LOS ANGELES • Epic fantasy drama Game Of Thrones led the pack of contenders for television's coveted Primetime Emmy awards on Thursday for a second straight year, with nods in an impressive 24 categories.
The grisly show is once again competing for the coveted Outstanding Drama Series trophy - an honour that has so far eluded it - against Better Call Saul, Downton Abbey, Homeland, House Of Cards, Orange Is The New Black and Mad Men.
American Horror Story: Freak Show scored the second highest tally with 19 nods, followed by Olive Kitteridge with 13. Bessie - an HBO film about the life of blues singer Bessie Smith starring Queen Latifah - scored 12 nominations for the awards to be handed out on Sept 20 in Los Angeles.
Perennial favourites The Good Wife, Lena Dunham's Girls and The Big Bang Theory were shut out of best show honours.
Netflix picked up 34 nominations, in the latest sign of the growing clout of Web-based TV.
Fox's hip-hop drama Empire took only three nominations despite drawing 17.6 million viewers for its first season finale.
But Empire's Taraji P. Henson could make history if she wins in the Best Actress in a Drama category for playing family matriarch Cookie Lyon - no African-American actress has ever won that prize.
Advertising drama Mad Men again had a strong showing with 11 nominations for the second half of its final season.
"I am so lucky to have been a part of Mad Men and to have played such a wonderful character like Peggy," said best actress nominee Elisabeth Moss, adding: "I am ecstatic for the rest of my Mad Men family who also got recognised."
Netflix's thriller House Of Cards scored 11 nods, as did transgender comedy Transparent, which won online retail giant Amazon its first Emmy nominations. American Crime and Boardwalk Empire took 10 nominations each, followed by political comedy Veep with nine.
Veep star Julia Louis-Dreyfus, a nominee, quipped, in character: "As President, my staff and I are too busy doing the people's business to watch television. Nonetheless, we are thrilled to be a part of this celebration of creativity. (Go Jon Hamm!)" she added, referring to the Mad Men heart-throb.
Amazon's streamed series Transparent, about a transgender parent (Jeffrey Tambor) and his family, was named in the best comedy series category, vying with defending champion Modern Family, Louie, Parks And Recreation, Silicon Valley, Veep and Netflix's Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
Tambor is up for Lead Actor in a Comedy, along with Louie star Louis C.K., Anthony Anderson for Black-ish, Matt LeBlanc for Episodes, Don Cheadle for House Of Lies, Will Forte for The Last Man On Earth and William H. Macy for Shameless.
The nominations were announced by Orange Is The New Black star Uzo Aduba and Cat Deeley, host of So You Think You Can Dance. The Primetime Emmys will be hosted by comedian Andy Samberg, star of the award-winning series Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
Touching on the perennial theme of lack of diversity in Hollywood, Emmys organisers were keen to point out on Thursday that the nominee list included a 60 per cent increase in female screenwriters and directors from last year.
AGENCE FRANCE- PRESSE