Netflix Plays Spoiler in Emmys Rout

Streaming video service earns 14 nominations

Netflix on Thursday morning crashed the Primetime Emmys, becoming the first streaming service to earn a nomination for an award that honors the best television programming.

David Fincher’s Beltway potboiler House of Cards landed nine nominations, including a pair for lead actor and actress in a drama series (Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright), while the resurrected comedy Arrested Development came away with three nods.

All told, Netflix scared up 14 nominations.

As the upstart was hoovering up all the hype, the sorry state of the broadcast drama was made all the more apparent. For the second year in a row, the Big Four were shut out of contention in the category, as the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences favored premium cable nets HBO (Game of Thrones) and Showtime (Homeland), basic-cable net AMC (Breaking Bad, Mad Men) and public television standout PBS (Downton Abbey).

And yes, House of Cards got a nod for Best Drama as well.

The Academy’s sanctification of Netflix comes just a year after the streaming service debuted its first original series, the comic drama Lilyhammer. House of Cards arrived in February 2013, to mostly positive reviews.

Emmy did not officially recognize the cable networks until 1988, when Showtime and HBO earned a smattering of nominations. Before then, cable networks had to make do with the booby prize that was the CableACE Awards, an honor cooked up by the trade organization NCTA. (To be fair to the Academy, ‘80s-era cable really didn’t deserve any accolades; at the time, most original series barely rose to the level of USA Network’s Silk Stockings.)

While much hay will be made of Netflix’s historic moment, the old cable guard absolutely dominated the field. HBO once again led all networks with 108 nominations, while the second installment in the FX anthology series American Horror Story earned the most nods for a single show (17).

Game of Thrones garnered the most nominations for a drama series, with 16, while Breaking Bad was close on its heels with 13. Louis C.K. amassed the most nominations for an individual, earning nine, including writing, acting and directing bids for his FX series Louie.

Broadcast held its own in the comedy categories, as CBS’ The Big Bang Theory and NBC’s 30 Rock and Parks and Recreation received a number of nominations.

CBS will host the 65th annual Primetime Emmy Awards on Sept. 22, 2013. The list of nominees in the major categories is as follows: 

Lead Actor in a Drama Series

Hugh Bonneville, Downton Abbey

Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad

Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom

Jon Hamm, Mad Men

Kevin Spacey, House of Cards

Damian Lewis, Homeland (Showtime)

Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Connie Britton, Nashville (ABC)

Claire Danes, Homeland (Showtime)

Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey (PBS)

Vera Farmiga, Bates Motel (A&E)

Kerry Washington, Scandal (ABC)

Robin Wright, House of Cards (Netflix)

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie

Benedict Cumberbatch, Parade’s End

Michael Douglas, Behind the Candelabra

Matt Damon, Behind the Candelabra

Toby Jones, The Girl

Al Pacino, Phil Spector (HBO)

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie

Jessica Lange, American Horror Story: Asylum

Laura Linney, The Big C: Hereafter

Helen Mirren, Phil Spector

Elisabeth Moss, Top of the Lake
 (Sundance Channel)

Sigourney Weaver, Political Animals (USA Network)

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock

Jason Bateman, Arrested Development

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