His eponymous FX comedy may have been snubbed in the best comedy series category, but comedian Louis C.K. still managed to become the most nominated person at the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards with four noms, sharing the honors with The Lonely Island’s Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone. Louis C.K. was nominated in the lead comedy actor category for his role on FX’s Louie, in the writing for comedy series category for penning the Poker/Divorce episode of the show, as well as in two Variety, Music or Comedy special categories for his Epix comedy special Louis C.K.: Hilarious — for writing and for editing. Three of Schaffer and Taccone’s four nominations were in the Original Music and Lyrics category, in which The Lonely Island’s Schaffer, Taccone and Andy Samberg have a regular presence, often in tandem with Justin Timberlake, having won an Emmy together for Dick In a Box. This year, Saturday Night Live is completely dominating the category with four of the six nominations: three for Schaffer, Taccone and Samberg’s digital music videos I Just Have Sex, Jack Sparrow and their latest collaboration with Timberlake, 3-Way, and one for the song from host Timberlake’s opening monologue. Schaffer and Taccone’s fourth Emmy nomination is in the writing for VMC series category for their staff-writing duties on SNL.
Timberlake and Tina Fey, who won guest comedy actor/actress Emmys in 2009 for their hosting gigs on SNL, are once again nominated for hosting the show and each landed three noms this morning. Overall, the SNL episode hosted by Timberlake scored seven Emmy noms. Timberlake’s other two noms were in the best Original Music and Lyrics category, while Fey, who has now been nominated every time she has hosted SNL, is also up for best lead comedy actress for her NBC series 30 Rock, which was also nominated for best comedy.
Also boasting three Emmy noms is Modern Family co-creator Steve Levitan, one as part of the show’s best comedy series nom, one in the best writing for a comedy series category for co-penning with Jeffrey Richman the Caught In the Act episode of the hit ABC comedy and one for directing the See You Next Fall episode of the show; Conan O’Brien, nominated for his late-night TBS show in the best VMC series category, for writing for VMC series and for his American Express commercial; as well as SNL head writer Seth Meyers for his writing duties on the show, for co-writing the Timberlake opening-number song and The Real Women of SNL special.
The list of double Emmy nominees include actor Idris Elba, up for best lead actor in a miniseries or movie for his title role in BBC America’s Luther and for guest actor in a comedy series for his role on The Big C; Mad Men creator Matt Weiner for the show, nominated in the best drama series category, and for writing The Suitcase episode; Friday Night Lights creator Jason Katims for the show and for writing the series finale Always; The Office chief Greg Daniels for the show and for writing Steve Carell’s farewell episode Good-Bye, Michael; Game of Thrones co-creators David Benioff & D.B. Weiss for the show and for penning the Baelor episode of the fantasy drama; and TV Academy chairman and CEO John Shaffner in the art direction for a comedy series category for his work on The Big Bang Theory and Mike & Molly.
Hosting SNL has become a proven way to score a guest-starring Emmy nomination and often become a favorite to win. In addition to Fey and Timberlake winning in 2009, last year two of the best guest comedy actress nominations, Fey’s and Betty White’s, were for SNL hosting duties, with White taking home the trophy. This year, in addition to Timberlake and Fey, Zach Galifianakis is also nominated in the guest comedy actor category for hosting the venerable late-night sketch show.
Outside of AMC (29 noms) and Comedy Central (11), basic cable continues to struggle at the Emmy Awards. No scripted/variety series on another basic cable network scored a best series nomination. Among the biggies, FX fared the best with six noms, TNT landed three, while, despite an elaborate Emmy campaign, USA only got one nomination in a technical category.
Rejected miniseries The Kennedys got revenge today after scoring 10 nominations for ReelzChannel. The cable network that produced it before bailing out at the last minute, History, got seven.
The Emmy field this year features a number of Oscar winners. Martin Scorsese and Neil Jordan will square off in the directing for a drama series category for helming the pilots of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire and Showtime’s The Borgias, respectively, while Melissa Leo and Maggie Smith will do the same in the supporting actress in a miniseries or movie field for their roles in HBO’s Mildred Pierce and PBS’ Downton Abbey, respectively. Leo’s Mildred Pierce co-star and fellow Oscar winner Kate Winslet is nominated in the lead actress in a miniseries or movie category, Kathy Bates as best actress in a drama series for her starring role on NBC’s Harry’s Law, and Matt Damon and Gwyneth Paltrow as guest actor/actress in a comedy series for their turns on 30 Rock and Glee, respectively.
Tina Fey-Jeff Richmond and Amy Poehler-Will Arnett continue to be power Emmy couples, once again all getting nominations. Richmond is nominated for writing the music for 30 Rock, Poehler for her starring role on Parks and Recreation, and Arnett for his guest role on 30 Rock.
Fledgling cable network OWN landed its first Emmy noms, all three for the Chaz Bono documentary Becoming Chaz, including for best nonfiction special. Shortly after the nominations came out, the network announced that it has commissioned a follow-up TV special, Chaz & Jen, about Bono and his girlfriend Jennifer Elia, which will premiere in the fall.
Following a subdued campaign — mostly in the supporting acting categories — after the firing of star Charlie Sheen, CBS’ comedy Two and a Half Men, which was not submitted for best comedy series (neither was Sheen for best actor in a comedy series), landed only two nominations: one for co-star and Emmy winner Jon Cryer in the supporting actor in a comedy series category and one for cinematography for multi-camera series for the Hookers, Hookers, Hookers episode.