FX had to announce the end of The Americans for the Cold War drama to finally get major Emmy recognition. Perennially snubbed by the TV Academy, The Americans today landed the big trifecta, nabbing first ever nominations for best drama series, and lead actress/actor for its leads, Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys.


The Emmy series nominations today also were marked by breakthroughs for two newbies, USA Network drama Mr. Robot and Netflix’s Master of None, and a sophomore, ABC comedy Black-ish. Mr. Robot got nominations for best drama series and its star Rami Malek — first ever for USA in both categories. Ditto for Master of None and its star Aziz Ansari on the comedy side. Black-ish, which tested the Emmy waters last year with a nom for male lead Anthony Anderson, was nominated in all 3 top comedy categories, best comedy series, lead actor, Anderson, and lead actress, Tracee Ellis Ross.

Beyond the critically praised three young shows and the previously overlooked The Americans finally getting its due, there was little fresh blood in the top Emmy scripted series fields as TV Academy did what it loves to do – stick with long-time favorites. Reigning best series Emmy winners Game of Thrones and Veep are back, along with all other best comedy and drama series nominees that were eligible this year besides Orange Is the New Black, which was virtually shut out in one of today’s few surprises  – comedies Modern Family, Silicon Valley, Transparent and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and dramas Better Call Saul, Downton Abbey, Homeland and House of Cards. 

GOT and Veep lead the series pack with 23 and 17 nominations, respectively, with Veep making a seamless Emmy transition following the departure of creator Armando Iannucci. (GOT also is the most nominated program overall.)

Once again there was no U.S. broadcast drama among the best series nominees. ABC held the fort for broadcasters with Black-ish and Modern Family, the only representatives of the commercial American network television among the 14 best comedy and drama series nominees, tying an all-time broadcast TV low.

Mark Mann

Illustrating the new pecking order, the broadcast networks, which carry the Primetime Emmys, take slots #4-7 on the list of networks with most nominations, behind leader HBO (94, down from 126 last year), and surging FX (56, up from 38 last year, on the strength of The People v. O.J. Simpson and Fargo’s 40 noms between them), and Netflix (54, up from 34). The most nominated broadcast network was NBC with 41, paced by Saturday Night Live‘s tally of 16 noms.

Despite another ABC family comedy, Fresh Off The Boat, being overlooked again, the TV Academy, unlike its film counterpart, once again went for a very diverse pool of actors, with 21 non-White thesps landing nominations today.

And while Downton Abbey got a nice sendoff for its final season with 10 noms, including best series, there was less Emmy love for fellow departing series The Good Wife, American Idol and House of Lies. The Good Wife and American Idol, both previous best series nominees, missed the cut in the top categories in their final hurrah. (The Good Wife landed two guest starring noms and a nom for creators Robert and Michelle King’s script for the series’ controversial finale, while Idol got a host nom for Ryan Seacrest.) House of Lies, whose star Don Cheadle, had been nominated for each of the previous four seasons, was shut out completely.

The Americans

Like with the best series categories, there were no major shockers in the lead acting fields, with all three winners from last fall that are still on TV safely back – Viola Davis (How to Get Away with Murder), Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep) and Jeffrey Tambor (Transparent). Besides Malek and The Americans stars, there were no other new names in the lead drama acting categories, with not a single nominee from last year who was eligible again dropping out.

Similarly, the new lead comedy actress names, Ellie Kemper, surprisingly snubbed last year, veteran Laurie Metcalf, a surprise nominee this year for HBO’s underrated comedy series Getting On, and Ellis Ross, all took vacated slots, with everyone else returning.

AwardsLine portrait of Thomas Middleditch of Silicon Valley
Silicon Valley’s Thomas Middleditch
Photograph by Eric Schwabel

There was some turnover in the lead actor in a comedy series category where there were two first-timers, Ansari and Silicon Valley‘s Thomas Middleditch, while a long-time favorite, House of Lies‘ Cheadle, did not make the list for the first time. Also not on the list for a second consecutive year was The Big Bang Theory‘s Jim Parsons, a three-time Emmy winner.  None of the series’ regular cast was nominated for the first time, and the show — the most watched and highest-rated comedy series on television — did not get a best series mention.

While Mr. Robot‘s best drama series Golden Globe translated into an Emmy nom, other Globes discoveries once again failed to make it to the Emmy nominations list. That includes best comedy series winner Mozart In the Jungle and its Golden Globe-winning star Gael Garcia Bernal as well as comedy actress winner Rachel Bloom of the CW’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. While the musical dramedy earned an all-time best four noms for the CW, the 10-year-old network is still seeking its first nomination in the top categories as fellow Golden Globe-winning dramedy Jane the Virgin also was snubbed for a second consecutive year.

2016 Tony Awards
Associated Press

It was an end of an era in the comedy variety talk series field where there was no late-night Comedy Central show for the first time in 15 years as neither The Daily Show, nor The Nightly Show landed a nom. Also snubbed were Daily Show alums Stephen Colbert for his new gig on CBS and Samantha Bee, a standout on TBS, with John Oliver the only former correspondent of the once-venerable Comedy Central program to nab a nom for his HBO program. He is repeating as a nominee from last year alongside Jimmy Fallon and veterans Jimmy Kimmel and Bill Maher, joined by newcomer James Corden as well Jerry Seinfeld, whose Crackle series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee is making the leap from the Short-Format Nonfiction Programs category.

There was a change in the stagnant best reality-competition series. No, it’s not The Amazing Race, which landed its 13th consecutive nomination in the category it has won 10 times. Recent winner The Voice and other perennial nominees Dancing with the Stars, Project Runway and Top Chef are back, with American Ninja Warrior making the cut for the first time, replacing So You Think You Can Dance, nominated the last five years.

Among the live musicals, Fox’s Grease: Live scored 10 noms, including best special class program, while NBC’s The Wiz: Live! landed six but missed the cut in the top category.

And Netflix’s Making a Murderer is following in the footsteps of HBO’s The Jinx with six noms, including for best documentary series.