Why This Matters: Programmers see Emmy recognition as evidence that they’re creating quality shows that resonate with audiences.
Cable networks and streaming services found a forum to tout — and, in some cases, lament — the Emmy Awards nominations at the TCA Summer Tour in Beverly Hills, Callf.
Executives from Netflix and HBO — the leaders of the nominee pack at 112 and 108 nods, respectively — told the some 200 TV critics and writers gathered that the recognition is validation they are offering quality content to consumers.
“We’re really proud of the nominations, because it’s a reflection of all the artists’ hard work and honing their craft,” said Cindy Holland, head of original programming at streaming service Netflix, which topped the Emmy nominations list for the first time.
“There are people who work tirelessly creating great programming on our behalf,” she added. “It’s a nice, added bonus for us as a company. But our focus is really on creating great programming and anything else is just a benefit.”
Even though HBO failed to finish at the top of the nominations count for the first time in nearly two decades, president of programming Casey Bloys said the network was honored by its performance. The premium channel won’t change its programming strategy despite getting “four less nominations” than Netflix, he added.
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“I want to congratulate Netflix, [chief content officer Ted Sarandos] and Cindy [Holland] … it’s a big honor,” he said. “We’re very proud of having the most nominations for as long as we did. I was very proud of the depth of nominations on our shows — I think it’s the eighth time we’ve gotten more than 100 nominations with a consistent level of programming.”
While Netflix may have garnered the most Emmy nominations, FX Networks and FX Productions CEO John Landgraf said his company, which generated 50 nominations — its third straight year with 50 or more — and HBO were able to amass their respective Emmy nods with fewer shows than the streaming service across the main categories of comedy, drama and limited series.
Netflix drew 76 nominations from 39 programs submitted across those categories, while HBO drew 73 nominations for 39 programs and FX its 50 nominations for just 10 programs.
“FX received an average of about five Emmy nominations per submitted program as did HBO, while other programmers’ averages were much lower,” Landgraf said. “We and HBO remain almost exclusively focused on best-in-TV quality as we invest in programming and consequently, we have far and away the highest rate of return in terms of acclaim and Emmys on each program we make.”
Other network executives with much fewer nominations than Netflix, HBO or FX also proclaimed victory for receiving recognition from the TV Academy for their programs. National Geographic CEO Courteney Monroe said the network’s record 18 Emmy nominations were the second most for any ad-supported network behind FX. Seven of the network’s Emmy nods were from scripted series Genius: Picasso, showcasing the network’s growing influence in the fiction genre.
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“To be in the company of these other mega-players — all of whom have content and marketing budgets that dwarf ours — is incredibly gratifying, and evidence that our creatively ambitious premium programming strategy is being rewarded,” Monroe said.
While YouTube Premium garnered one Emmy nomination for its The Karate Kid reboot Cobra Kai, YouTube global head of original content Susanne Daniels said that the show and the service should have garnered even more awards for its long-form programming.
“I’m sorry, but Cobra Kai deserved much more, in my humble opinion,” she said. “I know it’s self-serving to say that, but it’s great and it’s done incredibly well … the Emmy voters should’ve recognized it in more ways than just (outstanding stunt coordination), although the stunts are very good.”