TV Academy Showers Cable & Online Shows With Emmy Noms

As co-host of the 68th annual Emmy Awards nominations ceremony Thursday, black-ish star Anthony Anderson was overjoyed to read his name as an Emmy nominee for lead actor in a comedy series. 

He also enthusiastically cheered when his co-star Tracee Ellis Ross was nominated in the comedy lead actress category and when black-ish was chosen among the nominees for best comedy.

But Anderson’s humorous exploits were among only a few things the broadcast networks had to cheer about during the unveiling of the Emmy Awards nominations.

In recognizing the television industry’s incredible and unprecedented breadth and depth of content, the Television Academy this year leaned more toward cable networks as well as online streaming services like Netflix and Amazon when voting for the best quality series, original movies, limited series and original movies on television.

The big four broadcast networks were nearly shut out of the major drama categories, with Empire’s Taraji P. Henson and How To Get Away With Murder’s Viola Davis' nominations in the drama lead actress category keeping cable, PBS and online services from a complete sweep.

Moreover, cable nets and streaming services also generated a good portion of Emmy nominations for new shows that could rack up multiple Emmy Award nominations and wins in the years to come.

From freshman series such as Netflix’s Masters of None, which garnered nominations in the best Comedy and Best comedy actor categories for star Aziz Ansari, to USA’s sophomore thriller Mr. Robot -- a contender for best drama and best actor for breakout star Rami Malek -- the Emmy newbies were mostly from the cable and online arena.

That’s not to say that the broadcast networks are obsolete or incapable developing strong, new shows. But right now, the Academy has acknowledged that for this Emmy run the best and brightest new shows are on cable networks and online SVOD services.

Anderson’s enthusiasm for black-ish’s Emmy nominations could also be extended to television’s continued advancements in bringing quality, diverse shows, storylines and characters to the small screen. Non-white actors garnered a record 21 Emmy nominations this year, surpassing last year’s record of 18, according to

FX’s American Crime Story: People v. O.J. Simpson and ABC’s black-ish led the way with multiple actors of color earning Emmy nominations, while the aforementioned Henson and Davis will again vie for lead actress honors in the drama category (Davis won last year, becoming the first African-American female actress to do so in the category). 

The stage is now set for a very fascinating Emmy Awards celebration in September. Bring on the winners. 

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.