Mad Men leads in Emmy nominations

Acclaimed series has 17 nods for TV awards, closely followed by American Horror Story and Downton Abbey.

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Mad Men bagged a leading 17 Emmy nominations at the television awards on Thursday and is in with a chance of setting a new record for the most-honoured drama in TV history.

The show, which follows the exploits of advertising execs in 1960s America, has already won four Emmy trophies for best drama and is currently tied with Hill Street Blues for gongs.

The mini-series American Horror Story, a nightmarish saga about a haunted house, received a matching 17 nominations, including an acting nod for its star Connie Britton.

Another leading nominee is the British-born period drama Downton Abbey, which has 16 nominations. Modern Family, honoured as the best comedy series for the past two years, was the sitcom leader with 14 nominations and practically ran the table in supporting actor nods.

Breakout comedies with women at their centre proved alluring to Emmy voters. The Emmy darling Julia Louis-Dreyfus, with past wins for Seinfeld and New Adventures of Old Christine, earned an acting nod for Veep, which received a best comedy nomination.

Girls, the creator-star Lena Dunham's darkly comedic coming-of-age story set in New York, received a best comedy nod and acting, writing and directing nominations.

"I have had the shriekiest morning of my life," said Dunham. "I literally feel like I got asked to the prom and engaged and told I was going to the moon all in one day. Not to be too dramatic." * AP