Downton Abbey has emerged as a frontrunner at this year’s Emmy Awards, scooping 16 nominations.

The ITV costume drama, starring Hugh Bonneville, Michelle Dockery and Dame Maggie Smith, has proved a success across the pond and picked up four Emmys last year.

Its nominations this time include a lead actress in a drama series nod for Michelle, who plays Lady Mary Crawley, and lead actor for Hugh as the Earl of Grantham. Dame Maggie is nominated in the best supporting actress category for her role as the acid-tongued Dowager Countess of Grantham.

The Sky Atlantic hit Mad Men and the miniseries American Horror Story lead the pack at the prestigious awards with 17 nominations each.

Mad Men stars Jon Hamm (Don Draper) and Elisabeth Moss (Peggy Olson) are up for lead acting prizes.

Modern Family, honoured as best comedy series for two years, is the sitcom leader with 14 bids.

Other prolific nominees include the US miniseries, Hatfields And McCoys, with 16 nods, and Hemingway And Gellhorn with 15.

Emmy darling Julia Louis-Dreyfus – with past wins for Seinfeld and New Adventures of Old Christine – earned an acting nod for the political satire Veep, created by British writer Armando Iannucci.

The Emmy ceremony is scheduled to screen in the US on ABC on September 23.