Streaming rules Emmys as Netflix snaps 17-year HBO streak
LOSANGELES » When Netflix snapped HBO’s 17-year streak as Emmy nominations leader, more than bragging rights switched hands. It represented the breathtaking change in how audiences get and watch TV and the threat to traditional TV networks from streaming services.
Especially one like Netflix, whose multibilliondollar investment in programming allowed it to rocket Thursday to 112 nominations just five years after launching its first original series, “House of Cards.” That’s double the total of nods it earned in 2016 and just ahead of HBO’s 108 nods (down two from 2017).
Another streamed series, Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale,” earned 20 nominations and a chance to defend its title as best drama series at the 70th Primetime Emmy ceremony airing Sept. 17 on NBC.
HBO still boasts the year’s most-nominated series, “Game of Thrones” (22 nods) and “Westworld” (20), while Netflix fielded “The Crown” (13 nods) and “Stranger Things (12).
“The more distribution platforms, the more content’s getting created, the more people are going to be working. ... It’s good news for us in the industry,” said Maury McIntyre, TV academy president. It’s also good news for viewers, he said, who will “always be able to find something they’re going to like.”
“It all about niche broadcasting now. You can make a show and find an audience. It may not be a core audience, but it can be a hard-core audience,” he said.
Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer, saluted “our creative partners on their unprecedented success today” in a statement noting that the nominations were gained across a wide variety of categories, including scripted, documentary and comedy specials.
Netflix’s deep-pockets approach has lured a number of TV’s biggest creative stars, including Shonda Rhimes and Ryan Murphy, away from traditional outlets.
Broadcast networks are taking the hardest blow, with their ratings as well as awards diminishing as viewers search out the more distinctive — and edgy — programming on unregulated cable and streaming outlets. Police procedurals and the current network rage for sitcom revivals certainly failed to impress Emmy voters.
The short-lived revival of “Roseanne,” canceled because of star Roseanne Barr’s racist tweet, drew only one major nomination, a supporting actress nod for Laurie Metcalf. Another revival, “Will & Grace,” got Emmy love for nominees Megan Mullally and Molly Shannon but the main stars and series itself were snubbed.
In the drama and comedies series categories, NBC drama “This Is Us” and ABC sitcom “blackish” are the sole network contenders. NBC topped the broadcast tally with 78 nominations, fueled by 21 bids for “Saturday Night Live,” still on a satiric tear against the Trump administration.