If the four major broadcast networks, which recently made a deal to continue airing the Emmys for the next eight years, were worried the show was becoming one big commercial for their cable upstart rivals, this morning’s nominations for the 63rd annual Primetime Emmy Awards (to be broadcast on Fox on Sept. 18) prove they would be right to be concerned.
With the notable exception of the Comedy Series (and to a lesser extent Reality) category where they still dominate, the four big nets were virtually AWOL in the showcase Drama Series, Variety Series and of course, Movie and Mini arenas. In the overall nomination totals they once again badly trailed HBO, which with 104 nominations (three more than last year, including a leading 21 nods for the mini Mildred Pierce) more than doubled the combined total of ABC and CBS. In fact, ABC with 40 was down from last year’s 63 and CBS with 50 was down from 2010’s total of 57. NBC, thanks to its Thursday night sitcoms, stayed even with last year’s 46, while Fox managed 42 nods, also down a few from 2010. To add insult to injury, cable networks scored big nominations with shows like Conan and Friday Night Lights that once were on NBC and basically ignored in major Emmy races when they were. You know there’s trouble when only four broadcast series got higher totals than something that premiered on the obscure ReelzChannel (after being rejected by the History Channel! — more on that later).
Although AMC’s Mad Men once again led the competitive Drama Series category with its highest yearly total ever of 19 nominations and Showtime’s Dexter got its fourth consecutive nod, there was thankfully fresh blood here with two new HBO entries, Boardwalk Empire (18 noms) and Game of Thrones (13), bringing the pay cabler roaring back into play where it once dominated with The Sopranos. And Friday Night Lights, a former NBC series jettisoned to the hinterlands of DirecTV, grabbed its first nomination in the category for its final season (and over any show NBC currently has kept on its air). Keeping the networks from a complete washout in the Emmy’s marquee category was CBS’ The Good Wife gaining its second nomination in as many years and nine noms overall. You go Good Wife!
Injecting a major category like this with so many newcomers to the competition is a good thing as the big complaint about the Emmys is the sameness year after year in a majority of categories. The Emmy show, no matter how you try to dress it up, is always a bit of Deja View. (more…)