The Netflix Inc. (NFLX:US) political thriller “House of Cards” received nine nominations for Emmy Awards, including best drama, marking the first time an Internet streaming service will vie for TV’s top honors.
The show earned series star Kevin Spacey, who plays a scheming congressman, a best actor nomination, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences said today in Los Angeles. In all, Netflix won 14 nominations. The major broadcast networks were shut out of the drama nominations for a second-straight year.
The Netflix nominations show that an upstart Internet service can challenge the industry’s biggest players, including broadcast networks and pay-TV programmers, with shows that rate among the best. The company, based in Los Gatos, California, has released six original series this year, winning customers who watch on TVs, smartphones and tablets, and may not subscribe to a traditional cable or satellite service.
“It’s a reflection of how consumers are now watching television,” said Bruce Rosenblum, president of television and digital for Legendary Entertainment and chairman of the academy. “The more that the teams at Netflix and Yahoo and Amazon and Hulu develop and produce great episodic storytelling, that’s what will motivate more people to produce for those platforms.”
In best drama, “House of Cards” will vie with AMC’s “Breaking Bad,” “Downton Abbey,” HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” Showtime’s “Homeland” and “Mad Men,” also on AMC. Only one of the nominees, PBS’s “Downton Abbey,” airs on a broadcast network, underscoring pay TV’s dominance in the genre.
CBS’s “The Good Wife” in 2011 was the last broadcast network drama to be nominated, according to the Emmy database. Fox’s “24” was the last broadcast show to win, in 2006.
Time Warner Inc. (TWX:US)’s HBO led the total nominations with 108, while Comcast Corp.’s NBC and CBS led broadcasters with 53 each.
The nominations will lift Netflix’s profile and may attract new subscribers. “Arrested Development,” a Fox show revived on Netflix this year, garnered a best comedy actor nomination for Jason Bateman.
“If there ever was a perception that Netflix was handicapped in gaining critical recognition for its programs, that ended today,” Ted Sarandos, the company’s chief content officer, said in an interview. “The best writers, directors and actors know they can participate in the highest quality programs on Netflix and still be recognized by their peers.”
Including its own shows, Netflix subscribers can stream past seasons from a third of the nominated programs. Some of those available include “Breaking Bad,” “Mad Men,” Louie’’ and “30 Rock.”
“It no longer matters how a show is delivered, whether it’s over time on a network or all at once on Netflix,” Sarandos said.
In addition to Spacey, the best dramatic actor nominees included Hugh Bonneville, who plays the patriarch Earl of Grantham in U.K. nobility series “Downton Abbey.” Bryan Cranston was nominated for his portrayal of drug kingpin Walter White in “Breaking Bad,” along with Jeff Daniels as a TV anchor in HBO’s “The Newsroom,” Jon Hamm as adman Don Draper in “Mad Men” and Damian Lewis, a former Marine turned terrorist in “Homeland.”
Robin Wright, who plays Spacey’s wife on “House of Cards,” was nominated for best actress in a drama. She will vie with Claire Danes, an intelligence officer from “Homeland,” Elisabeth Moss, a copywriter in “Mad Men,” Connie Britton, a country music star in ABC’s “Nashville,” Kerry Washington in the political series “Scandal” on ABC, and Vera Farmiga from A&E’s thriller series “Bates Motel.”
In the comedy category, three of six nominees were broadcast programs. They include CBS’s “Big Bang Theory,” “Girls” on HBO, “Louie” on Fox’s FX, ABC’s “Modern Family,” “30 Rock” on NBC, and “Veep” on HBO. “Modern Family” is vying for its fourth-straight win for comedy.
Among individual shows, FX’s “American Horror Story: Asylum” led all programs with 17 nominations, including best miniseries or movie. Other nominees in the category are HBO’s “Behind the Candelabra,” “The Bible” from the History channel, “Phil Spector” on HBO, “Political Animals” on USA and “Top of the Lake” from Sundance Channel
HBO garnered all of the best actor nominations for a movie or miniseries with Michael Douglas and Matt Damon in “Behind The Candelabra,” the feature about Liberace. Toby Jones was nominated for his portrayal of Alfred Hitchcock in “The Girl,” while Benedict Cumberbatch received a nod for “Parade’s End” and Al Pacino will vie for the Emmy for his lead role in “Phil Spector.”
Neil Patrick Harris, star of “How I Met Your Mother,” will host the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards on CBS in a live telecast on Sept. 22. He joined Aaron Paul, who plays Jesse Pinkman on AMC’s “Breaking Bad,” in announcing today’s nominations.
Prime-Time Emmy Award Nominations Outstanding Lead Actor In A Drama Series To contact the reporter on this story: Andy Fixmer in Los Angeles at firstname.lastname@example.org To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at email@example.com