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Networks struggle amid stiff competition during 66th Primetime Emmy Nominations

Mindy Kaling, Bruce Rosenblum and Carson Daly present the nominees for Outstanding Actor In A Drama Series.
Mindy Kaling, Bruce Rosenblum and Carson Daly present the nominees for Outstanding Actor In A Drama Series.
Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

It seems that network shows are beginning to struggle with the saturated market diluting the pool of Emmy contenders. Once the king of the Emmys, cable has trounced major networks with shows like Game of Thrones, nominated for 19 Emmys this year alone. The announcement began at 8:40 a.m. on July 10, 2014 at the Leornard H. Goldenson Theater in Hollywood, CA. As Mindy Kaling (The Mindy Project) and Carson Daly (The Voice) read off the names one by one, network executives had little reason to boast. Last year Netflix’s House of Cards was the surprise nominee, marking the arrival of internet entertainment into a television dominated atmosphere. Now Netflix has gained a stronger foothold with a repeat Outstanding Actor In A Drama nomination for show star, Kevin Spacey and the addition of the jailhouse comedy, Orange Is The New Black, to the Outstanding Comedy category, leaving only mainstays like Modern Family and The Big Bang Theory to represent the big 4 networks in the comedy category.

In fact, PBS was the only network show in the Outstanding Drama category this year with their signature heavyweight, Downton Abbey. Instead The Academy honored cable graphic crime dramas, period fantasies and House of Cards. The acting categories faired better with Julianna Marguiles and Christine Baranski both picking up nominations for CBS’ The Good Wife and Jim Parsons holding strong with an another nomination adding to his previous three Emmy wins for The Big Bang Theory. Still, there is a glimmer of hope. Modern Family has picked up four consecutive Outstanding Comedy wins and this year it’s going for its fifth, which would tie them with television classic, Fraiser. However, it pales in comparison to HBO's 99 nominations that nearly doubles the big 4 networks nominations combined.

So what does this mean for actors? Essentially, that the field is wide open. Think of it as the third phase of modern television. When cable and its availability of premium channels first opened to the public, TV was a wholesome landscape devoid of profanity and lewdness. While some would argue that this was better for the family, a new world emerged filled with increasingly graphic sexual scenes and thus phase two began. Now the online world has exploded to include on demand television allowing the busy laborer to watch TV on his or her schedule at rates that cost less than a takeout pizza. Networks are falling behind fast as today’s leading shows look to subvert content restrictions in favor of art and the Emmys are at the forefront of this television revolution.

The 66th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards air live on August 25 at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.

Partial list of Emmy nominees. See full list here.

Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama Series

Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey

Claire Danes, Homeland

Robin Wright, House of Cards

Lizzy Caplan, Masters of Sex

Kerry Washington, Scandal

Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Drama Series

Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad

Kevin Spacey, House of Cards

John Hamm, Mad Men

Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom

Woody Harrelson, True Detective

Matthew McConaughey, True Detective

Outstanding Lead Actress In A Comedy Series

Lena Dunham, Girls

Melissa McCarthy, Mike & Molly

Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie

Taylor Schilling, Orange Is The New Black

Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Comedy Series

Ricky Gervais, Derek

Matt LeBlanc, Episodes

Don Cheadle, House of Lies

Louie C.K., Louie

William H. Macy, Frank Gallagher

Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory

Outstanding Drama Series

Breaking Bad

Downton Abbey

Game of Thrones

House of Cards

Mad Men

True Detective

Outstanding Comedy Series


Modern Family

Orange Is The New Black

Silicon Valley

The Big Bang Theory


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