Thanks to the influx of cable and online streaming programming, nominees for the 2014 Emmy Awards are facing some of the fiercest completion ever.
The golden-winged statuettes have become coveted prizes to Hollywood’s biggest stars. Michael Lombardo, president of programming for HBO, says of the awards, “Television is no longer the creative backwater. Accordingly, the Emmys mean more.”
The Emmys, formerly dominated by the big networks, have become anybody’s game, according to the New York Times. The traditional broadcaster networks are now facing stiffer competition, with cable networks such as HBO and Showtime, as well as the streaming service Netflix, all producing high-quality, popular original programming.
Netflix made Emmy history in 2013 when its political drama, House of Cards, was nominated for outstanding drama. The nomination was the first time that a web-only program competed with traditional broadcast shows. Netflix is in the running again this year, with 31 nominations — more, in fact, than one of the big networks, Fox — for its original programming, including House of Cards and Orange is the New Black.
“To be able to create programming that is at the level and in some cases exceeding the level of existing content on television is a really strong validation for Netflix in our place in TV history,” Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos said. An Emmy win is important because it “signals to people who haven’t tried it yet that this is something you should take a look at.”
HBO, with 99 nominations, leads the networks in this year’s Emmys. But other cable series, such as FX’s Louie, and AMC’s Breaking Bad, are also giving traditional network dramas a run for their money. And AMC’s Mad Men breaks a record this year for its seventh nomination — the longest Emmy nomination run for any cable series.
CBS reports that the 66th annual Emmy’s looser category placement has also caused some surprising showdowns between traditional and non-traditional programming this year. Orange is the New Black is up against four-time Emmy Winner Modern Family for best comedy. Whether the novelty of a prison-based black comedy is enough to beat out the popular ABC show remains to be seen, but Modern Family, which is shooting to tie the record with Frasier for five wins this year, is feeling the pressure.
If Orange Is the New Black can edge out its major network contenders — Modern Family and The Big Bang Theory — it won’t be the first time a category-jumping program took home an Emmy. The 50s series Father Knows Best and the 80s’ Moonlighting both won awards in the comedy and drama categories.
The Emmy Awards, hosted by Seth Myers, will be broadcast on NBC Monday, August 25, at 8 pm EST. Check back often with The Inquisitr for all the Emmy news and gossip, such as this sneak peek of Kaley Cuoco’s dress for the big night.
[Photo courtesy of 24 Spoilers]