No Knocking HBO Off Its Emmys Throne

How strong is HBO’s stranglehold on Emmys voters? Not only was HBO tops with 94 nominations—way, way ahead of FX’s 56—but it’s in position to defend its double win from last year, when the premium cable net took top drama and comedy gold. Silicon Valley and Veep are both up for best comedy this year, while Game of Thrones is in the running for best drama.

Game of Thrones is up for 23—count ’em, 23—Emmys. So prevalent is the Thrones contingent among Emmy nominees that both Peter Dinklage and Kit Harington are vying for best supporting actor, while Thrones-ers Emilia Clarke, Maisie Williams and Lena Headey are all up for best supporting actress.

Perhaps it was Aziz Ansari, whose Master of None series on Netflix is up for outstanding comedy, who put it best. “I’m bummed the mediumsized dragon in Game of Thrones got snubbed in best supporting, but happy to see Master of None and our entire team get acknowledged,” he quipped.

Impressive as it was, HBO’s nominations haul was nonetheless down from last year’s astonishing 126. But it was the 16th straight year in which HBO led the pack.

Let us not overlook FX’s stellar showing. Limited series The People v. O.J. Simpson received 22 nominations, while critically adored Fargo snagged 18 more—a notable performance for a basic cable net. FX’s 56 nods is up from last year’s 38, while Netflix’s 54 dwarfed last year’s 34. NBC was tops among broadcasters at 41.

The outstanding drama short list includes FX’s The Americans, AMC’s Better Call Saul, PBS’ Downton Abbey, HBO’s Game of Thrones, Showtime’s Homeland, Netflix’s House of Cards and USA’s Mr. Robot.

The outstanding comedy field features ABC’s black-ish and Modern Family, Netflix’s Master of None and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, HBO’s Silicon Valley and Veep, and Amazon’s Transparent.

Winners will be revealed Sept. 18 on ABC. Jimmy Kimmel hosts the show.

Bruce Rosenblum, Television Academy president and CEO, boasted of TV’s elevated perch in culture these days. “Television dominates the entertainment conversation and is enjoying the most spectacular run in its history with breakthrough creativity, emerging platforms and dynamic new opportunities for our industry’s storytellers,” he said.

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.