.

Among comedy series, the nominees besides "30 Rock" and "Family Guy" include network series "How I Met Your Mother" and "The Office." Cable contenders include "Entourage," "Flight of the Conchords" and "Weeds."

The popular vote system is back for this year's nominations. Last year's experiment with blue ribbon judging panels -- who chose the five nominees from the voter's lists of 10 finalists -- has been scrapped. Nominations this year were chosen entirely by popular vote.

Also, this year there are now six nominees, instead of five, in the major series categories.