Several Freshman Shows—and SNL—Stormed the Emmy Nominations

7 big takeaways from this year's nominees

Emmy voters smiled on Atlanta, The Handmaid's Tales, This Is Us and Saturday Night Live.
Photo Illustration: Dianna McDougall; Sources: FX, Hulu/George Kraychyk, NBC

Thanks to Peak TV, there are more scripted series than ever—with around 450 expected to air this year—making it seemingly next-to-impossible for new shows to make a splash with overwhelmed audiences.

But that didn’t stop an impressively large number of first-year programs—including shows like This Is Us and The Handmaid’s Tale, which shook up the industry over the past year—from storming The 69th Emmy Awards, as nominations were announced today.

Of the new series, HBO’s Westworld led the pack with 22 nominations, followed by Stranger Things with 18, and The Crown and The Handmaid’s Tale with 13 each (the tally for Handmaid’s included a nomination for Elisabeth Moss, who might be the best thing that ever happened to Hulu). This Is Us—Adweek’s show of the year—also scored double-digits nods, with 11, and became the first broadcast series to land a best drama nomination since The Good Wife six years ago, in 2011. (It wasn’t all about the freshman however: Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ Veep racked up 17 nominations in all.)

Adweek already looked at this year’s outstanding commercial nominees; here’s our big takeaways from the rest of this year’s Emmy lineup (the full list of nominees can be found here).

It’s good to be the new kid on the block

There was a time when Emmy voters would sometimes take several seasons before allowing shows to have a seat at the table (looking at you, The Americans). But five of the seven nominees for outstanding drama series were first-year shows: The Crown, The Handmaid’s Tale, Stranger Things, This Is Us and Westworld. (Better Call Saul and, sigh, House of Cards, rounded out the category.)

Meanwhile, Atlanta, last year’s best new show, broke into the comedy category, alongside Black-ish, Master of None, Modern Family, Silicon Valley, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Veep. Donald Glover’s series had six nominations in all.

However, this year’s shiny new toy could easily became next year’s discarded plaything. Mr. Robot, which roared onto the scene with six nominations last year—and star Rami Malek ultimately won for best actor in a drama—nabbed just three small nominations this year, with nothing for Malek.

Nothing stops HBO…

The premium network, which has now led all networks in Emmy nominations for 17 straight years, was expected to have a down year, given that Game of Thrones, which had 23 nominations in 2016, was ineligible (Season 7 starts Sunday). Instead, the network increased its tally from 94 to 111 this year, thanks to Westworld (22), Veep (17), Big Little Lies (16), The Night Of (13), Silicon Valley (10) and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (8).

…Except maybe Netflix

With FX dipping slightly this year (from 56 to 55), the network with the best shot at challenging HBO’s Emmy supremacy looks to be Netflix. The streaming service jumped from 54 nominations in 2016 to a whopping 91 this year, led by Stranger Things (18), The Crown (13) and Master of None (8). As the network continues to expand its programming slate, it could finally catch up to the Big Network on Campus within the next year or two.

Despite Netflix’s surge, Hulu might have had even more reason to celebrate today. The streaming service, which had just 2 nominations last year, walked away with 18 nods in total, 13 of which went to The Handmaid’s Tale. Hulu’s tally even surpassed Amazon’s, which treaded water with the same number of nominations (16) as last year.

(On the broadcast side, NBC increased from 41 nominations in 2016 to 64 this year thanks largely to This Is Us. Other networks lagged far behind: ABC had 34 nominations, CBS had 29 and Fox had 21.)