“We’re very proud. We’re very proud of the network,” Matthew Weiner, creator of “Mad Men,” said of the show’s 16 nominations. “Mad Men” is one of the first two basic-cable series nominated for best drama, but Mr. Weiner said he was just trying to make the best show possible. “Basic cable, wherever. I’m in the entertainment business.”
Mr. Weiner called the nominations for Jon Hamm and John Slattery “fantastic,” adding, “All the actors deserve recognition. It’s like talking about your kids. They’re all the most beautiful.” As for the lack of nominations for “Mad Men’s” leading ladies, “I think my actresses are the best actresses on TV,” Mr. Weiner said.
“It’s really amazing and, I have to say, unexpected,” Daniel Zelman, one of the creators of FX’s “Damages,” said of the show’s nomination for drama series. “We really wanted to try something different. We went to a network that would understand that. FX, and Sony too, completely embraced us.”
Mr. Zelman was honored to be included alongside AMC’s “Mad Men” as the first two basic-cable series nominated in the category. “We’re huge fans of ‘Mad Men.’ It’s very exciting to be part of that wave,” he said.
Mr. Zelman hopes the Emmy nominations will bring more viewers to the show, which was renewed for two more seasons in the midst of its first season, but has struggled in the ratings. The show was nominated for more Golden Globes than any other show, he pointed out, but lost that promotional opportunity when the awards show were canceled.
Mr. Zelman also was thrilled with the show’s three acting nominations for Glenn Close, Ted Danson and Zeljko Ivanek. “Glenn Close is one of the greatest American actresses ever. We pinch ourselves every day at work. We’re thrilled for Ted. Zeljko Ivanek was a total surprise. We hoped for it,” he said.
Vince Gilligan, creator of AMC’s “Breaking Bad,” admitted he was asleep when the Emmy nominations were announced. “I had forgotten what day it was,” he said. After waking and finding out about his directing nomination and actor Bryan Cranston’s nomination, Mr. Gilligan was thrilled, especially since he’s “still amazed the show is on the air.”
“I never thought it would get made. We took it to other networks. Only AMC would do it,” he said, crediting the network for being unique and courageous. “AMC doesn’t talk about thinking outside the box. They simply do it.”
Mr. Gilligan also was excited for Mr. Cranston. “I can’t tell you how happy I am that Bryan got nominated. It’s a surprise, but also not. He deserves it.”
Howie Mandel, the host of NBC’s “Deal or No Deal,” never wanted to do game shows. “It was a show that I didn’t want to do, and I got talked into it,” he said. Now, especially after receiving an Emmy nomination in a new category this year, host for a reality or reality competition program, he said it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to him. “I am absolutely thrilled and beside myself,” Mr. Mandel said.
He said he learned he was nominated while he was in bed, and he received a call from his publicist to confirm it. He added that he woke his wife up excitedly. “I still haven’t told her why I woke her up,” he said. This is “Deal’s” and Mr. Mandel’s first Primetime Emmy nomination.
Despite “House’s” previous nominations as best drama series, creator David Shore was still excited about this year’s nomination. “There’s so many good one-hour shows on the air. You still think it’s not going to happen,” he said.
Mr. Shore wishes Robert Sean Lenard and Anne Dudek, who also has a role on AMC’s “Mad Men,” had been nominated for the episode “Wilson’s Heart,” but nonetheless, was excited for Hugh Laurie, who has been nominated several times, but never won the category. “He’s got to win it this year,” Mr. Shore said.
Freshman series “Pushing Daisies” received 12 nominations for a season that included only nine episodes. “It’s great to see the show get so many nominations,” creator Bryan Fuller said. “It’s great to get recognized.”
Mr. Fuller credited ABC’s openness to trying new things, adding that ABC Entertainment President Steve McPherson and his staff really got behind the show.
Part of that openness could be attributed to “Pushing Daisies’” unusual mix of drama and comedy. Mr. Fuller was still marveling that the nontraditional comedy got nominations in the comedy categories.
He had been up all night writing and had only gotten to bed an hour before the nominations were announced at 5:45 a.m., but he was still ecstatic for nominees Lee Pace and Kristin Chenoweth. “I hope they win,” he said.
“Survivor” host Jeff Probst found out about his nomination in the reality host category while on location in the African nation of Gabon. “I’m really excited to be one of the first nominees in a brand new category,” he said. “`Survivor’ was sort of the pioneer of this type of programming so it’s fun for me to be included in the group with Tom, Ryan, Heidi and Howie.” He credited the “Survivor” crew for its hard work and said he was disappointed the show wasn’t nominated for best reality series. “We’re not the new kids anymore and there are some excellent shows that were nominated in place of us. Can’t really complain about it. We haven’t lost a regularly scheduled Thursday night since 2003, so we’re doing okay.”
“I am thrilled to be nominated and even happier that the show and writers were recognized as well. Plus, my date [Will Arnett] got his own nod! It is a happy day in the Arnett/Poehler household!” Amy Poehler said in a statement on her “Saturday Night Live” supporting comedy actress nomination.
Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, executive producers of “A Raisin in the Sun,” were very excited about what their nomination for made-for-television movie means as far as bringing more Broadway adaptations to TV. “TV is where it’s at. The best work is being done on TV. They’re taking risks and doing better work than the movies. Why not bring Broadway and TV together?” said Mr. Meron.
Mr. Zadan, who admitted he couldn’t sleep all night, found the nomination “very gratifying.” “We tried to make the movie for several years,” he said. “It seemed like an impossibility. It’s like the little engine that could.”
Actresses Audra McDonald and Phylicia Rashad also earned nominations for re-creating their Tony-winning Broadway performances. “We’re so proud of Audra and Phylicia,” Mr. Zadan added.
Bertram Van Munster, creator of “The Amazing Race,” was getting ready to work out when he found out about the show’s sixth consecutive nomination for reality competition program. “It feels unbelievable. We’re a show that goes the extra 35,000 miles,” he said. “The Amazing Race” has never lost in the category’s five years, and Mr. Munster feels good about its chances this year. “Other people have told me it’s the best [season] since the series’ inception,” he said, “and the Academy recognized us as a very ambitious and complicated project.”
“This was a terrific day for FX and basic cable collectively, and it all started seven years ago when ‘The Shield’ kicked down the Emmy door,” FX Networks President and General Manager John Landgraf said. “The first word of each Emmy category begins with the word ‘outstanding,’ and that so aptly describes all of our nominees.
“This day is historic and I’m so proud of everyone associated with ‘Damages.’ It’s a phenomenal accomplishment for creators Todd A. Kessler, Glenn Kessler and Daniel Zelman to be nominated for outstanding drama series as well as their nomination for writing. Glenn Close is simply extraordinary and one of the finest actresses of our generation. And to have two actors nominated for supporting actor—Ted Danson and Zeljko Ivanek—for their amazing turns, is a basic-cable first.”
(5:15: Corrected statement from Bertram van Munster)