Comedy gets the last laugh with the announcement of the nominees for the 61st annual Primetime Emmy Awards. Thursday's announcement of best comedy picks included the all-stars, NBC's 30 Rock (the top nominee at 22) and The Office; the usual suspects in Showtime's Weeds and HBO's Entourage; and even some fresh air: CBS's How I Met Your Mother and HBO's critically praised Flight of the Conchords.
And then the punch line: Fox's Family Guy.
Good one, Emmy voters! Though The Simpsons has been honored for best animated series 10 times in its 20 years on the air, Family Guy is the first animated series to color outside the lines and be nominated in the best comedy category since The Flintstones — and that was in 1961. (Of course, if you don't play, you don't win: The Simpsons has tried, in years past, to break through by submitting itself in the comedy category to no avail.)
In the It's About Time category, HBO's terrific ensemble show Big Love finally gets its due in the Best Drama Series category, joining Breaking Bad (AMC), Damages (FX), Dexter (Showtime), House (Fox), Lost (ABC) and Mad Men (16 nominations, AMC).
For a full list of nominations, to go entertainment.tampabay.com. But here's a salute to some of the winners and losers:
EMMY ROOKIES: Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory (CBS); Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men; Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad; Simon Baker, The Mentalist (CBS); and Jack McBrayer and Jane Krakowski, 30 Rock, are among the big names getting their first Emmy nods.
AWKWARD! Unceremoniously canceled but nominated anyhow are Christina Applegate for best actress in the comedy Samantha Who and Kristen Chenoweth for best supporting actress in Pushing Daisies. Thanks, ABC!
OH NO THEY DI'N'T: Strongly praised shows and well-received performances? Tell that to these surprising no-shows Thursday, including The Shield and Michael Chiklis; True Blood; Jeremy Piven of Entourage (though "Victory!" to you, Kevin Dillon!); Katherine Heigl of Grey's Anatomy; and Desperate Housewives.
DON'T LET THE SCREEN DOOR HIT YOU: We said so long to several shows and performers, but there'll be no fabulous parting gifts for ER, Battlestar Galactica, CSI's William Petersen and The Tonight Show With Jay Leno.
AND WITHOUT ANY HELP FROM TONY SOPRANO: HBO leads the total nominations with 99; NBC, 67; ABC, 55; CBS, 49; and Fox, 42.
Information from Times wires was used in this report. Mimi Andelman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.