The broadcast networks continued to cede ground and the digital networks continued to gain it as the 2015 Primetime Emmy Awards were announced Thursday.
The Big Four, PBS and the CW drew a combined 170 nominations, down from 184 the year prior. Digital, meanwhile, was the growth sector. Services such as Netflix, Yahoo, and LouisCK.net (yes, LouisCK.net) drew 54 nods, up from 39. Amazon, never nominated before, garnered 12 nominations–11 of them for the comedy “Transparent.”
Then there was cable, which, as usual, accounted for more than half of all nominations. For HBO, the news was as good as ever — 126 nominations, three times as many as the next best network, ABC, at 42. The premium channel’s “Game of Thrones,” which drew criticism for putting fan-favorite characters through the murder-and-rape wringer this season, drew a field-leading 24 nominations, among them Outstanding Drama Series, along with supporting actor for previous winner Peter Dinklage and supporting actress for Lena Headey and Emilia Clarke.
But HBO’s gain was the rest of cable’s loss. AMC, Bravo, CNN, Showtime, Starz, IFC and BBC America were among the networks to post fewer nominations this year than last. FX had the second most nominations in cable at 38, but was down from it’s network-high 45 last year — when the first season of “Fargo,” whose second season won’t premiere until the next Emmy cycle, drew 18 nods. Of AMC’s 24 nominations, 11 went to “Mad Men.” Dramatic lead and perennial Emmy runner-up Jon Hamm drew his 14th and 15th career nominations — one for his final season playing Don Draper, another for playing cult leader Rev. Richard Wayne Gary Wayne in a guest role on Netflix’s “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.”
Hamm’s guest-actor nomination was one of seven nods for the Tina Fey-produced freshman comedy “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.” The show moved to Netflix after NBC ordered it for its 2014 season, then decided it wanted fewer comedies on the schedule. The only NBC sitcom to be nominated, “Parks and Recreation,” drew three nominations. That show ended in February after seven seasons.
In the best drama series, “Orange Is the New Black” earned a nomination after being forced by new Emmy rules to switch from the comedy category, joined there by “Mad Men,” “House of Cards,” “Homeland,” “Game of Thrones,” “Downton Abbey,” and “Breaking Bad” spinoff “Better Call Saul.” Best comedy series nominees were “Transparent” (which led the genre in the number of nominations), “Louie,” “Modern Family,” “Parks & Recreation,” “Silicon Valley,” “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” and “Veep.”
In the drama actor category, returning nominees Jeff Daniels (“The Newsroom”), Hamm and Kevin Spacey (“House of Cards”) were joined by three newcomers–Kyle Chandler (“Bloodline”), Bob Odenkirk (“Better Caul Saul”) and Liev Schreiber (“Ray Donovan”).
Taraji P. Henson (“Empire”) and Viola Davis (“How to Get Away With Murder”) became the first two African American women nominated for drama actress in the same year. They were joined by Claire Danes (“Homeland”) Robin Wright (“House of Cards”), Tatiana Maslany (“Orphan Black”) and Elisabeth Moss (“Mad Men”).
First-timers Anthony Anderson (“Black-ish”) and Will Forte (“Last Man on Earth”) were nominated for best comedy actor alongside Louis C.K. (“Louie”), Don Cheadle (“House of Lies”), Matt LeBlanc (“Episodes”), William H. Macy (“Shameless”) and Jeffrey Tambor (“Transparent”).
Edie Falco earned a nomination for comedy actress for “Nurse Jackie,” tying her with Angela Lansbury for most career lead-actress nominations with 12. Also nominated for comedy actress were Lisa Kudrow (“The Comeback”), Julia Louis Dreyfus (“Veep”), Amy Poehler (“Parks and Recrations”), Lily Tomlin (“Grace and Frankie”) and first-time nominee Amy Schumer (“Inside Amy Schumer”).
ABC led all broadcast networks in nominations, drawing five more than it did last year. CBS, NBC and PBS each posted fewer nominations than they did a year ago. Fox earned 35 nominations, nearly doubling its 2014 total of 18.