Netflix streams into Emmys race in test of TV's future
By Piya Sinha-Roy and Mary Milliken
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - "House of Cards," a sleek 13-episode political drama released all at once gave Internet-streaming service Netflix its first Emmy nominations on Thursday in a closely watched contest for the future of television entertainment beyond broadcast and cable.
Netflix landed 14 nominations, nine for "House of Cards," its biggest original programming bet so far. It is the first time a program not produced specifically for television won Emmy nominations in the top categories, with "House of Cards" competing for best drama, and Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright nominated for best actor and actress.
But as Netflix blazed a path sure to be followed by other digital companies, cable still ruled at the Emmys, particularly Time Warner's HBO, which snagged 108 nominations, its highest number in nine years. The dark thriller "American Horror Story: Asylum" from the FX channel, owned by 21st Century Fox, scored the most nominations of any program.
Thursday's nominations also brought more bad news for the big four broadcast networks, ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC, which were shut out from the crown jewel category - best drama series - for the second year in a row.
Netflix also garnered nods for the comedy "Arrested Development" and the thriller "Hemlock Grove." Its breakthrough came two decades after the first cable show, on HBO, earned a nomination in one of the best series categories and shook up the world of broadcast TV.
"If you look at the long history of the Emmys, and the incredibly strong contenders that have been recognized this year, it's about quality. We are very honored to be amongst that group," Spacey, who plays the win-at-all-costs Washington politician Francis Underwood in "House of Cards," told Reuters.
Although Netflix has yet to win America's top television award, Emmy voters' embrace was hailed as a turning point in television and an indication of an unrelenting shift toward Internet-delivered entertainment.
Netflix subscribers could download all 13 episodes of the David Fincher-directed "House of Cards" on its first day, changing the water-cooler conversation around television, in which episodes have long been released on a weekly basis. Continued...