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HBO's 'Pierce,' 'Boardwalk,' AMC's 'Mad Men' Head Cable's Emmy Nods

Cable networks, led by HBO and AMC, fared well during the 2011 Emmy Award nominations announced Thursday morning.

HBO garnered 104 primetime Emmy nominations, including 21 for its miniseries Mildred Pierce and 18 for Atlantic City prohibition era drama Boardwalk Empire, according to the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. AMC, led by 19 nominations for three-time Emmy winning drama series Mad Men, drew 29 overall Emmy nods.

CBS led the broadcast networks with 50 nominations, followed by NBC (46 nods), PBS (43) Fox (42) and ABC (40).

The Emmy nominations were revealed during an early morning Emmy press conference in Hollywood.

AMC's Sixties' advertising series Mad Men will look to defend its three-peat as best drama against HBO's tandem of Boardwalk Empire and Game of Thrones, as well as Showtime's serial killer series Dexter, CBS's The Good Wife and DirecTV's Friday Night Lights.

Mad Men's Jon Hamm will look to keep the Emmy for best actor in the drama series in the AMC family after reigning three-time winner Bryan Cranston failed to earn a nomination this year. Hamm will compete against Steve Buscemi (Boadwalk Empire), Michael C. Hall (Dexter), Kyle Chandler (Friday Night Lights), Hugh Laurie (Fox's House), and Timothy Olyphant (FX's Justified).

Edie Falco will defend her Emmy for outstanding lead actress in a comedy for her starring role in Showtime's Nurse Jackie against premium network stablemate Laura Linney (The Big C), as well as Amy Poehler (NBC's Parks and Recreation), Melissa McCarthy (CBS's Mike & Molly), Martha Plimpton (Fox's Raising Hope); Tina Fey (NBC's 30 Rock).

Mireille Enos, star of AMC's freshman thriller series The Killing, will vie for best actress in a drama series honors along with Mad Men's Elisabeth Moss, Friday Night Light's Connie Britton, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit's Mariska Hargitay, The Good Wife's Julianna Margulies and Harry's Law's Kathy Bates.

Comedian Louis C.K. garnered a surprise best actor in a comedy series nod for his self-parody in FX's series Louie. He'll go up against Matt LeBlanc (Showtime's Episodes), Jim Parsons (CBS' sThe Big Bang Theory), Steve Carell (NBC's The Office), Johnny Galecki (The Big Bang Theory) and Alec Baldwin (30 Rock).

Betty White garnered a supporting actress in a comedy series nomination for her role in the TV Land series Hot In Cleveland. It's White's 21st Emmy nomination.

As expected, cable dominated the nominations in the miniseries or movie categories. HBO shows garnered three nominations -- Mildred Pierce, Cinema Verite and Too Big To Fail -- along with nods from Starz's The Pillars of the Earth and ReelzChannel's The Kennedys. PBS's Downton Abbey rounded out the category.

Greg Kinnear and Barry Pepper drew outstanding lead actor in a miniseries or movie nods for their portrayals of John F. Kennedy and Bobby Kennedy respectively in The Kennedys. Also drawing nods in the category were Idris Elba for his portrayal of John Luther in the BBC America's Luther, Laurence Fishbourne for HBO's Thurgood,  William Hurt for HBO's Too Big To Fail, and Edgar Ramirez in Sundance Channel's Carlos. (Elba, who'd never before been nominated for a primetime Emmy, also got a guest-star nomination for a turn in Showtime's The Big C).

Kate Winslet earned an outstanding lead actress in a miniseries or movie Emmy for her role in Mildred Pierce. She'll go up against Diane Lane (Cinema Verite), Taraji Henson (Lifetime's Taken From Me: The Tiffany Rubin Story), Jean Marsh (PBS' Upstairs Downstairs), and Elizabeth McGovern (PBS' Downton Abbey).

Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart will look to make it nine straight Emmy wins in the outstanding variety, music or comedy series category. Stewart will compete against Comedy's The Colbert Report, NBC's Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, NBC's Saturday Night Live, TBS's Conan; and HBO's Real Time With Bill Maher.

Bravo's Top Chef will look to cook up a second consecutive Emmy win in the outstanding reality/competition program category against Fox's So You Think You Can Dance and American Idol, CBS's The Amazing Race, Lifetime's Project Runway, and ABC's Dancing With The Stars.

Click here for the complete list of nominations.

Top 5 Cable Network Emmy Nods
HBO: 104 nominations
AMC: 29 nominations
Showtime: 21 nominations
Comedy Central: 11 nominations
ReelChannel: 10 nominations
Starz: 9 Nominations