Netflix's 'House of Cards'Makes Emmy History

While HBO still leads the awards race, the SVOD service's 14 nominations proves original programming online can compete
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While past analysis of Primetime Emmy nominations has focused on the breakdown of broadcast vs. cable series, on July 18 the conversation broadened out to include a whole new player: Netflix. The Internet TV company garnered 14 nominations, including one for outstanding drama series for its pricey political thriller House of Cards, the first time a program delivered online has been recognized in an Emmy series category.

Cards stars Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright were also nominated in performer categories, as was Jason Bateman for his role in Netflix's revival of 20th Century Fox Television's Arrested Development, marking a convincing arrival for the company's original programming strategy. In an interview with B&C, Modi Wiczyk, co-CEO of Media Rights Capital, which produces House of Cards, said, "The fact of the matter is [Netflix] had 25 million subscribers when we made this deal...to the audience, they're indifferent as to what type [of medium] it comes across. There are 30 million people who light up Netflix every day. That makes it bigger than anybody else."

HBO was again the overall leader, running away with 108 nominations (up from 81 last year) to more than double its next closest competitors, NBC and CBS, which tied as the most-nominated broadcast networks with 53 nods each.

NBC was the only broadcaster to improve on its showing last year, up from 51, while CBS dropped from 60 and ABC followed with 45 nominations, down from 48 last year. PBS earned 25, a steep drop from the 58 it drew in 2012, partly due to the increased competition in the miniseries/ movie category, and Fox drew 19 nominations, down from last year's 26.

A year after its historic drama series win for Homeland, Showtime grew to a record 32 nominations from 21. AMC dropped from 34 nominations to 26, partly due to a lower haul for Mad Men, and tied FX, on par with its 2012 performance, for first among the basic cablers.

FX's American Horror Story was again the most-nominated program with 17 nods for the next chapter of its anthology, Asylum, followed by HBO's Game of Thrones (16) and its Steven Soderbergh-directed Liberace biopic, Behind the Candelabra (15). NBC's long-running Saturday Night Live also earned 15 nominations.

Broadcast Drama Drought Continues

The drought for commercial broadcast networks continued for the second consecutive year in the drama series category. In addition to House of Cards, the programs vying to unseat last year's winner Homeland, again nominated, are four-time winner Mad Men and perennial nominee Breaking Bad, both on AMC, HBO's Game of Thrones and Downton Abbey, which airs on public broadcaster PBS.

Two actresses on broadcast dramas broke into the lead performer list, however: Nashville's Connie Britton and Scandal's Kerry Washington, both on ABC. They will compete with last year's winner, Homeland's Claire Danes, as well as Downton Abbey's Michelle Dockery, Mad Men's Elisabeth Moss and first-time nominees Vera Farmiga of first-year A&E series Bates Motel and House of Cards' Wright.

Spacey and The Newsroom's Jeff Daniels are the newcomers to the lead actor in a drama series race, replacing category stalwarts Michael C. Hall of Dexter and Boardwalk Empire's Steve Buscemi. Rounding out the field are three-time winner Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad), perennial nominee Jon Hamm (Mad Men), Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey) and last year's winner, Damian Lewis (Homeland).

The Good Wife, which was again snubbed for outstanding drama series, did receive a supporting actress nomination for Christine Baranski, who repeated with Breaking Bad's Anna Gunn, Downton Abbey's Maggie Smith and Mad Men's Christina Hendricks. Emilia Clarke of Game of Thrones and Morena Baccarin from Homeland each picked up their first nomination.

HBO's Boardwalk Empire, which was also shut out after being nominated for outstanding drama series the past two years, picked up a supporting actor nomination for Bobby Cannavale, as did two-time winner Aaron Paul of Breaking Bad and his costar Jonathan Banks, who earned his first nod. Mandy Patinkin drew his first nomination for his role as CIA agent Saul Berenson on Homeland, rounding out the field with repeat nominees Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones) and Jim Carter (Downton Abbey).

Comedy Back in a ‘Family' Way

Like last year, broadcast and cable split the spots for outstanding comedy series, though FX's Louie got an historic nomination as the first basic cable comedy to be recognized in the category. It replaces HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm (ineligible this year) on a list that otherwise remained static from 2012: HBO's Veep and this year's Golden Globe winner Girls, 30 Rock (in its last year of eligibility), The Big Bang Theory and three-time-winner Modern Family, which is still considered the favorite.

Louie star Louis C.K. again earned a nomination for lead actor in a comedy series, repeating with 30 Rock's Alec Baldwin, House of Lies' Don Cheadle and two-time Emmy winner Jim Parsons of The Big Bang Theory. Past Golden Globe winner Matt LeBlanc earned a nomination for Episodes, rounding out the category with Arrested Development's Bateman.

The lead actress in a comedy series competition, which expanded to seven slots last year, was back to its normal size with repeat nods for 30 Rock's Tina Fey, Veep's Julia Louis-Dreyfus (2012's winner), Girls' Lena Dunham, Parks and Recreation's Amy Poehler and Nurse Jackie's Edie Falco. Laura Dern of HBO's since-canceled Enlightened took the final spot.

In a snub, Modern Family's Eric Stonestreet, who won the supporting actor in a comedy series Emmy in 2010 and 2012, was the only member of the hit show's adult cast not to be nominated this year. That did open up the category for firsttime nominees Adam Driver, who plays Lena Dunham's on-again-off-again love interest in Girls, and Tony Hale, for his role as an overly loyal personal aide in Veep. Modern Family's Ty Burrell, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Ed O'Neill and SNL's Bill Hader completed the field.

Hale's Veep costar Anna Chlumsky also picked up her first nomination, joining a field of repeat supporting actress in a comedy contenders: 30 Rock's Jane Krakowski, Glee's Jane Lynch, Modern Family's Sofia Vergara and twotime winner Julie Bowen, Nurse Jackie's Merritt Weaver and The Big Bang Theory's Mayim Bialik.

The miniseries and movie category was mixed, with HBO, which has dominated the category in the past, seeing increased competition from basic cable. HBO received two nods for movies Behind the Candelabra and Phil Spector. FX's American Horror Story repeated and History picked up another nod in the category where Hatfields & McCoys dominated last year for the Mark Burnett miniseries The Bible. USA's limited series Political Animals and Sundance Channel's Top of the Lake also received nods.

HBO still swept the lead actor in a miniseries or movie category, however, with nods for Benedict Cumberbatch in Parade's End, Toby Jones in The Girl, Al Pacino in Phil Spector and Behind the Candelabra stars Matt Damon and Michael Douglas. For lead actress, Moss earned her second Emmy nomination of 2013 for her role in Top of the Lake. She will compete with Political Animals' Sigourney Weaver, Phil Spector's Helen Mirren, American Horror Story's Jessica Lange and Laura Linney of The Big C, entered in the miniseries category for its final abbreviated season.

The reality-competition category stayed the same as last year, with perennial winner The Amazing Race repeating along with ABC's Dancing With the Stars, Lifetime's Project Runway, Fox's So You Think You Can Dance, Bravo's Top Chef and NBC's The Voice. Last year's winner for reality host, Tom Bergeron, was again nominated for Dancing With the Stars, as was Ryan Seacrest of Fox's American Idol, Betty White for NBC's Betty White's Off Their Rockers and Cat Deeley of SYTYCD. Rounding out the field are newcomers Anthony Bourdain for ABC's The Taste and Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn, who earned a joint nod for Project Runway.

But in another sign of cable's increasing dominance, a year after only one cable series, Discovery Channel's MythBusters, was nominated in the top reality program category, three were in 2013: MythBusters, Discovery's Deadliest Catch and Food Network's Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. They split the category with PBS' Antiques Roadshow, ABC's Shark Tank and CBS' Undercover Boss.

Comedy Central's The Daily Show With Jon Stewart, which has won for outstanding variety series for 10 consecutive years, has a chance to extend that run to 11 years, picking up another nomination. Those vying to end the streak are all repeat nominees from last year-sister show The Colbert Report, ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live, NBC's Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, HBO's Real Time With Bill Maher and Saturday Night Live. -with reporting by Tim Baysinger

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