The New Kid On The Emmy Block

The Academy Of Television Arts and Sciences Thursday officially welcomed Netflix into the family by bestowing to the online streaming service 14 primetime Emmy Award nominations.  Netflix drew nine nominations for its original political series House of Cards, three for comedy series Arrested Development and two for horror-themed series Hemlock Grove.

Netflix’s rise to TV royalty mirrors the cable industry’s Emmy Awards breakthrough more than a decade ago with nominations and wins for such shows as HBO’s Sopranos, USA Network’s Monk and FX’s The Shield.

Fast forward to today, and cable programming now dominates most of the major primetime Emmy Award categories. HBO alone garnered 108 nominations Thursday morning, more than double the number of nominations for any individual broadcast network. The outstanding mini-series category has become virtually cable-exclusive, while PBS’ popular Downton Abbey and House Of Cards were the only shows that stopped cable from pitching a shutout in the best drama series category this year.

Even the comedy series category is no longer a sure thing for the big four broadcast nets. HBO’s Girls and Veep, as well as FX’s Louie have matched the number of broadcast network show entries – CBS’ Big Bang Theory, ABC’s Modern Family and NBC’s 30 Rock – vying for best comedy series honors.

But just as the broadcasters did a decade ago, the cable industry is now forced to look over its shoulder at a new and aggressive content provider offering innovative and quality programming through an alternative distribution platform that appeals to viewers and critics alike.  

Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos said the company’s 14 Emmy nominations confirms the company’s credo that “great television is great television regardless of where and how it’s enjoyed.” With other online-based companies such as Amazon looking to create and distribute original series, both broadcast and cable networks in the near future may find themselves losing more nominations in major Emmy Award categories to the new online kids on the block.