LOS ANGELES (AP) — Netflix’s “House of Cards” made Emmy history Thursday with a top drama series nomination, the first time that television’s leading awards have recognized a program delivered online as equal in quality to the best that TV has to offer.
The nomination, one of nine nods earned by the political thriller, is a marker in the unfolding revolution in how we receive and watch video entertainment.
“It’s really groundbreaking,” said Ted Sarandos, chief content officer for Netflix. “It’s beyond our most bold expectations. We were thinking a single nomination would be a win… It’s as much a win for Internet television as it is for the content creators.”
The most Emmy nominations, 17, went to miniseries “American Horror Story: Asylum.” Close behind was “Game of Thrones” with 16 nods, while “Saturday Night Live” and the Liberace biopic “Behind the Candelabra” earned 15 nominations each, including nods for stars Michael Douglas and Matt Damon.
The bonanza of nominations for “Game of Thrones” is the swords-and-fantasy show’s most-ever and includes a best drama series nod and three acting bids, including one for Peter Dinklage.
“House of Cards” stars Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright received acting bids, along with a number of other primarily big-screen actors who have migrated to TV for powerhouse projects, with Douglas and Damon among them.
Spacey suspects the Netflix haul will entice all kind of people into the creating-original-content business. “I think is a great thing because more shows will get produced, more writers will get hired, more actors will get hired, more directors will get hired, more production will happen in this industry and that’s a good thing economically as well as artistically,” he said by phone from Baltimore.
“Mad Men,” which last year missed out on the best drama trophy that would have been its record-setting fifth, eclipsing fellow four-time winners “Hill Street Blues,” ”L.A. Law” and “The West Wing,” gets another shot this year.
“Mad Men” and its creator failed to receive any writing nominations for the first time in the series’ six-year history.
The major broadcast networks were shut out of the prestigious drama series category, a repeat of last year and a particular blow with the entry of Netflix’s streamed drama. “Boardwalk Empire” was the only show not to return in the category, its spot claimed by “House of Cards.”
Besides “American Horror Story: Asylum,” others nominated in the miniseries or movie category are “Behind the Candelabra,” ”Phil Spector,” ”Political Animals,” ”Top of the Lake” and “The Bible,” which was a hit for the History channel and is getting a sequel on NBC.
Hot British actor Benedict Cumberbatch, who gained fame in “Sherlock” and played the villain in “Star Trek Into Darkness,” is nominated as best lead actor in the movie and miniseries category for “Parade’s End.”
In the comedy series category, nominees are “The Big Bang Theory,” ”Girls,” ”Louie,” ”Modern Family,” ”Veep” and “30 Rock,” recognized for its final season. Another outgoing comedy, “The Office,” didn’t receive a best series nod.
Another Netflix series, “Arrested Development,” didn’t earn a best comedy series but scored three nominations, including one for star Jason Bateman. Some pundits thought it might earn online’s first best comedy series nod, given that it won a trophy in the category for Fox before the network canceled it.