LOS ANGELES – The Emmy Awards are television’s biggest celebration of itself, but this year’s ceremony will face an intruder: “House of Cards,” the first online series to nab a top nomination with its best drama series.
Netflix’s triumph on Thursday, which includes nods for its revival of “Arrested Development,” is putting a further squeeze on the broadcast networks that already have lost substantial Emmy ground to cable.
New network offerings were almost completely shut out and, like last year, no network drama made the nominations cut.
Kevin Spacey, the nominated star of the political drama “House of Cards,” reveled in its impressive nine bids and role as a groundbreaker.
It’s “really, in many ways, kind of a new paradigm,” he said. “It’s just a great, great thing for all of us.”
The major networks, ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox, likely have a different viewpoint. Cable channels over the year have sharply eroded their share of the audience, and now the Internet is nibbling away and will only become more robust as viewers turn increasingly to computers and other devices to consume video.
A 6-year-old TV academy rules change allows online entries to compete with cable and broadcast programs, but until Thursday online shows popped up only in lower-profile categories.
Networks still field the most-watched series – such as top-rated series “NCIS” and the 20 million-plus viewers it delivers weekly to CBS.
Besides the showing by Netflix, the leading number of nominations went to a cable miniseries, FX’s “American Horror Story: Asylum,” with 17. HBO fielded the next top nominees: “Game of Thrones” with 16 nods and the Liberace biopic “Behind the Candelabra” earned 15 nominations.
NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” came in with 15 as well, but it, outgoing “30 Rock” (also NBC, 13 bids) and “Modern Family” (ABC, 12 nominations) had the only impressive tallies for broadcast.
The bonanza of nominations for “Game of Thrones” is the swords-and-fantasy show’s most-ever and includes a best drama series nod and three acting bids, including one for Peter Dinklage.
Recognition went to a number of other primarily big-screen actors who have migrated to TV for powerhouse projects, with Michael Douglas and Matt Damon for “Under the Candelabra” among them.
“Mad Men,” which last year missed out on the best drama trophy that would have been its record-setting fifth, eclipsing fellow four-time winners “Hill Street Blues,” “L.A. Law” and “The West Wing,” gets another shot this year.
“Breaking Bad,” now in its final episodes on AMC, goes out with a best drama Emmy nomination.
HBO received a leading 108 nominations, up a third over last year, followed by CBS and NBC with 53 each, ABC with 45, Showtime with 31 and AMC and FX Networks with 26 each. PBS has 24 and Fox received 19.
The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ Emmy ceremony, hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, will air Sept. 22 on CBS.