Complex characters, juicy scripts boost Netflix's Emmy nominations

Thu Jul 10, 2014 3:46pm EDT
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By Lisa Richwine

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A veteran actress says it is the "delicious" scripts and unvarnished realism of the female prison inmates that draw viewers to "Orange is the New Black," while the creator of "House of Cards" credits a ruthless yet vulnerable power couple for the thriller's success.

The unconventional approach to TV at Netflix Inc netted 31 Emmy nominations on Thursday, a major achievement for a company that plunged into original programing just last year.

"Thirty-one nods - not bad for the new kid on the block," said "House of Cards" star Kevin Spacey, nominated for best actor in a drama series for the second straight year.

It is still less than a third of the nominations for cable competitor Time Warner Inc's HBO, but Netflix is now nipping on the heels of networks that have been in the TV business for decades and is advancing careers for people who have been around a long time.

"I have never been nominated for an Emmy before, and I've been acting for 40 years," said Kate Mulgrew, a supporting comedy actress nominee for her role as a powerful inmate in "Orange is the New Black." "It has particular resonance for me."

Netflix made history last year when it shook up Hollywood with the first nominations in major categories for shows delivered exclusively over the Internet. Netflix took home three Emmys for "House of Cards" for its 14 nominations overall.

At that time, "Orange is the New Black," a dark prison comedy, was just gathering steam with its surprising twists and turns in season one.

When a new script arrives, Mulgrew said "my heart pounds a little faster because I know within those pages there is going to be something so unexpected, so awful, so delicious."   Continued...

Cast member Kevin Spacey poses at the premiere for the second season of the television series "House of Cards" at the Directors Guild of America in Los Angeles, California February 13, 2014. Season 2 premieres on Netflix on February 14.   REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni